The Council on Foreign Relations has released a 98-page independent report that recommends drastically reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan unless signs of progress soon emerge. The report titled “U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan” is the product of a 25-member independent task force composed of military and national security experts. Richard Armitage, co-chair of the report and former Deputy Secretary of State, stressed that regional cooperation was essential, and that “” The report recommends only investing in a long-term relationship with Pakistan if the state makes greater efforts against terrorism.
The timing of the report’s issue is significant, considering that the Obam
a Administration has plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan this coming December. This report may be a critical piece of that review, especially as the report praised President Obama’s efforts in Afghanistan: “After acknowledging that President Obama got a bad lie from the Bush administration regarding Afghanistan, we do salute his attempt at the surge to rectify the situation.”
But the report asks the Obama Administration to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the war. Admirable as the Obama Administration’s efforts may have been from the start, there may come a point where the costs of the war are too great to justify smaller strategic gains. The cost-benefit analysis of the report channels the remarks of David Kilcullen, high-profile consultant on counterinsurgency, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year.