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Afghanistan

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Principles for an Afghanistan Strategy

Afghanistan
When the Obama Administration began a 60-day review of its Afghanistan strategy, a diverse group of progressive experts in development, counter-terrorism, regional politics and US politics came together to advise NSN on a set of principles that might guide both the Administration in building a new strategy and advocates in Congress, the media and the public in judging a proposed strategy. We begin from the premise that the situation in the United States, and the history and dynamics of the region, require a sharp differentiation between objectives that we might like to achieve and a baseline of what must be achieved for our national interests and our moral obligations – to our military, our citizens and the people of Afghanistan.
Read the full paper: The Progressive Approach: Afghanistan »

Afghanistan

Maintaining Focus on Strategy is the Real Challenge in Marja

Report 3 March 2010
After more than two weeks of operations, the military offensive in Marja has begun to wind down.  The coalition of American, international and Afghan forces appears to have succeeded in its initial goal of seizing territory from the Taliban, a first step in the larger effort to constrain the insurgency's movement and limit its effectiveness.  At the same time, the first phase of the operation has introduced and exposed new challenges, including significant civilian displacement and humanitarian issues as well as problems with the professionalism of Afghan security forces. 
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Afghanistan

New Challenges Emerge in Afghanistan

Report 6 January 2010
The last few weeks have highlighted significant obstacles to the Administration's efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  President Karzai, whose rule is already overshadowed by widespread allegations of corruption and vote-tampering, has encountered new difficulties in working with the Afghan Parliament. The President and his team must maintain focus, holding the Afghan government, and more importantly itself, accountable, creating the conditions for a transition away from a large-scale military presence, and resisting the calls for limitless commitment that Al Qaeda is happy to promote.
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Afghanistan

Conservatives Posture on Afghanistan While Progressives Push Ahead

Report 11 December 2009
President Obama’s Afghanistan decision was met by support from both the military and the American people, and also found broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. During congressional testimony, our military commanders as well as our ambassador to Afghanistan made clear that they stood by the President’s strategy and decision. The decision by President Obama was undertaken with pragmatic care and methodical patience, and the next challenge is to address the tough questions related to the implementation of the plan. These issues were addressed in detail this week on Capitol Hill by General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and Ambassador Eikenberry.
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Afghanistan

Conservatives Forget Legacy of Failure in Afghanistan

Report 8 December 2009
With General Stanley McChrystal and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry testifying before Congress on Afghanistan, and with Secretary Gates in Kabul on a surprise visit, it is worth remembering how the U.S. arrived at this juncture. An initial victory over the Taliban in 2001 was squandered, as the Bush administration, aided by the Rumsfeld Pentagon, drastically underestimated the commitment that would be needed to stabilize the country and lost al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora.  Now that the Obama administration has set out with a strategy that addresses this deterioration, it is vital that it learn from past missteps.  Going forward, it must maintain focus on its core objectives, with an eye toward accountability and continuous evaluation.
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Afghanistan

Why Feminists Love the Surge

News 5 December 2009
Afghanistan

Conservatives’ Surging Politicization on Afghanistan and Pakistan

Report 3 December 2009
Yesterday, the Obama administration took its strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to Congress. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen began the task of explaining the Administration’s strategy to America’s elected officials. For the sake of the strategy’s integrity, and in order to make certain that the Administration remains focused on its core objectives, it is vital that Congress ask the tough questions, and maintain vigilant oversight.
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Afghanistan

With Conservatives Clamoring for Endless War, Obama Hones in on Core Goals

Report 2 December 2009
Last night, before an audience of cadets at West Point, President Obama brought months of deliberate review to a close by announcing a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He outlined America’s ultimate goal: “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.”  More importantly, the administration must hold itself accountable, communicating its progress to Congress and the American people, and remaining true to the President’s pledge that “that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.”
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Afghanistan

Not Troops, but a Strategy

Report 1 December 2009
After months of deliberations, the President has reportedly issued the orders that will deploy 34,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the course of the next year. But, as progressives have been arguing for months, and top Administration officials have recognized, no strategy for Afghanistan will succeed with a focus on troop numbers alone. The Administration must back these deployments with a strategy that lays out clear objectives in accordance with U.S. interests, spelling out the essential duties of U.S. military and civilian personnel, and how those duties fit within the broader effort to secure the main U.S. strategic objectives.
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Afghanistan

Gen. Eaton Comments on Obama's Afghanistan Decision

Press Release Washington DC 1 December 2009
Today, Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), the National Security Network's Senior Adviser, released the following statement examining President Obama's impending speech on Afghanistan:
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Afghanistan

Memo to the Community: The President’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Strategy: Setting the Strategic Parameters

Report 30 November 2009
Tuesday night, President Obama will lay out his Administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Media attention continues to focus on troop numbers and tactical debate over elements of counter-insurgency strategy. The president’s political opponents, meanwhile, will seek to portray the strategy as dead on arrival if it does not mention “victory” enough times or if it sets out benchmarks toward an eventual end state to American involvement
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