by Gilles Dorronsoro
CIPS Working Paper, July 2009

  • Even with the addition of more US troops this year, there has been a startling lack of strategic innovation in the Afghanistan mission.
  • Outsiders have failed to understand the country’s political and social dynamics. The Taliban is a predominantly indigenous phenomenon in Afghanistan, and the presence of NATO troops is fueling the insurgency.
  • There is very limited time to change the dynamics of the conflict. NATO should focus on redeploying its forces to the cities and to more stable areas of the country where it has a chance of making a difference, as a step towards eventual NATO withdrawal.
  • More attention should be paid to strengthening the central government of Afghanistan rather than reinforcing the periphery.

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Gilles Dorronsoro is a Professor of Political Science at the Institut d’études politiques in Rennes, France, and Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

This publication is part of the project on Afghanistan: Can a Sustainable Outcome Be Achieved?