The United States successfully toppled the Taliban in the Afghan war, but it is in danger of losing the peace following the conclusion of that war. Without greater international support for the transitional government of President Hamid Karzai, security in Afghanistan will deteriorate further, prospects for economic reconstruction will dim, and Afghanistan will revert to warlord-dominated anarchy. This failure could gravely erode America’s credibility around the globe and mark a major defeat in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, warns this informative chairmen’s report.
To prevent a return to anarchy, Washington needs to bolster the ability of Hamid Karzai’s ability to bring security and economic hope to the people of Afghanistan. The report makes three principal recommendations to achieve these goals: improve security by extending peacekeeping efforts beyond Kabul and accelerating development of the Afghan National Army; increase pressure on neighboring countries to stop their backing of warlords or pro-Taliban remnants; and provide at least $1 billion in reconstruction assistance for each of the next five years.
Specific Task Force recommendations the United States should take to avoid failure in Afghanistan include: instructing U.S. forces to help implement the plan to demobilize, demilitarize, and reintegrate the regional militias, estimated at 100,000-strong; urging Pakistan to prevent pro-Taliban elements from using its territory for cross-border attacks; and making sure that U.S. aid programs match the priorities established by the Afghan government and are implemented under its aegis.