Asked by Justin McDowell, from Minnesota State University Moorhead
Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations will continue to be a viable option in future conflicts, particularly given rising instability in areas of interest to the United States and its allies. However, the relative feasibility and ability to support large COIN operations is very much in question.
The answer is simple: 9/11. The most costly terrorist attack ever was carried out from Afghanistan. The United States showed bipartisan determination to bring the perpetrators to justice and—the part that explains our continuing engagement in Afghanistan—to prevent its soil from ever being used again to stage terrorist attacks.
Following the attack on Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army sergeant, and the recent burning of Qurans by NATO soldiers, the United States' relationship with Afghanistan has come under sharp focus. Listen to CFR senior fellows Stephen Biddleand Max Bootdiscuss these events, the planned drawdown of U.S. troops by 2014, and the future of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
Speakers: Linda Robinson and Francis J. West Presider: Deborah Susan Amos
Listen to Linda Robinson, author in residence at the Johns Hopkins University's Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Francis J. West, correspondent at the Atlantic Monthly Press, assess the political and strategic effects of the surge in Iraq.
Listen to Council on Foreign Relations experts Stephen Biddle and Daniel Markey discuss a recent week-long visit they took to Afghanistan on invitation from top U.S. military commander Gen. David McKiernan.
Listen to Barry McCaffrey, a retired U.S. army general and adjunct professor of international affairs at West Point, discuss past failings and future options for success in Iraq five years after the war began.
Scaling back the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan will yield a peace dividend, but only when Social Security and Medicare spending are controlled will the U.S. be able to refocus on domestic priorities, says CFR'S Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
U.S. strategy in Afghanistan should be in line with the Obama administration's political goals of defeating al-Qaeda rather than devoting resources to long-term nation building, says CFR's Gian Gentile.
Did President Obama's troop drawdown plan for Afghanistan undercut the campaign against the Taliban or was it too limited to meet U.S. goals? CFR President Richard N. Haass and Senior Fellow Max Boot offer differing takes on the new battlefield deployment.
The new U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement is a step forward as the Western troop drawdown clock ticks down, but Washington must provide more specific pledges for Afghanistan's security, says CFR's Max Boot.
President Obama should pursue a more sweeping troop drawdown in Afghanistan that focuses a residual force on counterterrorist operations, and helps Washington devote more resources to fixing severe domestic problems, says CFR President Richard N. Haass.
President Obama's decision to remove thirty thousand troops from Afghanistan in just over a year heightens the difficulty in securing the east and south of the country against far-from-defeated Taliban forces, writes CFR's Max Boot.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.