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Afghanistan in Transition

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In December 2010, President Obama issued his review of the US strategy in Afghanistan following the significant increase in military forces and a renewed counterinsurgency effort. Nearly a year ago, the US Commander in Chief decided to send an additional 30,000 US forces to Afghanistan as part of a strategy to reverse the Talibans momentum and build the Afghan governments capacity, allowing the United States to begin drawing down its forces in July 2011. The ensuing military surge, which raised the level of the US-led International Security Assistant Force ISAF to over 140,000 including 100,000 US service members, and a new population-centered stabilization strategy may be the first serious counterinsurgency effort in the nine-year war. During the past nine years, poorly resourced and ill-coordinated state building and stabilization efforts failed to check the growing insecurity and violence that peaked this year at the highest level since the removal of the Taliban from power in 2001. The ever-increasing complexity of the strategic and operational environment has perplexed the Afghan government and contributing nations and stymied the development of any unified, long-term vision for the nation and its people. All parties have approached the emerging issues in divergent, uncoordinated ways, with operations on every front being fragmented reactions to events rather than strategic undertakings designed to support long-term goals. An American warrior of the Vietnam War famously once said that America had not been fighting the war in Vietnam for 12 years, but for one year 12 times. The same can be said in Afghanistan today where the international forces have fought nine, one-year wars.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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