Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [December 6, 2013]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The United States and its partner countries are reducing military involvement in Afghanistan as Afghan security forces assume lead security responsibility throughout the country. The current international security mission will terminate at the end of 2014 and likely transition to a far smaller mission consisting mostly of training and mentoring the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in June 2011, was reduced to a 'pre-surge' level of about 66,000 in September 2012, and is currently about 45,000. That number will fall to 34,000 by February 2014. The size of the 'residual force' that will likely remain in Afghanistan after 2014 might be announced in early 2014, with options centering on about 6,000-10,000 U.S. trainers and counterterrorism forces, assisted by about 5,000 partner forces performing similar missions. The U.S. troops that remain after 2014 would do so under a U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement that the United States says has been finalized but which President Hamid Karzai, despite significant public and elite backing for the agreement, refuses to sign until additional conditions he has set down are met. Fearing instability after 2014, some ethnic and political faction leaders are reviving their militia forces should the international drawdown lead to a major Taliban push to retake power. The Administration remains concerned that Afghan stability after 2014 is at risk from weak and corrupt Afghan governance and insurgent safe havens in Pakistan."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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