Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [Updated November 1, 2007] [open pdf - 571KB]
From the Summary: "Assessments of the U.S. effort to stabilize Afghanistan are mixed and subject to debate. The political transition was completed with the convening of a parliament in December 2005; a new constitution was adopted in January 2004, successful presidential elections were held on October 9, 2004, and parliamentary elections took place on September 18, 2005. The parliament has become an arena for factions that have fought each other for nearly three decades to debate and peacefully resolve differences. Afghan citizens are enjoying personal freedoms forbidden by the Taliban. Women are participating in economic and political life, including as ministers, provincial governors, and parliament leaders. However, the insurgency led by supporters of the Taliban movement and Al Qaeda continues to challenge U.S. and other NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces, particularly in the south. Contributing to the violence is popular frustration with lack of economic development, official corruption, and the failure to extend Afghan government authority into rural areas. Narcotics trafficking is resisting counter-measures and funding insurgent activity. The Afghan government and some U.S. officials blame Pakistan for failing to prevent Taliban commanders from operating from Pakistan, largely beyond the reach of U.S./NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. Yet, U.S. and NATO commanders pre-empted an anticipated 2007 'spring offensive' by the Taliban with an increase in force levels, accelerated reconstruction efforts, and combat operations. […] To help stabilize Afghanistan, the United States and partner countries are deploying a 41,000 troop NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that now commands peacekeeping throughout Afghanistan, and running regional enclaves to secure reconstruction (Provincial Reconstruction Teams, PRTs), as well as building an Afghan National Army."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588