In this issue of Survival: Global Politics & Strategy, @LaurelMillerICG brings some hard truths about Biden's decision to withdraw from #Afghanistan. Some highlights to follow... 1/n…
"The ‘ending forever war’ slogan may be in vogue among critics of involvement in #Afghanistan, but it is hard to imagine that, had Biden believed that truly crucial goals were at stake, he would have declared that time was up simply because it was taking too long to achieve them"
"The problem was not that American involvement in the war was endless; it was that the US found itself unable to end its involvement on the terms that it preferred..." 3/n
"...either extinguishing the insurgents militarily, or getting them to lay down their arms through negotiation – and that American leaders had for too long resisted acknowledging as much." 4/n
"Biden has now effectively decided that it no longer matters greatly to US interests–if it ever did–whether the #Taliban is in power in #Afghanistan...Deciding to end that presence is tantamount to admitting that, for the US, defeat is an undesirable but tolerable outcome." 5/n
"Whether or not the US’ security interests in #Afghanistan will be served after its withdrawal, following a 20-yr investment in combatting the terrorist threat from bases there, it is jarring that the pull-out has gotten under way before the US has alternative means in place" 6/n
"The withdrawal decision was also an explicit rejection of the idea that the United States’ military presence gave the US necessary leverage to promote a negotiated settlement of the conflict...the leverage argument no longer has any salience, if it ever did." 7/n
"Biden’s decision shows that he has judged the American expenditure of blood and treasure in #Afghanistan as only partly ‘worth it’. The US achieved the strategic marginalisation, though not the complete elimination, of #alQaeda in AFG..." 8/n
"...But by deciding that the #Taliban’s potential return to power other than through a negotiated settlement is tolerable, Biden determined that the #counterterrorism achievement did not require the larger war effort against the TB, or at least not the last 10 yrs of it..." 9/n
"...Whether that assessment turns out to be correct depends on whether the #Taliban will keep a lid on #alQaeda & other groups, as it has promised; whether the US will do so from afar, regardless of who governs the country; or whether that lid matters so much after all." 10/n
"Any plausible future looks bleak for Afghans–the people for whom the war really does seem to be measure of whether the 20-year US effort in #Afghanistan was worth it will be whether the US left AFG, if not at peace, at least better off than it found it..." 11/n
"...That depends on which results of the American effort last through the trying times ahead." 12/12

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More from @JJSchroden

10 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: @usairforce Acting Sec, John Roth, yesterday told Congress that for now the over-the-horizon capability to support #Afghanistan will be from the existing footprint that the USAF has in the region & I'm wondering if that means there haven't been any inroads made... 2/n
...w/potentially new locations to move US forces to provide that over-the-horizon capability?

MR. KIRBY: We already have an over-the-horizon #counterterrorism capability there & other parts of the world, & we are already using that OTH capability in #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 18 tweets
8 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan in today's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: Considering that @CENTCOM is saying they're not going to provide % any longer on #Afghanistan troop & equip withdrawal, I was wondering if there's any progress on getting us either DLA or some type of briefing on some of the things that can be discussed about the w/drawal? 2/n
And my second Q is has @SecDef had any discussions with #Turkey about security at the airport in #Afghanistan and do you see negotiations progressing on that issue? 3/n
Read 22 tweets
7 Jun
I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how the #ANDSF might fare after the US withdraws from #Afghanistan. I’m going to put some thoughts on that in this THREAD. 1/n
First, a recap, as I’ve written about this before. In JAN, I published this net assessment of the #ANDSF vs the #Taliban, in which I concluded the latter would have a slight military advantage after US advisors left. 2/n…
That conclusion was largely due to the #Taliban’s advantages of cohesion & financial self-sustainability, & not being as numerically outnumbered as most people think. But I acknowledged some key #ANDSF advantages, the most notable of which is air power. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
1 Jun
ICYMI, last week I published an article with @Diplomat_APAC titled “Will #Afghanistan Collapse When the US Withdraws?” Since the article is behind a paywall, I’ll summarize some of my main points in this THREAD. 1/n…
For the article, I was asked to explore what might happen in #Afghanistan in the year after the US withdraws. To do so, I found it instructive to revisit the years immediately following the Soviet withdrawal & to compare/contrast to the situation today. 2/n
I’ve seen people making superficial comparisons of these two eras to predict impending doom, but a detailed comparison reveals both striking similarities and distinct differences between the two, which should inform our thinking about the future of #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 31 tweets
26 May
Points on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: Gen Milley has recently mentioned that securing Kabul Airport will be essential for keeping embassy presence not just for the US but for other countries after the withdrawal is completed & that there could be an int'l force assembled to do that... 2/n
...I wondered whether @SecDef agrees w/this & whether he's been talking to @NATO partners or others about organizing such a force.

MR. KIRBY: Certainly the secdef recognizes the key hub that is the airport there in Kabul & the impact that will have... 3/n
Read 29 tweets
25 May
Interest items on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
.@SecDef spoke w/#Pakistan's COAS, Gen Bajwa, to discuss shared regional interests & objs. During the call, the sec reiterated his appreciation for PAK's spt for the #Afghanistan peace negotiations & expressed his desire to cont to build on the US-PAK bilateral relationship 2/n
Q: Getting back to #Pakistan, its Foreign Ministry put out a statement today ruling out the possibility of any US mil bases for the post-withdrawal from #Afghanistan #counterterrorism effort. Is there anything that the US is looking for right now from PAK... 3/n
Read 20 tweets

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