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Winning in Afghanistan - Cordesman

Winning in Afghanistan - Cordesman

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WINNING IN AFGHANISTAN:HOW THE US WILL WINOR LOSE THE WAR 
Anthony H. CordesmanArleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategyacordesman@gmail.com
 
Working Draft: September 15, 2009
 
Cordesman:
 
Winning in Afghanistan 9/15/09 Page 2
I. CONDITIONS FOR VICTORY: CAN THE MISSION BE ACCOMPLISHED? ........................... 3
 
D
EFEATING THE
I
 NSURGENCY BY
E
LIMINATING ITS
C
ONTROL AND
I
 NFLUENCE
O
VER THE
P
OPULATION
. 4
 
C
REATING AN
E
FFECTIVE AND
W
ELL
-
RESOURCED
 NATO/ISAF
AND
US
 
ESPONSE IS KEY TO
D
EFEATING THE
I
 NSURGENCY AND
S
ECURING THE
P
OPULATION
. ............................................................ 5
 
C
REATING AN
E
FFECTIVE
A
LLY AND
A
FGHAN SYSTEM OF
G
OVERNANCE
. ............................................... 6
 
C
REATING AN
E
FFECTIVE
M
IX OF
A
FGHAN
 N
ATIONAL
S
ECURITY
F
ORCES
.............................................. 8
 
D
EAL
W
ITH THE
C
HALLENGE OF
P
AKISTAN AND
 N
EIGHBORING
S
TATES
................................................. 8
 
II. PROVIDE ADEQUATE RESOURCES OR LOSE AND LEAVE ................................................... 8
 
T
HE
 N
EED FOR 
M
ORE
US
 
F
ORCES
............................................................................................................ 9
 
A
DDED
C
IVIL
ESOURCES
........................................................................................................................ 9
 
T
HE
OLE OF
O
UR 
A
LLIES
...................................................................................................................... 10
 
III. IMPROVING AFGHAN GOVERNANCE ..................................................................................... 11
 
A
CTIVELY
F
IGHTING
C
ORRUPTION AND
A
BUSES
.................................................................................... 11
 
C
REATING
E
FFECTIVE
G
OVERNANCE AT THE
P
ROVINCIAL
,
 
D
ISTRICT
,
 
A
 ND
L
OCAL
L
EVELS
.................. 12
 
IV. CREATING STRONG AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES (ANSF)................................................ 14
 
T
HE
A
FGHAN
 N
ATIONAL
A
RMY
(ANA) ................................................................................................. 14
 
T
HE
A
FGHAN
 N
ATIONAL
P
OLICE
(ANP) ................................................................................................ 15
 
T
HE
A
FGHAN
B
ORDER 
P
OLICE
(ABP) .................................................................................................... 18
 
T
HE
A
FGHAN
P
UBLIC
P
ROTECTION
P
ROGRAM
(AP3) ............................................................................. 18
 
T
HE
ANA
 
A
IR 
C
ORPS
(ANAAC) ........................................................................................................... 18
 
 N
ATIONAL
D
IRECTORATE OF
S
ECURITY
(NDS) ...................................................................................... 19
 
M
AKING
P
ARTNERSHIP THE
C
ORE OF
F
ORCE
D
EVELOPMENT
................................................................. 19
 
V. DEALING WITH PAKISTAN AND THE ROLE OF EXTERNAL POWERS ............................ 21
 
VI. RESTRUCTURING THE US AND NATO/ ISAF EFFORT ......................................................... 22
 
 NATO/ISAF
AND THE
US
MUST ACT AS IF THEY ARE IN
A
FGHANISTAN TO WIN
. ................................... 22
 
O
THER 
O
PERATIONAL
T
ASKS
................................................................................................................. 24
 
VII. DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE CIVIL-MILITARY PARTNERSHIP ................................... 25
 
VIII. RESTRUCTURING AID EFFORTS ............................................................................................ 27
 
IX. PROVIDING TRANSPARENCY AND HONEST METRICS ...................................................... 29
 
X. PLANNING FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF FAILURE: DEVELOPING A CONDITIONALEXIT STRATEGY ................................................................................................................................... 32
 
C
RITICAL
A
SSUMPTIONS
........................................................................................................................ 32
 
C
RITICAL
ISKS
...................................................................................................................................... 32
 
 
Cordesman:
 
Winning in Afghanistan 9/15/09 Page 3
I. Conditions for Victory: Can the Mission be Accomplished?
 No strategy for Afghanistan can be successful unless it answers the most basic questionof going to war: can we win?
The answer is yes, provided that victory is defined inrealistic and practical terms
. With the proper US leadership, it is still possible to createan Afghanistan that is stable and secure enough to ensure that it cannot again become acenter for international terrorism, a threat to Pakistan and other nations in the region, or a center of Jihadist operations throughout the world. This will not be a victory thatachieves the level of development, mature democracy, and Western concepts of humanrights called for by the Afghan compact. It can, however, be a kind of victory thatallows the Afghans to pursue their destiny in relative peace.The answer is only
 yes
under very demanding conditions. Years of chronic under-resourcing have allowed the Taliban and other insurgents to recover and seize theinitiative. This has imposed a significant cost upon the efforts to garner peace.Additionally, failures by the Afghan central government, paired with corruption andwaste on all sides, magnified such costs. Furthermore, the situation has beencompounded by a lack of effective civil-military cooperation. Anything approaching areal-world unity of effort between the US team, NATO/ISAF, UN, and internationalagencies
hasn’t proven to be effective.
.
The Taliban, Al Qa’ida, and other insurgent groups like Hekmatyer and Haqqani have
re-emerged as major threats that influence or control approximately a third of thecountry, with de facto sanctuaries in Pakistan. These gains are more the fault of the USand its allies, as opposed to a reflection of the strength of Jihadist insurgents. In fact,such developments are largely the result of the US failing to provide adequate resources,decisive leadership, or effective implementation of a coherent civil-military strategy.The US has failed to commit adequate troops, civilian aid workers, and adequate funds.This lack of leadership, paired with a lack of adequate civil-military resources, has beento the detriment of effective Afghan governance and adequate Afghan security forces.Instead, the US has focused on Iraq, while trying to pressure its allies into assuming itsresponsibilities. The US has treated Pakistan as an ally despite
Pakistan’s posture
beingclearly divided. It covertly tolerates and encourages the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents. The end result has been a power vacuum that a skilled and adaptive set of insurgents has exploited to seize the initiative, and wage a war of political attrition thatthey are now winning. Nevertheless, the US may well be able to reverse this situation. The Taliban and other insurgents are still weak and unpopular. The strategy of shape, clear, hold, and build thathas had substantial successes in Iraq can be adapted to Afghanistan. Ambassador Eikenberry and General McChrystal offer the kind of leadership that has the ability towin. A meaningful form of Afghan NATO/ISAF victory still seems possible
 — 
and even probable
 — 
if 
the US changes its strategy, commits the manpower and money needed towin, and works more effectively with the Afghans and its allies.The US will fail, however, if the Administration and the Congress temporize and delay.Failing to fully implement a new strategy focused on a realistic effort to create true

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