The bilateral security agreement was a necessary step toward long-term stability in Afghanistan, but it is not sufficient by itself. Without it, however, Afghanistan would have virtually no chance for stability for two important reasons.
First, the Afghan National Security Forces are not yet capable of maintaining security throughout the country without the assistance of U.S. forces. Their capabilities at the small unit level have improved considerably in the past few years, but they still face challenges operating in larger, combined arms formations. And they still depend on key, U.S. enabling capabilities, including close air support, logistics and casualty evacuation. If the bilateral security agreement had not been signed, all U.S. forces would have had to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year – and the enemies of the new government in Kabul, including the Taliban, would have certainly launched an offensive against the weakened Afghan forces. The resulting conflict would have intensified the fighting in areas where it is already occurring. And it likely would have further spread instability and conflict throughout the rest of the country.