Skip to main content

Dilemmas for US Strategy: Transition in Afghanistan

Richard Weitz

In June 2013, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) assumed the lead combat role throughout Afghanistan against the tenacious Taliban insurgency. US combat forces in Afghanistan are scheduled to decrease to 32,000 by the end of the year.1 After next year, the United States intends to have a smaller Enduring Presence force operating under NATO command and a separate focused counterterrorism mission. If the ANSF performs well in the next year with a declining US military presence, we could see a successful NATO-ANSF transfer. The risk remains uncomfortably high, however, that the Afghan government will eventually succumb to an onslaught of the intensely ideologically motivated Taliban fighters linked to al Qaeda Islamist extremists. Both groups enjoy sanctuary and support in neighboring countries. Still, the most likely scenario is renewed civil war among multiple armed factions such as Afghanistan experienced during the 1990s.

View PDF

Related Articles

The Newsmakers: Back to the Cold War?

Richard Weitz

Russia has declared it is pulling out of a longstanding nuclear agreement with the U.S. - what does this mean for relations between Moscow and D.C.?...

Watch Now

The Best Way to Defeat the Islamic State and Succeed in Syria? Push Back on Putin.

Peter Rough

Secretary of State John Kerry has been calling for a hardline against Russia; it’s time for the Obama administration to listen....

Continue Reading

Ike vs. Obama in the Middle East

Michael Doran

One of them learned from his mistakes, re-examined his fundamental assumptions, and changed course as necessary....

Continue Reading