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Realignment: Managing a Stable Transition to Afghan Responsibility

Realignment: Managing a Stable Transition to Afghan Responsibility

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Report from Caroline Wadams, Colin Cookman, Brian Katulis, and Lawrence Korb outlines how to promote a self-sustaining government in Afghanistan.
Report from Caroline Wadams, Colin Cookman, Brian Katulis, and Lawrence Korb outlines how to promote a self-sustaining government in Afghanistan.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Nov 23, 2010
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 o o /   b  oMi   M o s i   i    s 
Realignment: Managing a StableTransition to Afghan Responsibility
Recommendations for the United States and Its Allies
Caroline Wadhams, Colin Cookman, Brian Katulis, and Lawrence Korb November 2010
1Cene fo Ameican Poge | realignmen: Managing a sable taniion o Afghan reponibiliy
Introduction and summary
Curren U.S. eors in Aghanisan are undamenally ou o balance, and hey areno advancing U.S. ineress and sabiliy in Aghanisan, Pakisan, and he region.Miliary operaions drive our sraegy while he poliical and diplomaic rame- work essenial or long-erm sabiliy in Aghanisan remains undeveloped.Furher, his overinvesmen o resources and atenion in Aghanisan is ou o alignmen wih core U.S. securiy ineress in he region. Tose ineress cener onreducing he risk o erroris atacks by Al Qaeda and is aliaed neworks againshe Unied Saes and is allies. Tey also include increasing he poliical sabiliy o he Pakisani sae, a counry o 170 million people wih nuclear weapons.Prevening sae collapse in Aghanisan and managing a sable and enduring ran-siion o responsibiliy o Aghan leaders would enable he Unied Saes o besmee hese core securiy objecives in he region and over he long erm suppor apeaceul, economically inegraed region. A smaller U.S. and NAO-ISAF miliary ooprin wih a more robus poliical and diplomaic eor has a greaer chance o reaching his desirable end sae o sabiliy han a ull-blown counerinsurgency eor o exend he governmen o Kabul hroughou he counry and deea healiban insurgency.Te Obama adminisraion should use is upcoming year-end policy review oreocus on he poliical and diplomaic componens o is sraegy while i ransi-ions ou o Aghanisan. Tis will enail building an inclusive setlemen o hecounrys conic, developing an Aghan sae ha is increasingly less dependenon exernal suppor, and aciliaing an inernaional diplomaic agreemen among Aghanisans neighbors and regional parners.Te adminisraion mus commi o ranserring responsibiliy o Aghan leadersin he near uure, as agreed o by he Aghan governmen, he Unied Saes, andhe NAO-led Inernaional Securiy Assisance Force, or ISAF. We should reduceour miliary ooprin a a seady pace beginning now wih ull ranser o Aghan
2Cene fo Ameican Poge | realignmen: Managing a sable taniion o Afghan reponibiliy
conrol by 2014 a he laes. A reducion in roop levels and assisance shouldoccur more rapidly, however, i Aghanisan’s governmen does no begin a seriousprocess o poliical reorm and dialogue wih is armed and unarmed opponens.o be sure, an acceleraed wihdrawal would have coss—many o which he Aghan people would have o bear. I is no an ideal approach by ar. Bu heUnied Saes can proec is core securiy ineress wih a reduced miliary presence in Aghanisan. And wihou shis in he curren poliical srucure in Aghanisan i will be simply uile or he Unied Saes and is NAO allies o wage coninued war on behal o a governmen ha canno consolidae domesicpoliical suppor wihou indefnie massive inernaional assisance.
 Transitioning to a viable end state in Afghanistan
Te Unied Saes, wih is NAO-ISAF parners, mus prioriize measures hacan induce poliical and economic reorms on he par o he Aghan governmenin order o manage a measured drawdown in Aghanisan over he nex hree years. Beyond 2014, he Unied Saes may oer Aghanisan fnancial supporand mainain a small miliary orce o underake argeed atacks agains errorisgroups, conduc inelligence gahering, and provide raining o Aghan NaionalSecuriy Forces.Te ask or he Obama adminisraion hrough he remainder o is frs ermin oce is redirecing is diplomaic, fnancial, and miliary resources oward asusainable setlemen in Aghanisan in which he Unied Saes can ransiionresponsibiliy o Aghan leaders wihou sparking an expanded round o conic.Bu a sel-susaining sae in Aghanisan capable o surviving a drawdown in large-scale inernaional assisance requires a poliical sysem ha oers he diverseacions in Aghanisans sociey—including hose backing he curren govern-men, hose aking par in armed insurgency, and hose siting on he ence—anopporuniy o paricipae in heir counry’s uure.Te Unied Saes and is parners in NAO, Kabul, and he region should work oward he ollowing goals in order o achieve a sable, increasingly sel-relian Aghan sae:
 An Aghan sae ha delegaes more power, resources, appoinmens, and jusiceo he local level and o oher ceners o power such as he parliamen and judiciary in order o creae a more balanced power dynamic han wha currenly exiss
 The task orthe Obamaadministrationthrough theremainder o itsrst term in ofceis redirectingits diplomatic,nancial,and militaryresources towarda sustainablesettlement inAghanistan.

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