23 November 2009

Afghanistan: Strategy Options

Today’s NY Times contains a good summary of the three main options that President Obama continues to debate for the way ahead in Afghanistan (see full article here). The graphic above describes the outlines of each one pretty well. The latest analysis from those with inside knowledge concludes that we’re not likely to get a final decision from Obama until after Thanksgiving, as he continues to try to rally support within NATO (for more on this, see JD’s earlier post here).

The only point I wanted to highlight was the similarities between the “40,000 option” and the plan proposed by Fred and Kim Kagan back in September in their joint study. You can the read the full report here. Both authors (a pretty influential husband and wife team) were part of GEN McChrystal’s policy review last summer, so their more detailed report offers a good idea of how the additional forces will be used (and where they are likely to be focused). Fred Kagan's plan for the Iraq surge in 2006-07, written for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), pretty much served as the backbone of Petraeus' campaign plan at the time, and I have a feeling that the Kagans' Afghanistan plan will do the same here in the upcoming weeks/months.

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