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America's Afghanistan Strategy by Robert Cassidy - Real Clear Defense
Late this August, it was encouraging to hear that U.S. policy will not be to quit Afghanistan, not be to fire the commander, and not be to use mercenaries. In Afghanistan, defeat would indeed be worse than persevering with what will now be a modest increase in capacity and an ostensibly genuine regional strategy. Quitting the field would have meant giving up the potential for some form of victory and potentially seeing the Taliban overwhelm the Afghan security forces and the government in Kabul. And, if the Taliban were to revive an Islamist emirate in Afghanistan, there is reason to suggest a future with more attacks against the West, planned and prepared, with increasing scope and intensity, from Afghanistan and from Pakistan’s Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Although detail in the President’s speech was lean, it was reassuring to hear that the U.S. policy is to work with the Coalition and its Afghan partners in pursuit of a winning regional strategy. War without strategy is violence without end and without meaning, so it is a positive sign that the senior U.S. leadership intends to give strategy a chance. Absent thus far, a regional strategy is imperative for success. A measured increase in American and Coalition troops to advise and assist the Afghan security forces was part of the policy mentioned in the speech on August 21st. Though this increase alone will not break the strategic stalemate, it will support the theater commander’s operational design to grow the Afghan special security forces, build the capacity of the Afghan Air Force, and improve all Afghan security forces by employing more advisors with tactical units, where the fighting occurs…