Tell Me Why We’re There?
Enduring Interests in Afghanistan (and Pakistan)

By Nathaniel C. Fick, Dave J. Kilcullen, John A.Nagl, Vikram J. Singh

In 2009, the Obama administration will attempt
to deliver on campaign promises to change the
Afghan war’s trajectory. In April, the Strasbourg
NATO summit will determine the alliance’s role in
shaping the future of the country and the region. By
the fall, Afghans will have voted for their president
for only the second time since 2001, an event which
may irrevocably set the country’s course. By the
end of this summer’s fighting season, the war in
Afghanistan will not yet be won, but it could well
be lost.


After seven years and the deaths of more than a
thousand American and coalition troops, there
is still no consensus on whether the future of
Afghanistan matters to the United States and
Europe, or on what can realistically be achieved


Afghanistan does matter. A stable Afghanistan is
necessary to defeat Al Qaeda and to further stability
in South and Central Asia. Understanding the
war in Afghanistan, maintaining domestic and
international support for it, and prosecuting it
well requires three things: a clear articulation of
U.S. interests in Afghanistan, a concise definition
of what the coalition seeks to achieve there, and a
detailed strategy to guide the effort.

アフガニスタンはまさに問題なのである。安定したアフガニスタンアルカイダを負かし、その上、アジアの南と中央の安定に必要である。アフガニスタンの戦争を理解する事、国内的にも国際的にもサポートする事、うまく推進する事には、三つの事が必要である: アメリカの明瞭ではっきりとした、アフガニスタンにおける利益。そこで何が成し遂げようとされているかの簡明な定義。努力をガイドする詳細な作戦--である

U.S. interests in Afghanistan may be summarized
as “two no’s”: there must be no sanctuary for terrorists
with global reach in Afghanistan, and there
must be no broader regional meltdown. Securing
these objectives requires helping the Afghans to
build a sustainable system of governance that can
adequately ensure security for the Afghan people.
the “yes” upon which a successful exit strategy

アメリカのアフガニスタンにおける利益を要約するには"2つのno": 全世界的に手の届くテロリストにアフガニスタンを聖域にさせない。そして広い地域をメルトダウンさせない。これらの目的を保証するには、アフガン人がアフガンの人々に安全を保証する、正当性をもった維持できる統治のシステムを築くのを助ける必要があるだろう。それが"yes"成功裏の退場にかかっている戦略である。

No Terrorist Sanctuary and
No Regional Meltdown

American neglect of Afghanistan in the wake of
the Soviet defeat contributed to Al Qaeda entrenching
there. The United States and Europe cannot
again allow Al Qaeda or its associated movements
to have the open support and protection of a state.
The efforts of the past seven years have largely
eliminated unfettered Al Qaeda sanctuary in
Afghanistan, and the country must not be allowed
to return to the condition it was in on September
10, 2001. The problem, however, has become even
more complex: collusion among Al Qaeda, the
Taliban, narco-traffickers, and criminal gangs presents
a real and growing threat to the region.


Squeezed by American military operations, many
in this shadowy alliance have shifted to Pakistan’s

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cities and frontier areas, beyond easy reach of
the coalition. American efforts now focus on
Pakistan as a launching pad for militants fighting
in Afghanistan. But the problem runs both ways:
A failed Afghanistan would become a base from
which Taliban and Al Qaeda militants could work
to further destabilize Pakistan, and the ultimate
prize in that contest would be not another ridge or
valley, but Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. This scenario
could spark a cascading regional meltdown, even
spiraling into a nuclear confrontation between
Pakistan and India. Because the threats of terrorist
sanctuary and regional instability emanate from
territory shared by Pakistan and Afghanistan,
Pakistan must also be helped to accomplish the two
no’s within its own borders. The two countries are
inextricably linked, and America’s safety depends
on their future.


