Dealing With the Growing Afghan and U.S. Tensions That Are Losing the War

The US, its allies and Afghanistan face a war-losing crisis over the growing tensions between them. These tensions exist at many levels and on both sides. They include Afghan fears that they will be abandoned; concerns that they are subject to constant, unfair criticism by the US and its allies; anger at the way the US and ISAF fight; and a perceived disregard for their culture and religion.

They include US and allied concerns over corruption, Afghan politics, and Afghan governance. There are critical debates to come over how much aid the US and its allies will provide to the Afghan economy and forces, how long and how many troops and advisors will stay, how to manage peace negotiations, how to plan and manage the overall transition process, and every other aspect of transition.

The immediate crisis, however, is much narrower. We now face basic questions as to whether the US and ISAF can reach a workable arrangement with President Karzai and the Afghan government that allows both side to cooperate in fighting the war during the coming year and through 2014. President Karzai’s demand that US and ISAF troops quit the villages and operate from main bases is only one of a series of potentially crippling demands that reflect very real Afghan fears and concerns over the way the US and ISAF are fighting, but where the Afghan government’s current demands will rapidly lose the already limited chance of making enough military and civil progress to make a successful transition possible.

The full report is available online here.