Securing Afghanistan

Getting on Track

Published In: United States Institute of Peace Working Paper / (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, Jan. 2009), 42 p

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by C. Christine Fair, Seth G. Jones

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This Working Paper examines the security environment in Afghanistan, assesses the programs put in place to address these threats, identifies existing gaps, and offers possible solutions. More than seven years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, important gains made in bringing stability and democracy to Afghanistan are imperiled. While there have been some positive developments in such areas as economic growth, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have gained some ground in the country and in neighboring Pakistan, the drug trade remains a significant problem, and corruption has worsened in the Afghan government. According to United Nations data, insurgent incidents have increased every year since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime. The situation in parts of Afghanistan's south and east is particularly concerning because of the twin menace of insurgent and criminal activity. Despite these challenges, the insurgency remains deeply fractured among a range of groups, and most have little support among the Afghan population. This presents an opportunity for Afghans and the international community to turn the situation around.

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