In congressional testimony, Carnegie Endowment scholar Ashley Tellis blasts the Obama administration for setting deadlines for withdrawal from Afghanistan and offers policy recommendations:

  • Forget reconciliation: The United States should stop emphasizing talks with the Quetta shura and the Haqqani network as the solution to Afghanistan’s problems. The insurgency has virtually no incentive to negotiate when its adversaries are headed for the exit.
  • Postpone the withdrawal of U.S. forces: Washington should delay the withdrawal of surge troops beyond 2012 to consolidate security gains in the south and east.
  • Expand supply networks: As a hedge against continued reliance on Pakistan, the United States should expand its network of air and ground lines into Afghanistan.
  • Secure basing rights: The United States should ensure that the strategic partnership agreement currently being negotiated with Kabul provides sufficient U.S. basing rights to conduct counterterrorism operations and support the Afghan National Security Forces over the long term.
Tellis also offers recommendations for Pakistan here.
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