Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [December 2, 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 transitioning to a smaller post-2014 mission consisting mostly of training the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). […] The post-2016 U.S. force is to be several hundred military personnel, under U.S. Embassy authority. Still, doubts about the ability of the ANSF to operate without substantial international backing have led to recent U.S. alterations of the post-2014 U.S. rules of engagement and debate over the post-2016 force. The post-2014 force was contingent on Afghanistan's signing a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States. A dispute over alleged fraud in the June runoff presidential election resulted in a U.S.-brokered solution under which Ashraf Ghani became President and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was appointed to a new position of Chief Executive Officer of the government. […] Even though the election dispute was resolved, at least for now, experts remain concerned that Afghan stability is at risk from weak and corrupt Afghan governance. Ghani and Abdullah's disagreements over new cabinet selections have delayed the appointment of a new cabinet. U.S. and partner country anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan have yielded few concrete results, although since taking office, Ghani, has signaled he will prioritize anti-corruption issues. An unexpected potential benefit to stability could come from a negotiated settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban and other insurgent groups. […] As part of a longer term economic strategy for Afghanistan, U.S. officials seek greater Afghan integration into regional trade and investment patterns as part of a 'New Silk Road,' and say that Afghanistan might be able to exploit vast mineral resources. Still, Afghanistan will remain dependent on foreign aid for many years."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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