As the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan depends in part on building that country's capacity to provide for its own security, the Government Accountability Office evaluates the use of contractor personnel to fill skill and resource gaps in training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces.
Targeted killings have become a central component of U.S. counterterrorism operations around the globe. Despite pointed criticism over transparency and accountability issues, analysts say the controversial practice seems likely to expand in the future.
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.
The United States continues to pursue peace talks with Afghanistan's Taliban as a means to secure stability. Bruce Riedel discusses the challenges faced by the administration, including its ongoing tensions with Pakistan.
A potential Taliban office in Qatar has raised hopes for a negotiated end to the Afghan war. But numerous challenges remain even as a new controversy over U.S. troop behavior threatens to derail talks.
Abandoning counterinsurgency doctrine after Afghanistan would doom the U.S. military to irrelevance and impotence, writes Christopher Sims and Fernando Luján. Not so, says Bing West; like it or not, the United States will be much less ambitious in future wars.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee released this report on December 19, 2011. The press release states,
"As part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's ongoing oversight of U.S engagement in Afghanistan and the broader region, Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today released a report examining Central Asia's critical role in Afghanistan.
Central Asia and the Transition in Afghanistan is based on an October 2011 field visit by the Committee's majority staff to Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan as well as extensive staff meetings with experts and policymakers. It provides several important statistics and offers three overarching recommendations for the Administration as it prepares for the 2014 transition in Afghanistan and continues to engage with countries in the region."
Attacks on Shia Muslims in Afghanistan claimed by a Pakistani militant group are a disturbing omen -- for sectarian ties and the prospects for a peace deal with insurgents, says counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman.
Anand Gopal argues that the recent attacks on a Shia Muslim procession in Afghanistan, which killed fifty-eight people, are only the latest in a string of violent episodes that indicate profound lack of control in the region.
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