Defining Success in Afghanistan

Originally published in AEI, ISW
January 7, 2011

Executive Summary

Success in Afghanistan is the establishment of a political order, security situation, and indigenous security force that is stable, viable, enduring, and able--with greatly reduced international support--to prevent Afghanistan from being a safe haven for international terrorists. The current American and Coalition strategy is making progress and should be continued. Since President Obama, NATO allies, and the Afghans have agreed that troops will be present in Afghanistan through 2014, the policy does not require substantial modifications at this point. This paper is thus primarily a report on the current situation in Afghanistan and a consideration of some of the prospects and challenges ahead. Our principal recommendation is that the U.S. and its allies should continue to resource and sustain the strategy now being executed, which is the only approach that can secure their vital national security interests in Afghanistan.

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