The Blog

Afghanistan Metrics Revealed

3:04 PM, Sep 16, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Josh Rogin gets the administration document containing the various metrics they plan to use in determining their own success or failure in the war in Afpak -- and the document does indeed have metrics for both sides of the Durand Line:

The three-page paper, which is marked DRAFT but is unclassified, lays out the Obama team's priorities and also represents its response to congressional calls for more details on how the administration intends to measure progress in the region.

The draft document focuses on three main objectives: disrupting terrorist networks in Afghanistan and especially Pakistan, working to stabilize Pakistan, and working to achieve a host of political and civic goals in Afghanistan. Each objective has a list of metrics beneath it, although many of these are more goals than concrete milestones that could be measured in any factual way.

The metrics span just about every conceivable issue, including progress towards Pakistan's civilian government and judicial system becoming stable, to support for human rights, to public perceptions of security, to volume and value of narcotics.

What does it mean? Republicans aren't happy -- Rogin has that story, too, including this classic quote from McCain:

For example, the document lists as one Afghanistan metric "support from allies." "It's like that old joke ‘How's your wife?" McCain quipped. "Compared to what?"

Spencer Ackerman lays out the metrics in detail, and notes that they do not compare favorably with the metrics Congress produced for Iraq in 2006. Trying to track down a Kagan to get some additional context and will update as soon as I do.