June 29th, 2010
03:24 PM ET

Success in Afghanistan? Not by 2011

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.

Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Taliban
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Rakesh Sharma

    Well, it's a tedious question to answer but anyway the way Mr. Obama is moving, it's possible to some extent. If the US led troops are not pulled out as Mr. Obama said earlier then it's not that HE is a failure but HIS approach is justified as HE took over lately as the US Prez whereas the war was continuing years before HIS arrival.

    July 18, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chris Anderlik

    END THIS WAR! We cannot win! Even if we did, what is a victory there–we have nothing to gain! We want our troops to come home whole –not their dead or wounded bodies!

    July 5, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ronvan

    An interesting question but in reality stupid! This is a political war with our brave military being nothing more than cannon fodder for our "elected children". I would be speechless if our troops came home in 2011, even though I pray they would come home even sooner. This is a loosing situation period!

    June 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Afghan Empire

    Our Response is clear and that is whether we let them to be here or not? the answer is clear We are going to finish them before the due date and no one will return back. 100 killed just by June; there are more lessons remained to learn. We want not to be killed and not to kill anyone else.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. In Kabul

    It will take an Afghan solution for the NATO troops to come home. The Afghan Police and Army will have to stand up and provide security for the people of Afghanistan.

    My headquarters, NAto Training Mission -Afghanistan is rtraining those forces. We've made progress but we have a long way to go. You can read more at ( http://www.NTM-A.com )

    June 30, 2010 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |

      Are you sure that will happen?The Afghan Army and Police are motivated by their pay whereas the Taliban are motivated by their religious beliefs and the American taxpayer will have to shell out a great deal more money in order to succeed and that will be a great detriment to the U.S.economy.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hossain rahimi


    June 30, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mason Mehring

    Who needs to be successful when you can brown nose like me. I'm the king of brown nosers. mason.mehring@corelinksolutions.com

    June 29, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Smith in Oregon

    If Congress had the courage to pass an appropriation bill which cut the funding for the War and Occupation in Afghanistan, that would pressure the Pentagon to withdraw the US Military from Afghanistan as Congress did previously with the Viet Nam War many years ago.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Onesmallvoice

      Very well put,Smith in Oregon,but there are still too many right-wing thugs in Congress to let that happen.Too many of them are both bought and paid for and that's the problem!

      June 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra


      June 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David Sims

    Who said U.S Troops are leaving July 2011 ?
    Obama said and you believed it ?
    You should remember the word of POLITICS !

    U.S Troops will be in Afghanistan at least for another 10 years. you won't believe me but it's true. You will see it after July 2011 😉

    Enjoy Mates

    June 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |