International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, "this long war will come to a responsible end."
The replacement of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan with a counterinsurgency expert could shift momentum, but CFR's Stephen Biddle says it might also anger Afghans who oppose U.S. special operations tactics.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa & Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Biddle argues that short term success in Afghanistan is less important than the United States' ability to secure its long term interests beyond 2014.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Stephen Biddle acknowledges that neither the case for nor against using force in Syria is without serious costs and risks. He evaluates the five main goals an attack might be designed to achieve: deterring further CW use and upholding norms against the employment of such weapons; preserving U.S. credibility; enabling a negotiated settlement to the war; toppling Assad and his government; and ending the humanitarian crisis by saving civilian lives.
The newly announced U.S. plan to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by mid-2013 could make it more difficult to realize the chief goal of helping Afghan national forces become self-sufficient, says CFR's Stephen Biddle.
The winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential race will have to make critical decisions on Afghanistan, including how to support and fund Afghan forces as well as possible concessions to the Taliban, says CFR's Stephen Biddle.