Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [February 9, 2009]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Summary: "As U.S. and outside assessments of the effort to stabilize Afghanistan became increasingly negative throughout 2008, the Bush Administration conducted several reviews of U.S. strategy, and made actionable recommendations to the Obama Administration. The new Administration is reportedly aggregating the recommendations into a new policy framework to be developed in advance of an April 3, 2009 NATO summit. Obama Administration policy in Afghanistan is facing an expanding militant presence in some areas previously considered secure, increased numbers of civilian and military deaths, growing disillusionment with corruption in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and an inability of Pakistan to prevent Taliban and other militant infiltration into Afghanistan. There appears to be little clear consensus on a new strategy, although most U.S. officials and commanders agree that U.S. strategy must go beyond adding U.S. troops to include enhancing non-military steps such as economic development and improved coordination among international donors, building local governing structures, and reform of the Afghan central government. The question of how to curb militant activity in Pakistan is said to comprise a major part of the Obama reviews, as is the question of whether to try to engage Iran on the issue. Reflecting the growing connection between militant activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the Obama Administration's priority on Afghanistan, the new Administration has named Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as a special representative on Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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