Sixteen years after the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan, U.S. military commanders describe the war there as stalemated. The Trump administration has initiated a major strategy review, and the Pentagon reportedly seeks to add several thousand American troops to the 8,400 already in Afghanistan. More troops can help achieve American objectives in Afghanistan, but only if they are part of a larger and more effective strategy. That will require a change of course.
The current approach is plainly inadequate. Although more Afghan forces are trained and in the fight than ever before, the Taliban today controls more territory than at any time since 9/11. Faced with corruption and exclusionary politics, popular opposition to the government in Kabul is rising, while the Taliban makes inroads in rural areas and, increasingly, near the cities. According to the U.S. government, some twenty insurgent or terrorist groups now operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, including ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Haqqanis—the world’s highest concentration of extremist networks.
Read the full piece on The National Interest.
More from CNAS
CommentaryTrump Needs to Reestablish Deterrence with Iran
The attack attributed to Iran on Saudi Aramco oil facilities is the latest in a series of Iranian escalations—the May 14 and June 13 tanker attacks, the June 20 downing of a U...
By Kaleigh Thomas & Elisa Catalano Ewers
VideoNicholas Heras on Killing of ISIS Leader in U.S. Military Raid
The Center for a New American Security’s Nicholas Heras talked about the killing of ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a U.S. military raid in Syria. Listen to th...
By Nicholas Heras
PodcastDiscussing Turkey’s Offensive Against the Kurds in Syria with Nick Heras
The United States’ withdrawal and the Turkish military’s incursion into the Kurdish-controlled northeast have completely changed the balance of power in Syria. Without America...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Nicholas Heras
CommentaryThe Nonintervention Delusion
Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...
By Richard Fontaine