Coalition Joint Operations Strategy Scaled Back in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Charles Woodson #24 of the Oakland Raiders signs an autograph for a member of the U.S. Army prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Coliseum on December 7, 2014 (Thearon W. Henderson / Stringer/Getty)

Since the drawdown of troops began last summer, the American mission in Afghanistan has been clear: train Afghan troops. But after a string of deadly attacks on NATO personnel by rogue Afghan security forces, that mission, at least temporarily, has changed. U.S.-led coalition troops have been ordered to no longer work “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Afghan forces. 

Fotini Christia, an assistant professor in political science at MIT, calls this violence and its consequences "one of the biggest setbacks the coalition has faced to date in terms of our exit strategy."

Lucy Morgan Edwards, a former political adviser to the E.U. ambassador in Afghanistan and author of "The Afghan Solution," attributes the failures of our strategy in part to the fact that it relies upon warlord allies who might otherwise have been indicted for their crimes against the Afghan people. "We have a very unpopular set of allies currently in government there in Afghanistan." 

In Christia's words, "Now basically we're faced with a Frankenstein institution that we've built, something really large that we cannot control." The fact that the United States is no longer planning on working with the people that we have already armed is an alarming development.

"Unless we continue giving money and aid, we're going to see a similar situation like what we saw after the Soviet withdrawal: When the money stopped, we saw the overthrow of the government. That's my fear."


Fotini Christia and Lucy Morgan Edwards

Produced by:

Maggie Penman and Jen Poyant

Comments [1]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

You ever get the feeling that no matter what is done or attempted in certain regions of the world, there are people always willing to screw it up.

Sep. 19 2012 09:34 AM

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