Training Afghan soldiers in Kandahar
Training Afghan soldiers in Kandahar

Dr. Jeffrey D. McCausland Gives Briefing on Afghanistan

Nov 12, 2009

"Afghanistan makes Iraq look easy," said Dr. Jeffrey McCausland at a recent private Carnegie Council briefing. There is consensus that Afghanistan is the most urgent foreign policy challenge facing the United States.

As the Obama administration continues to deliberate on whether to send more troops, Dr. McCausland began by laying out the U.S. options:

  1. Leave altogether.
  2. Adopt a limited counterterrorism strategy focused on destroying al-Qaeda.
  3. Opt for the counterinsurgency strategy proposed by General McChrystal: send in more U.S. forces in an effort to not only defeat al-Qaeda but also the Taliban, and help create a stable nation that can, over time, protect itself. If we take this option, what are the costs and how long will we have to stay?

Dr. McCausland's thorough and objective briefing, illustrated with slides from CENTCOM, is now available to the general public on the Carnegie Council website.

The briefing provides a clear summary of the situation on the ground, including the fraught situation with Pakistan, relationships with NATO allies and their commitment to the military and reconstruction efforts, and the challenges of training Afghan troops and police forces.

In a paper written for the Carnegie Council this summer, Dr. McCausland wrote that Afghanistan is now truly "Obama's war." The events of the intervening months underscore this assessment. It is crucial for his presidency that he get it right.

Dr. Jeffrey McCausland is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council and Visiting Professor of International Law and Diplomacy at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law at Carlisle, PA. He has been a frequent commentator on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for CBS since early 2003.

This briefing was part of the Carnegie Council's U.S. Global Engagement Program.

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