Experts: Drawdown Leaves Ambiguous Mission

President Barack Obama offered numbers and a timeline but little strategic reasoning for his Afghanistan troop drawdown plans, analysts across the political spectrum said.

As a result, they say, there is no clarity about what troops will be fighting for in the years to come.

“He failed to offer a strategic rationale for what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan from this point forward,” said Nora Bensahel, who studies counterinsurgency and stability operations at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank from which the Obama administration has plucked a number of policy officials.

Under the announced timetable — faster than top military leaders recommended — it appears the U.S. will switch from a hearts-and-minds counterinsurgency strategy to a more starkly antiterrorist campaign, Bensahel said. But the president didn’t make that explicit.


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