The United States completed its withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, marking the conclusion of two decades of war. The end of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, however, is a class reason to focus on the lessons of this war. There needs to be an objective and detailed effort to examine the civil and military lessons that have emerged from the entire history of the war.
The Emeritus Chair in Strategy at CSIS has assembled an archive of metrics examining the U.S. war in Afghanistan that covers the periods of 2002 to 2019, entitled, The Afghanistan Archives: Key Metrics from 2002-2019
Much of this data is uncertain and lacking in transparency. It does, however, provide a source of maps, graphs, and trend analyses that cover many key developments, which often were never reported in open-source narrative briefings and reports. Some data were released to provide “spin” and for public relations purposes, but many others reflect “best efforts” to portray the course of the war and key developments.
The user should be aware that the sources shown are the original source data, and that we have no additional data on how they were generated or defined, although some are explained in part as written in earlier Burke Chair reports. The user must accept that the data is in the form of an “as is” basis.
The archive includes the following metrics:
The Afghan-Pakistan War: A Status Report: 2002-2009
Afghanistan: Shaping 2010
"Shape, Clear, Hold, Build, and Transfer:” The Metrics of the Afghan War
Shaping the War in Afghanistan: The Situation in the Spring of 2010
The Failures That Shaped (and Almost Lost) the Afghan War: Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part One
Transitioning to a New Strategy: 2009-2010: Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part Two
The Key Ongoing Challenges that Help shape the Outcome of the War: Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part Three
Can the Civil Side of “Hold, Build, and Transition” Succeed?: Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part Four
Can Afghan Forces Be Effective in Transition?: Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part Five
Afghanistan and the Uncertain Metrics of Progress: Part Six: Victory is Possible But “Fragile and Reversible”
The Afghanistan-Pakistan War at the End of 2011: Strategic Failure? Talk Without Hope? Tactical Success? Spend Not Build (And Then Stop Spending)?
Transition in the Afghanistan-Pakistan War and the Uncertain Role of the “Great Powers”
Afghanistan: The Failed Metrics of Ten Years of War
The Afghan War in 2013: Meeting the Challenges of Transition
Afghanistan: Transition, Governance, and Resources
Afghanistan: The Uncertain Impact of a Year of Transition
The Afghan War: Key Developments and Metrics
Win, Hold, Fold, or Run?: Afghanistan in the Spring of 2019
Afghanistan: A War in Crisis!
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Emeritus Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He has served as a consultant on Afghanistan to the United States Department of Defense and the United States Department of State.