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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The more one looks at the current situation in Afghanistan today, the more likely it seems that Transition will at best produce a weak and divided state and at worst a state that either continues its civil war or comes under Taliban and extremist control. More than a decade of Western intervention has not produced a strong and viable central government, an economy that can function without massive outside aid, or effective Afghan forces. There is no sign that insurgents are being pushed towards defeat or will lose their sanctuaries in Pakistan. This has made every aspect of Transition is a high-risk effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US is already at least six months behind in shaping an effective Transition in Afghanistan. It has not laid credible plans for the security, governance, and economic aspects of Transition. It has not made its level of future commitment clear to its allies or the Afghans, and it has failed dismally to convince the Congress and the American people that there is a credible reason to support Transition beyond the end of 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Islam, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The key issue in evaluating the prospects for a successful Transition in Afghanistan is not whether a successful transition in Afghanistan is possible, it is rather whether some form of meaningful transition is probable — a very different thing. The answer is a modest form of strategic success is still possible, but that it is too soon to know whether it is probable and there are many areas where the current level of planning, analysis, and action combined to sharply reduce the chances for success.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, War, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is surprisingly difficult to get a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the Afghan conflict, total spending on Afghan forces and total spending on various forms of aid. More data are available on US efforts – which have dominated military and aid spending, but even these data present serious problems in reliability, consistency, and definition. Moreover, it is only since FY2012 that the US provided an integrated request for funding for the war as part of its annual budget request. The data for the period before FY2009 are accurate pictures of the Department of Defense request, but there is only a CRS estimate of total spending the previous years.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US confronts a wide range of challenges if it is to win the Afghan conflict in any meaningful sense, and leave a stable Afghanistan and Pakistan: Decide on US strategic objectives in conducting and terminating the war. These objectives not only include the defeat of Al Qaeda, but deciding on what kind of transition the US wishes to make in Afghanistan, what goals the US can achieve in creating a stable Afghanistan, US goals in Pakistan, and the broader strategic goals the US will seek in Central and South Asia. Defeat the insurgency not only in tactical terms, but also by eliminating its control and influence over the population and ability exploit sanctuaries in Pakistan and win a war of political transition. Create a more effective and integrated, operational civil and civil-military transition effort by NATO/ISAF, UN, member countries, NGO, and international community efforts through 2014 and for 5-10 years after the withdrawal of combat forces. Build up a much larger, and more effective, mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Give the Afghan government the necessary capacity and legitimacy (and lasting stability) at the national, regional/provincial, district, and local levels by 2014. Dealing with Pakistan in reducing the Taliban-Haqqani network in the NWFP and Baluchistan, and dealing with the broader risk Pakistan will become a failed nuclear weapons state. Shape a balance of post-transition relations with India, Iran, "Stans," Russia, and China that will help sustain posttransition stability. Make effective trade-offs in terms of resources relative to the priorities set by other US domestic and security interests.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Defeating the insurgency not only in tactical terms, but by eliminating its control and influence over the population. Creating an effective and well-resourced NATO/ISAF and US response to defeating the insurgency and securing the population. Building up a much larger and more effective (and enduring base for transition) mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Giving the Afghan government the necessary capacity and legitimacy at the national, regional/provincial, district, and local levels. Creating an effective, integrated, and truly operational civil-military effort. NATO/ISAF, UN, member country, and NGO and international community efforts. Dealing with the sixth center of gravity outside Afghanistan and NATO/ISAF's formal mission. with the actions of Pakistan, Iran, and other states will be critical to success in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Taliban-led insurgency has the momentum...but additional effective counterinsurgency forces and operations will challenge them in select districts and provinces.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, War, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent reporting by the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A) and the Department of Defense provides added insight into how the course of the fighting tracks with the development of Afghan security forces. The metrics in this analysis are not a substitute for reading the detailed Department of Defense reporting on Afghan force development available in the publications section of DoD's web site at defenselink.gov, or the new NTM-A report, "Year in Review, November 2009 to November 2010." They do show, however, that there is now a far more credible prospect that Afghan forces will be ready for transition in 2014, and capable of largely assuming responsibility for security operations. The one critical caveat is that these efforts must continue to be properly funded, and that NATO has not yet obtained anything like the quantity and quality of trainers and partners it needs to win. These metrics make it clear that this is a the highest single priority for added military contributions from NATO countries, and that current assets meet less that 40% of the requirement needed by mid-2011.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan