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  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2014, the US President and Secretary of Defense announced the formal end to Operation Enduring Freedom, its combat mission in Afghanistan, which had begun in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. They also stated that the US would begin its follow-on mission, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, at the start of 2015.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Defense Policy, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The war in Afghanistan entered a new phase in 2013. It now is increasingly a contest between the insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many within and outside the government are more optimistic about stability in the wake of a relatively successful first round of presidential elections on 5 April 2014. However, any euphoria should be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai's successor will face in the transitional period of 2014-2015. Kabul may find these challenges difficult to overcome without significant and sustained international security, political and economic support.
  • Topic: International Security, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As NATO winds down its long combat operation in Afghanistan, the Alliance is facing a new and dynamic security environment that is more strategically constraining and competitive than at any time since the end of the Cold War. This is spurred by a set of long-term trends that are driving a transformation of global arrangements and power relationships and is further reinforced by fiscal austerity and uncertain political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, along with these long-term challenges, increasing turbulence in the Middle East and the Ukraine crisis mean that NATO today has serious security concerns to tend to on the immediate periphery of Alliance territory.
  • Topic: NATO, Demographics, Science and Technology, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Jacqueline Page
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: As the complex global security environment faced by NATO members continues to evolve in the coming years, terrorism – waged by actors both in and outside of their borders – will remain a vexing challenge. For over a decade, NATO's counterterrorism strategy has been built on taking the fight abroad. Member nations have been intimately involved in this effort as contributors to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, to the Multi-National Force in Iraq and in a variety of smaller missions around the globe. In recent times, however, there has been growing attention to the threat posed by “homegrown” terrorism and foreign fighters returning from Syria and elsewhere to their home countries throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On 31 December 2014, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the largest military mission of NATO, will be history. In line with the political decision taken at NATO's Lisbon Summit in 2010, ISAF troops will be leaving. With them will go all their equipment: a range of items, from weapon systems and armored vehicles to chairs, kitchens and fitness centers used by more than 100,000 troops and approximately the same amount of civilian personnel. This is a gigantic project. If one thought getting into Afghanistan was difficult, getting out is a lot harder. It represents the biggest multi-national military logistical challenge in modern history. Millions of tons of material have to be de-militarized, dismantled, handed over, sold, scrapped, recycled, donated to the Afghans and/or third nations, or transferred home. More than 125,000 containers and 80,000 military vehicles have to be disposed of or brought back home to NATO nations and NATO partner countries. If the containers and the vehicles were placed one after the other, end to end, they would form a line as long as the distance from Berlin to Paris.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Paris, Asia, Berlin
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: This document describes the composition and placement of U.S. and other Western combat and advisory forces in Afghanistan down to battalion level. It includes the following categories of units: maneuver (i.e. infantry, armor, and cavalry) units, which in most cases are responsible for advising or partnering with Afghan troops in particular districts or provinces; artillery units; aviation units, both rotary and fixed-wing; military police units; most types of engineer and explosive ordnance disposal units; and "white" special operations forces. It does not include "black" special operations units or other units such as logistical, transportation, medical, and intelligence units or Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Jeffrey Dressler
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Haqqani Network represents hh a strategic threat to the enduring stability of the Afghan state and U.S. national security interests in the region. The Haqqanis are currently Afghanistan's most capable and potent insurgent group, and they continue to maintain close operational and strategic ties with al-Qaeda and their affiliates. These ties will likely deepen in the future. Unlike the Quetta Shura Taliban in southern Afghanistan, the counterinsurgency campaign has not weakened the Haqqanis' military capabilities significantly. Few of the “surge” resources deployed to their strongholds in Eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network has increased its operational reach and jihadist credentials over the past several years. The Haqqani Network has expanded its reach toward the Quetta Shura Taliban's historical strongholds in southern Afghanistan, the areas surrounding Kabul, as well as the Afghan north. The Haqqanis maintain considerable sanctuary and support nodes inside Pakistan's tribal areas. From their safehavens in North