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Afghanistan: Post Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The United States, partner countries, and the Afghan government are attempting to reverse recent gains made by the resilient Taliban-led insurgency since the December 2014 transition to a smaller international mission consisting primarily of training and advising the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces ANDSF. The Afghan government has come under increasing domestic criticism not only for failing to prevent insurgent gains but also for its internal divisions. In September 2014, the United States brokered a compromise to address a dispute over the 2014 presidential election, but a September 2016 deadline was not met for enacting election reforms and deciding whether the Chief Executive Officer CEO position might be elevated to a prime ministership in a restructured government. The progress of the Afghan government in reducing corruption and implementing its budgetary and other commitments will be assessed at an international donors meeting in Brussels on October 4-5. The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in 2011, stands at about 9,800, of which most are assigned to the 13,000-person NATO-led Resolute Support Mission that trains, assists, and advises the ANDSF. About 2,000 of the U.S. contingent are involved in combat against Al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups, including the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State organization ISIL-Khorasan, under Operation Freedoms Sentinel. Amid assessments that the ANDSF is having difficulty preventing insurgent gainsexemplified by the Taliban capture of the city of Konduz in late September 2015 and significant gains in Helmand and other provinces in 2016President Obama has amended prior troop reduction plans in order to keep 9,800 U.S. forces there through 2016, and to decrease to 8,400 thereafter. Previous plans called for a post-2016 force of 5,500, which itself replaced a plan announced in 2011 to reduce to about 1,000 U.S. personnel by that same time frame.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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