Assessing the Afghan-Pakistani Conflict (CSIS Report by Anthony H. Cordesman)

‘One of the most critical, and perhaps fatal, flaws in unclassified governmental, UN, JCMB, and NATO/ISAF reporting on the war is that it focuses on part of the conflict, not the entire struggle, and often effectively pretends that Pakistan and Al Qa’ida do not exist.’

The Afghan conflict is not a forgotten war, but it has received far less attention than the conflict in Iraq, at least in terms of measures of progress and of the effectiveness of US, NATO, and allied military and aid efforts. The attached briefing is one of two briefings highlights the critical problems in US government, allied government, NATO, Afghan compact, and UN reporting…

One of the striking aspects of this report, is the sheer lack of useful or meaningful unclassified reporting by the US and other governments, NATO/ISAF, JCMB, and the UN. While the US domestic political debate over the Iraq War has gradually forced the US government to provide useful metrics in terms of progress in the fighting, the nature of violence and civil conflict, the impact of aid to governance, the local economy, and local forces, similar reporting does not exist on Afghanistan.

As the attached report makes all too clear, many key issues and developments are ignored, and a large percentage of unclassified reporting lacks credibility or is deliberately misleading propaganda. No government or international body discussed in this report emerges as trustworthy in terms of its integrity or willingness to honestly address the progress of the war, key aspects of the aid effort, the competence of the Afghan government and Afghan forces, or the level of time, effort, and patience necessary to win…

The report makes specific suggestions as to how to provide adequate reporting, and the kind of measures of effectiveness that would be useful. It does, however, focus on the fighting in Afghanistan and not on the broader and more important issue of how to address the fact that the Afghan conflict is really an Afghan-Pakistan conflict that is so intimately linked to Al Qa’ida’s core operations that it cannot be separated from the war on terrorism. One of the most critical, and perhaps fatal, flaws in unclassified governmental, UN, JCMB, and NATO/ISAF reporting on the war is that it focuses on part of the conflict, not the entire struggle, and often effectively pretends that Pakistan and Al Qa’ida do not exist…

Assessing the Afghan-Pakistani Conflict (Synopsis CSIS Report by Anthony H. Cordesman)

CSIS Report by Anthony H. Cordesman)

Never having adequately explained to their publics the goals that their troops are helping to accomplish, most political elites in Europe are under enormous pressure to bring their troops home just at a time when greater support is needed. That said, some allies, such as the Dutch, the British, and the Canadians, have continued to make sizeable contributions on the ground, despite mounting public opposition…

Critical Questions: NATO in Afghanistan (Julianne Smith/CSIS)

Saving Afghanistan (in CSIS Global Forecast)

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