Waziristan and Kurram Agencies in Pakistan, the Haqqanis project men and materiel to resource their terrorist campaign in Afghanistan's southeastern provinces of Khost, Paktika and Paktia onwards to the provinces surrounding Kabul. The Haqqani Network is the primary proxy force backed by elements of Pakistan's security establishment. Pakistan's support for the Haqqani Network has increased, through both facilitating additional sanctuary and providing strategic and operational guidance. The Haqqanis serve Pakistan's interests by dominating key terrain along the border and beyond in Afghanistan's south and east, serving as a Pakistani-influenced “firewall” against national, northern, U.S. and Indian influence. The Haqqanis would also serve Pakistan's interests by being the primary influence in Afghanistan's Ghilzai Pashtun lands, as well as the tribal areas in North Waziristan, organizing these tribal areas in ways consistent with Pakistan's interests. The Haqqanis execute spectacular attacks in Kabul in order to generate a disproportionate psychological and propaganda effect. The Haqqanis have strengthened their presence in Logar and Wardak, surrounding the southern and western approaches to Kabul. They have also expanded into Kabul's eastern approachs in the provinces of Nangarhar, Lahgman, and Kapisa. The network will use these positions to increase their destabilizing attacks in Kabul. The Haqqani Network has increased their presence in Afghanistan's north, through their partnership with the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The Haqqani Network and IMU execute targeted assassinations of northern powerbrokers who are affiliated with the Jamiat-e Islami Party. These assassinations are meant to undermine the Jamiat party and the influence of minority powerbrokers, who are historical rivals to the Pashtuns and the Pakistani state. The Haqqanis are ideologically committed insurgents, and they are increasing their territorial reach. The group also has ties to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The Haqqanis have never given any indication that breaking ties with al-Qaeda was either possible or in their interests. Consequently, the Haqqani Network is not reconcilable. They also do not fully follow the guidance of the Quetta Shura Taliban, because they maintain a separate power base and leadership structure. Coalition and Afghan forces must conduct a sustained, well-resourced offensive against the Haqqani Network inside of Afghanistan. This campaign would likely require at least two adequately-resourced fighting seasons. Consequently, it is imperative that the U.S. retains force levels at 68,000 troops after September 2012, rather than conducting a further drawdown. Without such a campaign, the Haqqani Network will be a dominant force inside of Afghanistan indefinitely, and the United States woulf fail to achieve its stated objective of preventing the return of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups to Afghanistan. Addressing the threat from the Haqqani Network inside of Afghanistan is necessary, even if further action should ultimately be taken to disrupt the organization in Miramshah. The ANSF are not equipped to deal with the threat from the Haqqani Network in their current state. The Afghan Security Forces lack the intelligence, enablers, and sophisticated command and control required to reclaim the enemy support zones south of Kabul. The Afghan units are also under-filled and wrongly positioned for this fight. American troops in a properly-resourced campaign can help reduce the threat from the Haqqani Network to a level that the Afghan Security Forces can handle. The United States must not abruptly shift the mission of its forces in Afghanistan from counter-insurgency to security force assistance. U.S. forces cannot curtail or cease offensive operations in the areas South of Kabul in Regional Command East in 2012. The United States and its Afghan partners must dismantle the Haqqani Network's strongholds in Khost, Paktika, and Paktia and contain the organization's expansion toward Kabul prior to a shift in mission. Failure to do so will present a strategic threat to U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, International Security, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Benjamin Schreer
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: One of the major issues on the agenda of NATO's next Summit in Chicago in May 2012 will be the ongoing transition in Afghanistan. The goal of transferring full security responsibility from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 also increases the necessity for the Alliance to define its future relations with what it calls 'partners across the globe' in the Asia-Pacific region. Until now, the focus of NATO's relations with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the Republic of Korea was very much on operational co-operation. In other words, the value of these partnerships has largely been these countries' contributions to the Afghanistan mission.
  • Topic: NATO, International Security, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand
  • Author: Sten Rynning
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO is set to terminate its combat mission in Afghanistan and establish Afghan security leadership by the end of 2014 - a process which the Alliance defined as "irreversible" at its Chicago summit on 20-21 May 2012. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will thus complete its mission after thirteen years, and become history. However, NATO is not just packing up and going home. In 2010 the Alliance launched its proposal for an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan, and in Chicago it declared: "Afghanistan will not stand alone." Afghanistan can count on NATO's "enduring commitment" to the country, and NATO will now prepare "a new training, advising and assistance mission" that can begin in January 2015.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia