roads, to allow or the development o a strongcore o Aghan institutions.The latter strategy consists o de-escalatinga war that has become a Jihad and buildingenough Aghan military capacity to main-tain relative stability in these key areas. Toaccomplish that, we have one major political weapon: a progressive and ocused scaling-down o combat troops on our own terms.This would neutralize the Taliban’s appealsor Jihad against unbelieving oreign invad-ers, open up space or Aghan institutions andpolitical solutions, and allow us to ocus oureorts on areas where we can still make a di-erence. This strategy brings its own risks, butthe risks are ar smaller than continuing withmore o the same policies and reaching a point where we are let with no choice but to leavein chaos.This analysis oers ve main recommenda-tions that I here reer to as a “ocus and exitstrategy.”1) Available resources must shape the strat-egy, not the other way around. The UnitedStates and its allies have nearly reached theirmaximum level o commitment. The more mil-itary resources the allies put into Aghanistan,the less time they have to succeed. The reasonis that the nancial and human costs o main-taining a high-level military presence becomepolitical liabilities.2) Due to limited resources, the objectiveshave to be clear and limited. The main objec-tive is to leave an Aghan government that cansurvive a U.S. and NATO withdrawal. Policiesthat are not part o the general strategy shouldnot be priorities. For example, it is not possibleto have an eective counternarcotics policy orto impose Western values on Aghan society.3) The key idea is to lower the level o con-fict (i.e., to reverse the current trend o ever-increasing violence). The only way to weaken,and perhaps divide, the armed opposition isto reduce military conrontations. The UnitedStates must dene three areas: strategic zones(under total allied control), buer areas(around the strategic ones), and oppositionterritory. Policies would be very dierent ineach area; the resources allocated to institutionbuilding would be mostly concentrated in thestrategic areas.4) The only meaningul way to halt theinsurgency’s momentum is to start withdraw-ing troops. The presence o oreign troopsis the most important element driving theresurgence o the Taliban. Combat troop re-duction should not be a consequence o anelusive “stabilization”; rather, it should con-stitute an essential part o a political-military strategy. The withdrawal must be conductedon U.S. terms only, not through negotiations,because negotiations with the armed opposi-tion would weaken the Aghan government.Negotiations between the Aghan governmentand the Taliban cannot bring positive resultsuntil the Taliban recognize that the govern-ment in Kabul is going to survive ater the withdrawal.5) Withdrawal would allow the UnitedStates to ocus on the central security prob-lems in the region: al-Qaeda and the instabil-ity in Pakistan. The withdrawal would allowPakistan to dene common interests with theUnited States instead o playing the constantdouble game we have witnessed in recentdecades.
Te Pspet f lsg te W
Ater seven years in Aghanistan, the Westerncoalition does not have much to show interms o progress. All available data indicatea general ailure in security and state build-ing: increased civilian and military casualties,expansion o the guerillas, unavorable percep-tions o oreign troops by the local population,absence o unctioning national institutions,and growing destabilization o the Pakistaniborder, which threatens NATO’s logisticalroads, essential or resupplying NATO orces.Most o the two provinces south o Kabulare under the control o the Taliban. Eortsto improve health services and educationare undermined by the persistent insecurity.Reasonable expectations or 2009 are that the
, a visit-ing scholar at the CarnegieEndowment, is an epert onAghanistan, Turkey, andSouth Asia. His research o-cuses on security and politicaldevelopment in Aghanistan,particularly the role o the In-ternational Security AssistanceForce, the necessary steps ora viable government in Kabul,and the conditions necessaryor withdrawal scenarios.Previously, Dorronsoro was aproessor o political scienceat the Sorbonne, Paris and theInstitute o Political Studies oRennes. He also served as thescientifc coordinator at theFrench Institute o AnatolianStudies in Istanbul, Turkey.He is the co-ounder and edi-tor o the
South Asian Multi-disciplinary Academic Journal
European Journal of Turkish Studies
. He is theauthor o
Revolution Unend-ing: Afghanistan, 1979 to thePresent
(Columbia UniversityPress, 2005), and
La révolutionafghane, des communistes aux Taleban
(Karthala Publishers2000), and editor o
La Turquieconteste. Régime sécuritaire et mobilisations sociales
(Editionsdu CNRS, 2005).