We must be realistic in assessing our situation in Afghanistan and the prospects for the future. .America is no longer welcome by the Pakistanis and the Afghans in the region.
Without the active support of these local governments, and the people,our chances for success in applying the current counterinsurgency strategy is rapidly decreasing. Our initial purpose for invading Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban from power and to disrupt and dismantle bin Laden and al Qaeda. We certainly wanted to do everything possible to prevent a return of the then current conditions. These initial objectives have to a large degree been achieved. Bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda is scattered and leaderless. The Taliban, however, remains. Therefore the job is not yet complete. The return of radical fundamental Talibans to a position of power would not be acceptable.
Notwithstanding the outstanding gallantry of our own military, we must ask ourselves this question: How do we define the future of America’s involvement in Afghanistan ? We must reconceptualize a future vision for Afghanistan and the immediately surrounding region, and move in that direction without delay. The existing model of counterinsurgency is out of touch with facts on the ground and is faltering. History tells us, and current conditions on the ground confirm, that we should continue this campaign using counter terrorism consisting of air strikes, unmanned drone attacks, naval based missile launches, and CIA operatives and special forces pinpointing and executing local strikes and interacting with the locals both to coordinate strikes and retain intelligence advantages. An aggressive diplomatic effort directed toward assimilating more moderate elements of the Taliban into the Afghan government should be pursued. Significant troop withdrawals should be coordinated with the implementation of this new strategy.