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Atlantic: The Afghanistan-Shaped Hole in the Presidential Campaigns

Author: Joshua Foust
September 11, 2012

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In this artlice from the Atlantic, Joshua Foust highlights the apprehensiveness of both presidential candidates to address the ongoing war in Afghanistan and what it means for raising public or political pressure to find a lasting solution.

This week marks two watershed events in the war in Afghanistan: suspending the police training mission and firing hundreds of Afghan soldiers for having ties to the insurgency. Both speak to the increasingly struggling U.S.-led war effort there. And yet the two presidential campaigns are barely discussing one of the toughest foreign policy issues facing the U.S. today. That's hardly surprising in political terms, but in actual policy terms it seems to have left the U.S. in a state of cautious status quo.

The next 28 months of the war in Afghanistan, between now and the planned drawdown, will be defined in part by the process of handing over security responsibility from ISAF (the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force) troops to Afghan soldiers and police. Without a successful transition to Afghan control, the strategy is likely to fall apart, leaving the country without security.

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