By Robert Cassidy, Modern War Institute: “For any Afghanistan strategy, the gap between theory and practice will remain vast until the full host of resources is employed to prevail upon Pakistan to stop supporting the Haqqani Network and the Taliban. ”
The Taliban and ISIS’s Afghan affiliate known as ISIS Khorasan Province (ISKP) continue to conduct regular attacks against Afghan civilians and security forces. A decade and a half after the initial U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, these insurgent groups are gaining strength at an alarming, threatening to overrun several districts in the country.
- President Donald Trump pledged a new “path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia” during his prime-time address last August, but while the president announced the U.S. would deepen its commitments to the nearly 16-year-old conflict, the president did not address troop numbers, lay out specific benchmarks for the American people to assess his strategy’s success, or clearly delineate long-term U.S. objectives in Afghanistan.
- For the last 16 plus years, the U.S. public has been left to wonder what U.S. objectives are in Afghanistan. Until precise goals are delineated by the U.S government and military, the Afghanistan quagmire leaves the U.S. with few good options.
By Seth G. Jones, CSIS: “How is the war going? And what metrics are important to gauge the state of the war? Thankfully, there is more than sufficient publicly available information to answer these questions for a war that has witnessed several recent grisly attacks—and which has evolved into a draw between the government and Taliban.”
Pakistan’s defense minister said his country is determined to retain a positive relationship with the U.S. despite President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend military aid to the nuclear-armed nation. - Bloomberg
Seth G. Jones writes: Groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State have generally orchestrated attacks in cities like Kabul for their psychological effect. These attacks, which are meant to grab local and international media attention, are often intended to cast doubt on the Afghan government’s ability to protect its population and to create an impression that insurgents are resilient—if not omnipresent. But they aren’t helpful indicators of how the war is going. - Center for Strategic & International Studies
By Charles Barham, RealClearDefense: “Unlike the U.S. led COIN campaign of 2010-2012, this emerging COIN campaign will not be the U.S. or even coalition led.”