November 12th, 2010
05:20 PM ET

Draw down U.S. troops if Afghanistan progress lags, panel recommends

The United States should consider drastically cutting the number of troops in Afghanistan unless the current strategy starts to show signs of progress, a new report says.

The 98-page independent task force report, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, also says the United States should invest in a long-term partnership with Pakistan, but only if Pakistan takes action against all
terrorist organizations.

The report encompasses analysis and recommendations on U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan from a 25-member bipartisan task force composed of high-profile military and national security experts. It was chaired by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former National Security Adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger.

The group "conditionally" endorses the current U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including plans for a conditions-based military drawdown in July 2011, but warns that America "cannot afford to continue down this costly path"
without the potential for lasting progress.

At a news conference Friday discussing the report, Armitage, who served as deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush, was critical of his former boss.

"After acknowledging that President Obama got a bad lie from the Bush administration regarding Afghanistan, we do salute his attempt at the surge to rectify the situation," Armitage said.

But Armitage emphasized that Obama needs to have a "very deep, clear-eyed review of the situation," and that if "real progress is not deemed to have been made, a majority of us suggest that we change the mission to a much different mission, one of counterterror and continued training of the Afghan National Security Forces."

Regarding Pakistan, Armitage said the government there needs to do a better job pursuing and disabling Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, in the same way that it worries about the Pakistani Taliban.

"If we can't be successful in either jaw-boning, pressuring, or 'sticks-and-carroting' them into this (fighting the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba), then in the long run we are dealing with a very dangerous
situation," he warned.

The independent report, titled "U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan," precedes the Obama administration's planned review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, due in December.

The task force panel asks whether the "cloudy picture and high costs" should push the United States to "downsize its ambitions and reduce its military presence in Afghanistan."

"After nine years of U.S. war in the region, time and patience are understandably short," the report reads, acknowledging America's huge budget deficits and sluggish economic recovery.

The task force recommendations for Afghanistan include, among others, shifting a greater burden of that country's security to Afghan forces, and encouraging political reform, national reconciliation, and regional diplomacy.

Regarding Pakistan, the panel recommends that the United States maintain existing levels of economic and technical assistance for reconstruction efforts after that country's devastating summer floods, and expanding training and equipment for police, paramilitaries, and the Pakistani army.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Dindy.....


    November 16, 2010 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Don

    I am opposed to both legal and illegal immigration. This country is overpopulated, and 21 million Americans are out of work.

    November 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    NANGAHAR, Nov. 13 – More than 37 US invaders and 35 puppets were killed with 9 US attack helicopters and 2 unmanned aerial vehicles or drones destroyed in a large scale attack carried out by Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate on Jalalabad airbase early Saturday morning at around 6:00 am, Zabihullah Mujaid reported from the area.

    According to the details, a group of 14 martyr-seeking Mujahideen equipped with heavy and small arms and explosives vests rocked the airbase. Witnesses told Zabhullah Mujahid that Mujahideen divided into different group some of them kept attacking the enemy outside the airbase, while the others carried attacks using heavy and small fire drawing the enemy into firefight and conducted martyrdom attacks targeting the US invaders and Afghan cowardly soldiers inside the airfield, however one group of Mujahideen began targeting the helicopters and the fighter jets.

    As many as 37 US invaders were killed and 35 Afghan cowardly soldiers were killed or wounded during the face-to-face fighting and martyrdom operations, while 7 of the enemy trained dogs were killed.

    11 of the group of 14 martyrdom-seeking Mujahideen became martyrs carrying martyr attack on the enemy and in gubattles, whereas 3 Mujahideen have made a safe return.

    November 15, 2010 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      That sounds a little too good to br true Eric,but if it is we just just find a way out of there yet. Thanks for the ray of hope.

      November 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe


        November 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dindy.....

    Hills are a great creation of God !!! we also have them . But feeling sorry for this girl dancing with a gun. why you call you are so powerful? when USSR invade you guys .....didnt you get help from USA ? Please come out of Opium.

    November 15, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dindy.....

    Dan in Lafayette , in.....
    US is still super power. They have helped a lot to the world in every way. To help others God has given them abundantly.
    On 9/11 the whole earth felt the sadness even in heaven .Yet some people in Iraq danced on the street. Later on.. their regime was toppled. God punished. Today Pakistan army is taking care of the rest with all other help. Focus on that brother and praise Lord every day for the peace Lord going to give Us, Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, and Pakistan. Do not believe the one who collects intelligence and spread the propaganda of Al-qeada and Pakistan Taliban.
    God has seen everything Alquada and Taliban has done all these years. If god is so merciless he should have punished Abraham first as he had a baby from a slave girl. He did not wait till Sara give his baby. God is merciful after destroying Gamora and Sadom and he promised that he will not destroy like that again and to remember that promise he has kept the rainbow. These people (Alqaeda, Taliban and their supporters are not the way of God. (No mercy)
    yet God is powerful than them who are not really 360 the way they talk. They are only murderers. Nothing else.

