Worth a close read.
A handy rule of strategy-making is to first list the assumptions that undergird the strategy’s logic and to identify any risks that might interfere with those assumptions. And this document attempts to do just that. With violence in Afghanistan just as high as it was before the “surge” (if not higher – the Department of Defense decided to stop releasing information on enemy-initiated attacks), the American taxpayer could reasonably expect a candid re-assessment of the assumptions that have guided American strategy in the Hindu Kush in recent years. The analyst could hope for at least a partial departure from the narrative, now resembling Swiss cheese, that we are leaving Afghanistan a more stable and secure place. Both the taxpayer and the analyst in me are disappointed.
Some of the ten assumptions listed are highly problematic – dangerous even – which undermines the entire strategy.
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The assumptions are followed by a “risks” section, which numbers fewer than 200 words in an 8000 word strategy document.
Phi Beta Iota: The US has always lacked — and continues to lack — intelligence with integrity in relation to Afghanistan, its contiguous neighbors, and all of the non-ISAF powers that have invested in the post-2014 Afghanistan. Only one analyst months ago “got” that the BSA would not be signed — that analyst was not listened to. Consequently, the USA not only has no clue how 2014 and beyond are going to go, it has no plan for coping with its abject failure and growing irrelevance in the region.