On September 15, the board of the Council for a Livable World and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation endorsed the August 16th report from the Afghanistan Study Group. The report, entitled: A New Way Forward—Rethinking the U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan, argues that the current U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is not vitally essential to U.S. national security, ensnares U.S. forces in a civil war, has costs of over $100 billion a year to counter an al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan of less than 100 members and is counter-productive to regional stability.
The report calls for a recalibration of U.S. strategy by focusing on the following five recommendations:
1. Emphasize power sharing and inclusion: The report calls for a “fast track” peace process built on decentralized governance and power sharing among key groups.
2. Downsize and eventually end military operations in Southern Afghanistan, and reduce the U.S. military footprint: The report argues that the U.S. presence radicalizes many Afghans and suggests a diminished troop presence there could yield significant security benefits.
3.Focus security efforts on Al Qaeda and domestic security: The report calls for increased capability to target Al Qaeda operatives and other terrorist organizations.
4.Encourage economic development: The report promotes economic development as a safeguard against increased international terrorism and drug trafficking, arguing that failed states are incubators for terrorism.
5. Encourage regional stakeholders: The report calls for a multi-state diplomatic effort to promote Afghan neutrality and regional stability.
Please read the Afghanistan Study Group Report as well as the Council for a Livable World and Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s own statement on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and share it with others.