In providing additional military forces for the Afghanistan war, the Obama administration has demonstrated that Afghanistan is no longer an economy-of-force campaign. But a troop surge alone is not enough to win the war. In orthodox counterinsurgency theory, providing essential services and strengthening governance are as important as fighting the enemy with guns and bullets. A precondition for allied success is an Afghan state that is legitimate in the eyes of its citizens and able to provide them with essential services. A renewed U.S. commitment to funding grassroots development and governance in Afghanistan must therefore accompany the influx of troops.
More from CNAS
PodcastEconomic Crisis in Afghanistan
Alex Zerden, founder and principal of Capitol Peak Strategies discusses the economic crisis in Afghanistan. He spoke with Bloomberg's David Westin. Listen to the full convers...
By Alex Zerden
VideoDealing with Afghanistan Under the Taliban
CEO of the Center for a New American Security Richard Fontaine shares his take on the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban with NHK-World Japan.Watch the full conversation ...
By Richard Fontaine
CommentaryHow America Should Deal With the Taliban
As the United States ends its mission in Afghanistan, U.S. policymakers have already begun to reckon with American military failures over 20 years of fighting. But the war’s d...
By Lisa Curtis
VideoSome United States aid to Afghanistan should be conditional, says national security expert
Lisa Curtis, senior fellow and director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, former deputy assistant to the president on the Nationa...
By Lisa Curtis