A Sustainable System of Governance

A nation’s goals and objectives can change during
a war. Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan in
the fall of 2001 with the objective of toppling the
Taliban government and defeating Al Qaeda. The
Bonn Agreement and subsequent accords expanded
Afghan and coalition aims far beyond these original
objectives. After seven years of strategic drift,
coalition warfare has failed to persuade many
Afghans that it is wise or safe to commit themselves
and risk their families lives’ to defy the Taliban.
Just as ominously, the lack of demonstrable progress
is weakening popular support for the mission
in many NATO nations.


The United States, the Afghan people, and their
coalition partners must agree on an achievable
end state, determine the intermediate objectives
required to meet it, and allocate the resources
necessary to achieve them. This end state should
be something more than merely fighting terrorists,
but also something more realistic than a prosperous
and modern representative democracy: a
sustainable system of governance that can provide
adequate security for the Afghan people. In order to
achieve this, the coalition and its Afghan partners
must seek to build a state that reconciles a degree
of centralized governance with the traditional
tribal and religious power structures that hold sway
outside Kabul. An internal balance between centralized
and traditional power centers--not central
government control everywhere--is the key to
Afghan stability. Achieving this will require more
military forces, but also a much greater commitment
to good governance and to providing for the
needs of the Afghan people where they live. The
coalition will need to use its considerable leverage
to counter Afghan government corruption at every


An Integrated Regional Strategy
to Get There

The desired ends in Afghanistan--no terrorist
sanctuary and no regional meltdown--and the way
to cement those ends for the long term--helping
the Afghans build a system of governance that can
provide them security--require a comprehensive,
integrated, and sequenced set of means. In a word,
they need a strategy.


A comprehensive strategy will be intrinsically
regional, recognizing that even a perfect campaign
in Afghanistan will fail if an unstable Pakistan
continues to provide sanctuary to militants. An
integrated strategy will unify the efforts which are

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too often treated independently: counter-terrorism,
counter-narcotics, counter-insurgency, and state
building. They are different strands of the same
rope. A sequenced strategy must accommodate the
different time frames of our objectives: immediate
counter-sanctuary to disrupt the planning of
another 9/11 and very long-term state-building
to stabilize the region and reduce the chances of
a meltdown. Bridging these efforts requires an
effective counterinsurgency strategy implemented
by Afghans and Pakistanis with international help
over the next 5 to 10 years.

包括的な戦略というのはそもそも地域中心的な志向を持つものであり、政治的に不安定なパキスタンがテロリストたちに対して聖域を供給し続ける限りはアフガニスタン側でいくら完璧な作戦を行っても必ず失敗する運命にあるという認識が備わっているものだ。統合された戦略はあまりに頻繁に独自に扱われている努力を統一していくだろう幾つかの努力は個別に扱われる事が多すぎるが、統合された戦略はそれらを統一していくはずだ: テロリズム対策、麻薬対策、暴動対策、そして国を築く事、それらは同じロープの子縄なのである。順序だった戦略というものは私たちの目的に、異なった時間の枠組みを提供するべきである。当面は第二の9/11の計画を断念させるための聖域対策。そして超長期的には地域を安定させ、メルトダウンの危険を減らす国家建設である。これらの努力を橋渡しするためには、5年から10年にわたる国際的な補助を受けた効果的な対ゲリラ戦の戦略が、アフガン人やパキスタン人によって実行される必要がある。

America, its allies, and its Afghan and Pakistani
partners have met with some success in disrupting
the terrorist sanctuary and laying groundwork for
long-term state-building. The coalition is failing,
however, to build the counterinsurgency bridge.
Its hallmarks must be protecting the Afghan and
Pakistani people and delivering good governance.
Nothing will sap the insurgency’s power as effectively
over the long term as a positive, tangible
alternative to Taliban rule that is based on physical
security, the provision of basic services, and
accountable, non-predatory governance.
The new administration will have to balance many
competing demands. In Afghanistan and Pakistan,
its main priority must be not only to create,
resource, and implement a strategic vision, but also
to explain its importance to Americans frustrated
with protracted war and massive spending at a time
of great domestic need. A clear and realistic focus
on core, enduring interests is essential, and long


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The mission of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is to develop strong, pragmatic, and principled national
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expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not represent the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.
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