U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Evans scans the area through a pair of binoculars while Spc. Brendon Quisenberry pulls rear security during a security halt on a route reconnaissance mission near Mir-e, Afghanistan, April 4, 2007. The Soldiers are from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel)

October 01, 2009

Enemy Reactions to the US Strategy and Force-Sizing Options

As the Obama administration considers its strategic approach and future resource levels in Afghanistan, CTP Director Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan (Institute for the Study of War) have produced a second report, Enemy Reactions to the US Strategy and Force Sizing Options, considering how enemy groups and other stakeholders in Afghanistan and Pakistan would respond to several US Policy scenarios: 

  • Scenario 1:  The President orders all US forces out of Afghanistan, including Special Operations Forces (SOF) and classified forces
  • Scenario 2:  The President orders US combat forces out of Afghanistan, including all trainers and forces supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), but not including SOF and classified forces
  • Scenario 3:  The President orders US combat forces out of Afghanistan, but trainers, SOF, classified forces, and forces assisting the ANSF remain
  • Scenario 4:  US combat forces remain as currently deployed, with additional emphasis on expansion of the ANSF
  • Scenario 5:  US combat forces are augmented as proposed by General McChrystal and the expansion of the ANSF is accelerated 

As we evaluate the various options available to us in Afghanistan, it is essential to consider the path from the current situation to the proposed future strategy.  What will Afghanistan and the region look like as the US and NATO withdraw forces and prepare to pursue a pure counter-terrorism strategy?  How will the various enemy groups and Pakistan react to a reinforced counter-insurgency strategy?  What would emphasizing only the training of Afghan security forces look like?  This report seeks to address these and other critical questions.