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Success Against Al Qaeda Depends on Success in Afghanistan

12:15 PM, Jun 19, 2011 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN and KIMBERLY KAGAN
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Where did the helicopter assault force that killed bin Laden launch from? Afghanistan. That is a location that will become even more important now that Pakistan has publicly expelled both the CIA and Special Forces operatives who were working against al Qaeda and working with the Pakistani counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism forces themselves. If the U.S. loses its Afghan bases, as well as its position in Pakistan, the president’s ability to continue the struggle against al Qaeda will be severely degraded.

There is a direct connection between American and international efforts in Afghanistan and the successes we have had against al Qaeda in Pakistan. Any rationalization that relies on separating those two undertakings is, in fact, misinformed and dangerous. Counter-terrorism in Pakistan cannot be separated from the success of the current counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan. 

Frederick W. Kagan is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and director of its Critical Threats Project. Kimberly Kagan is president of the Institute for the Study of War.

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