by Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations
Text: http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/afghan-national-security-forces-resources-strategy-timetable-security-lead-transition/p28649 (click download pdf)
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor
In recent congressional testimony, Council on foreign Relations Senior Fellow Max Boot urged lawmakers to stay the course in Afghanistan by supporting the Afghan National Security Forces and maintaining U.S. forces "in country" for the foreseeable future.
Boot acknowledged that the Afghan Security Forces are growing in size and capability, but criticized Obama administration spokesmen for providing an "overly sanguine" view of the abilities of those forces. Afghan forces, he explained, command the northern and western regions of the country, but U.S. troops are still in command in the east and south. Moreover, Afghan forces continue to rely on the U. S. for surveillance, logistics, planning, air support, and many other crucial functions.
Boot stated that the U.S. plays a vital role in preventing a Taliban takeover of the country or a civil war. He urged lawmakers to continue to provide $6 billion annually to Afghan forces and to maintain U.S. troop levels of 23,000 to 35,000 at least until the end of 2014. He warned that if the Taliban returns to power, the U.S. will suffer a "geopolitical disaster."
As the nation commemorates another anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks which were planned and launched from Afghanistan, Boot's testimony reminds us that our brave troops have been fighting and dying there for 11 years, yet two presidents have been unable to translate their efforts into a foreign policy success. War, Clausewitz wrote, is violence directed to a political end. The "political end" in Afghanistan remains elusive.