The New Afghan Combat Timetable

February 2, 2012

The New Afghan Combat Timetable
Explainer Video
from Video

The U.S. plan to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by mid-2013, shifting to an "advise and assist" role, may make it more difficult for Afghan national forces to become self-sufficient in maintaining security, says CFR Senior Fellow for Defense Policy Stephen Biddle.

"The administration has been struggling to find a balance between what they see as real but limited U.S. interest in Afghanistan and some way of waging the war that would be of commensurate cost and sacrifice," says Biddle. As a result, he says, the Obama administration has been pushing for earlier drawdowns of U.S. troops and increased reliance on Afghan national forces.

More on:

Afghanistan

One of the serious problems, Biddle argues, is that earlier U.S. drawdowns will leave Afghan forces facing "a harder mission than was anticipated." He adds: "In all likelihood, what we will be handing off to the Afghans is a problem that they will not be able to do better than a stalemate with, and they may have some degree of difficulty even in maintaining a stalemate."

More on:

Afghanistan

Close

Top Stories on CFR

Sanctions

For many policymakers, economic sanctions have become the tool of choice to respond to major geopolitical challenges such as terrorism and conflict.

China

The Trump administration has declared China a currency manipulator, but what that means for the ongoing trade war is far from clear.

Women and Economic Growth

The education gender gap costs the world between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in human capital. U.S. aid programs need to equip girls and women to participate in the modern digital economy.