Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2010

U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan

Richard L. Armitage, Samuel R. Berger

November 2010

Council on Foreign Relations


Ahead of President Obama’s December review of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)-sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan finds that the current approach to the region is at a critical point. “We are mindful of the real threat we face. But we are also aware of the costs of the present strategy. We cannot accept these costs unless the strategy begins to show signs of progress,” says the Task Force. While the Task Force offers a qualified endorsement of the current U.S. effort in Afghanistan, including plans to begin a conditions-based military drawdown in July 2011, the Obama administration’s upcoming December 2010 review should be “a clear-eyed assessment of whether there is sufficient overall progress to conclude that the strategy is working.” If not, the report argues that “a more significant drawdown to a narrower military mission would be warranted.”