ISAF, NATO and the Quest for Stability in Afghanistan
NATO’s ISAF is entering a critical phase. The arrival of the Obama Administration and the crafting of the AFPAK strategy affords the NATO mission in Afghanistan four vital new departures: a balanced regional strategy that considers Afghanistan and Pakistan; a more coherent overall strategy, an audit of effect in Afghanistan; and an all-important new approach to political reconciliation. Hitherto ISAF has been Afghanistan-lite. The new effort will help to ease that in the short-term but will only bear fruit if the three strategic phases envisaged in planning (security by end 2011, Afghan capacity building by end 2014 and Afghan civil primacy by end 2017) are bound together by a strategic campaign plan worthy of the name, that includes Asian partners first and foremost and an enhanced role for the UN.
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