    November 15, 2010 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Jesus the Lord said it is not what you put in your mouth that matters but what comes out of it that you will be judged by!

    November 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. unshackled

    LOL, you made my day, a day dreamer of a frustrated jihadi with no place to hide.

    November 14, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. unshackled

    Enough of 360 degree crap, first demonstrate it by practice before others even consider its viability. The world as we know have no patience with the evil affect of that crap. You cannot even make it work and expect others to take you serious you imbecile. Meanwhile Drone is hovering round you to take care of the retards like you. You do not have any right to criticize others when you have none to demonstrate with your vile ideas.

    November 14, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      Height of expectation, "SLEEPING UNDER A BANANA TREE, EXPECTING FOR EARTHQUAKE TO HAPPEN". Dream on, except for vile ideas and stale thoughts you have nothing to prove. You swine headed imbecile.

      November 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      HINDUISM is GREAT, you need to have brain to understand you silly pin head. It is SANATAN ans as such timeless.

      November 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • unshackled

        You deserve a special place, I would imagine a 6 by 6 pit full of sw1ne, all 72 of them real virgin for you to enjoy. By the way it will be hermetically sealed, do not ask me what it will be fed with. That should be your jannat in this life. How dare you comment about others whom you do not have faintest knowledge. Is this the way you market your ideas? Shame on you with your vile ideas.

        November 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel-2

    Well put,Amrullah. Thank you.

    November 14, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      And I totally agree!

      November 14, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe


      November 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    You talk nothing but gibberish, they should try different medicine for you. Even if God could understand you He would tell you that you are the racist and the one who holds so much hatred within your heart! YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE LOVE OF GOD!

    November 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. neel123

    The Pakistani ISI have brain washed the Pakhtun Afghan Taliban that the NATO forces are infidels invading a muslim land, and at the same time preach that American withdrawal to be good for the region. However this double game comes with a heavy price that Pakistan is paying and will pay for the foreseeable future.

    The Pakhtuns hate the Pakistanis and will kick Pakistan's ass when the time is right.

    November 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      And your not a racists towards India or hold no hatred towards the people of India? Or the Gentiles? This is not the way of Jesus!

      November 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |


      November 15, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        Bridge to hell....

        November 16, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |

    Presence of US forces on Afghan soil is in itself a problem therefore sooner the USA is out of Afghanistan the better it is for USA and entire world provided UNO in accordance with UN charter replace NATO and then through assistance of neutral states, manage security, reconciliations among Afghans and reconstruction of Afghanistan. USA in this way can bestly heal the wounds inflicted during last three decades in this region, by contributing even half of the billions of dollars, being spent today on killing of Afghans and Pakistanis in war on terror, towards reconstruction of public sector of Afghanistan and Pakistan. So pack up,and give UN a chance to put the things on right track.

    November 13, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dindy.....

    May God help to improve peace talk between Karzai and Taliban and both together able to serve their people in Afghanistan!! Also May God help our troops to end their mission and return Home safely!!! Amen!!

    November 13, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • njt320

      Amen !!!!

      November 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • njt320

      That was AMEN to Dindy's prayer!

      November 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    How about if I call all of Islam extreme radicals who are intolerant of others beliefs. Do you think Islam would appreciate it?

    November 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. USMC Forever

    What we need to do is to get the Karzai regime and the Taliban together and to settle their differences. NATO has no business fighting that war and the right-wing thugs in Washington know that already!

    November 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      USMC Forever.........
      Pray for it .

      November 15, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  16. neel123

    The muslim barbarians like yourself, that are "cancers" on earth, are getting killed in hundreds every week. It is good for humanity that religious intolerance, barbarism and terrorism of the muslims is receiving divine justice.

    This is GOD's way of cleansing the world ....... !

    November 12, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Riza Afghan

    Pakistan greedy b@stards needs $ only.
    They have no religion, $ is their religion.

    They don't care how many innocents dying everyday in Afghanistan.
    The most dangerous extremist country is Pakistan.

    1st is Pakistan and 2nd is Saudi Arabia who is supporting Terrorist organizations secretly.

    November 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Change

      The problem is religion should be separate from the government. That is the challenge in the Mulsim world.

      Freedom means allowing people to have the freedom to choose thier religion. Don't you want freedom from your government?

      November 15, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Riza Afghan.... But the Taliban in your country are against US in your country and all the Aid workers. Now US has to fight Taliban and AL -QAEDA both. So it is better if Pakistan can support and it seems they are supporting to defeat Al qaeda.

      November 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      You too.

      November 16, 2010 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |