One of the main themes of the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy is a "population focus." It is supposed to help install Afghan civil administration and security forces and leave them to maintain security and practically assist the population. To make this possible, Afghan security force numbers are to be raised to 400,000 and Afghan government legitimacy, responsiveness and accountability are to be boosted.
Unfortunately, none of this is going to happen by 2011. Success requires more time and political action than backers have been prepared to contemplate. Taliban fighters keep on popping up, making good their losses and adapting to the International Security Assistance Force campaign.
In the face of a resilient insurgency, U.S. and Afghan timelines do not match.
Read the full commentary from Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
The leader of a powerful House subcommittee has said she will withhold billions of dollars in aid to Afghanistan because of allegations of corruption.
Rep. Nita Lowey of New York said she will quit approving aid in next year's spending bill. The bill, called Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Act, is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday.
"I do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to Afghanistan until I have confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists," Lowey, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday. FULL POST
[Update 3 p.m. ET] The Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday approved the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the top commander in Afghanistan. The nomination now heads to the full Senate.
(CNN) - The planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, along with with concerns over the progress of the counterinsurgency plan in a country described as a place "where empires go to die," will be front and center at Gen. David Petraeus' confirmation hearings Tuesday. FULL POST
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, removed last week as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has told the Army he will retire, Army spokesman Gary Tallman said Monday.
No date was set for the retirement of McChrystal, a four-star general who assumed command of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan last year.
Meanwhile, a new USA Today/Gallup survey shows that a majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's decision to remove McChrystal.