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Video Brief: Afghanistan

Speaker: Stephen D. Biddle, Roger Hertog Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
January 26, 2012

The winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign will take office with a looming troop drawdown in Afghanistan and more limited choices on how to affect the military situation there, says CFR's defense expert Stephen Biddle.

With the 2014 deadline in place for handing off lead security responsibilities to Afghan forces, Biddle says, "there will be very few degrees of freedom left for [a new U.S. president] fundamentally changing the military situation on the ground."

As a result, Biddle says, the 2014 handover will likely be followed by a stalemate "in which Afghan security forces can hold what's been taken but important military problems remain unsolved, and they're probably going to have a very hard time expanding the Afghan government's region of control."

This will require the administration to make critical decisions on providing support and funding for the Afghan forces as well as possible concessions to the Taliban as part of a negotiated settlement process, says Biddle.

This video is part of Campaign 2012, a series of video briefings on the top foreign policy issues debated in the run-up to the 2012 elections.


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