Showing posts tagged as "Afghanistan"

Showing posts tagged Afghanistan

2 Jun
Obama’s counterterrorism doctrine: Let locals lead the fight | David Rohde
In a foreign policy address this week, U.S. President Barack Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.
“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat - one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”
But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

Obama’s counterterrorism doctrine: Let locals lead the fight | David Rohde

In a foreign policy address this week, U.S. President Barack Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.

“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat - one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”

But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

29 May
Relief in Afghanistan after Obama makes troop commitment | Heath Druzin
President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. plans to keep almost 10,000 troops in Afghanistan past the end of the year brought relief to Afghans worried a full withdrawal would leave a security vacuum.
But questions remain about what the post-combat mission in this still-active war zone will look like.
The long wait for Obama’s announcement caused unease in a nation where, nearly 13 years after the U.S. military invasion that ousted the ruling Taliban, a war is still raging in parts of the country, and Afghan troops still rely on U.S. intelligence and technology to fight an entrenched insurgency.
“This will remove a sense of drift from U.S. military policy in Afghanistan and it will bring a sense of reassurement to pro-government enclaves in the country that Americans won’t abandon them after 2014,” said Graeme Smith, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst in Afghanistan.
FULL ARTICLE (Stars and Stripes)
Photo: isafmedia/flickr

Relief in Afghanistan after Obama makes troop commitment | Heath Druzin

President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. plans to keep almost 10,000 troops in Afghanistan past the end of the year brought relief to Afghans worried a full withdrawal would leave a security vacuum.

But questions remain about what the post-combat mission in this still-active war zone will look like.

The long wait for Obama’s announcement caused unease in a nation where, nearly 13 years after the U.S. military invasion that ousted the ruling Taliban, a war is still raging in parts of the country, and Afghan troops still rely on U.S. intelligence and technology to fight an entrenched insurgency.

“This will remove a sense of drift from U.S. military policy in Afghanistan and it will bring a sense of reassurement to pro-government enclaves in the country that Americans won’t abandon them after 2014,” said Graeme Smith, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst in Afghanistan.

FULL ARTICLE (Stars and Stripes)

Photo: isafmedia/flickr

22 May
Afghanistan’s Opium Economy Is Doing Better Than Ever | Alice Speri
Despite billions spent in eradication efforts, Afghanistan’s opium harvest is set to break all records this year, as one of the country’s primary agricultural activities and most profitable export trades blooms in the midst of an uncertain political and military transition.
Afghanistan produced tons of opium in 2013 — an estimated 6,062 tons in fact, — growing its output for the third consecutive year, and up 36 percent from the year before.
The hike followed a short-lived drop in production as international and Afghan officials attempted to eradicate cultivation of the delicate plant, which produces the main ingredient used in heroin.
As most foreign troops prepare to leave by year’s end, likely followed out the door by billions in development aid, Afghanistan’s blossoming illicit trade is a reflection of many of the uncertainties ahead — as the country deals with massive unemployment, a fragile security, and the fear of losing ground on progress made in the last few years.
FULL ARTICLE (VICE)
Photo: isafmedia/flickr

Afghanistan’s Opium Economy Is Doing Better Than Ever | Alice Speri

Despite billions spent in eradication efforts, Afghanistan’s opium harvest is set to break all records this year, as one of the country’s primary agricultural activities and most profitable export trades blooms in the midst of an uncertain political and military transition.

Afghanistan produced tons of opium in 2013 — an estimated 6,062 tons in fact, — growing its output for the third consecutive year, and up 36 percent from the year before.

The hike followed a short-lived drop in production as international and Afghan officials attempted to eradicate cultivation of the delicate plant, which produces the main ingredient used in heroin.

As most foreign troops prepare to leave by year’s end, likely followed out the door by billions in development aid, Afghanistan’s blossoming illicit trade is a reflection of many of the uncertainties ahead — as the country deals with massive unemployment, a fragile security, and the fear of losing ground on progress made in the last few years.

FULL ARTICLE (VICE)

Photo: isafmedia/flickr

20 May

Graeme Smith, Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, discusses the challenges Afghanistan faces as the last of foreign troops begin to withdrawal from the country.

13 May
"A diplomatic, economic and military investment at this stage of the conflict, before insurgents gain further momentum, could prevent a costly disaster."

—Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser, on our latest report,Afghanistan’s Insurgency after the Transition

The war in Afghanistan entered a new phase in 2013. It now is increasingly a contest between the insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many within and outside the government are more optimistic about stability in the wake of a relatively successful first round of presidential elections on 5 April 2014. However, any euphoria should be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai’s successor will face in the transitional period of 2014-2015. Kabul may find these challenges difficult to overcome without significant and sustained international security, political and economic support.
FULL REPORT (crisisgroup.org)

The war in Afghanistan entered a new phase in 2013. It now is increasingly a contest between the insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many within and outside the government are more optimistic about stability in the wake of a relatively successful first round of presidential elections on 5 April 2014. However, any euphoria should be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai’s successor will face in the transitional period of 2014-2015. Kabul may find these challenges difficult to overcome without significant and sustained international security, political and economic support.

FULL REPORT (crisisgroup.org)

Next Gen Taliban

Senior Analyst Graeme Smith looks at the ways the Taliban are changing as foreign troops prepare to leave the country.

The Economy

Graeme Smith, Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, discusses the economic challenges Afghanistan faces as the last foreign troops prepare to leave.

The Donors

Graeme Smith, Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, discusses how a drop-off in foreign aid will affect Afghanistan’s security.

The Balance Sheet

As the last foreign troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, Senior Analyst Graeme Smith evaluates the security situation on the ground.