Posted by Dave Kilcullen on February 9, 2009 12:53 PM
(This is an edited version of my statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan, chaired by Senator John F. Kerry, on 5th February 2009).
Senator Joseph Lieberman made a timely and well-argued call, during his recent speech at the Brookings Institution, for a comprehensive political-military campaign in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AFPAK) region. Seven years into a long war, we need to be honest with ourselves about the harsh strategic choices we face...
Long-Term Strategic Options
We need to do four things – what we might call “essential strategic tasks” – to succeed in Afghanistan. We need to prevent the re-emergence of an Al Qaeda sanctuary that could lead to another 9/11. We need to protect Afghanistan from a range of security threats including the Taliban insurgency, terrorism, narcotics, misrule and corruption. We need to build sustainable and accountable state institutions (at the central, provincial and local level) and a resilient civil society. Then we can begin a phased hand-off to Afghan institutions that can survive without permanent international assistance. We might summarize this approach as “Prevent, Protect, Build, Hand-Off”. Let’s call it “Option A”.