Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [July 11, 2014]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Afghan security forces have lead security responsibility throughout the country, and the United States and its partner countries are in the process of winding down the current international security mission by the end of 2014. A planned post-2014 mission will consist mostly of training 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 34,000 as of February 2014. President Obama announced in late May 2014 that the post-2014 mission will include 9,800 U.S. forces, shrinking by the end of 2015 to 4,900 mostly in Kabul and at Bagram Airfield. The force will shrink to a small force of several hundred after 2016, engaged mostly in handling military sales to Afghanistan. The post-2014 force is contingent on Afghanistan's signing a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States. All the candidates in the April 5, 2014, presidential election publicly support the agreement, including Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who garnered enough votes to proceed to a runoff on June 14. Preliminary runoff results released on July 7 showed Ghani ahead by 56% to 44%, but Afghan and international officials have acknowledged there was substantial fraud and Dr. Abdullah has said he will not recognize a Ghani victory under existing vote certification processes. U.S. officials are attempting to broker a resolution process that would involve auditing votes from a substantial number of polling stations. The dispute has clouded prospects for a peaceful transfer of power to a new president by the August 2 planned date and the signing of a U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement that is required to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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