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‘It Was Never All or Nothing in Afghanistan’
After 20 years of military engagement and billions of dollars spent, the United States announced that it will withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Syracuse University’s Mark Jacobson is the assistant dean of Washington programs in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He served in 2006 in Afghanistan as a naval intelligence officer and from 2009-11 as the deputy political advisor and then deputy NATO senior civilian representative. Additionally, he served at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Jacobson recently co-authored a commentary on this issue with Annie Pforzheimer. Pforzheimer is a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and retired senior Foreign Service officer who served in Afghanistan in 2009-10, again from 2017-18 as deputy chief of mission, and as acting deputy assistant secretary of state for Afghanistan until March 2019.
Their piece for Defense One is titled “It Was Never All or Nothing in Afghanistan.”
The authors note:
“We served in Afghanistan starting over a decade ago, with the U.S. military, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative’s office and the U.S. embassy in Kabul. We believe a stable Afghanistan is in the national security interests of the United States even if that commitment takes decades, but that this commitment is not one that requires, as in the past, an enormous military presence.
The ‘enduring commitment’ NATO made during the transition from an international to an Afghan-led security mission was not designed only to underwrite the security of the Afghan nation through military assistance, but to support the development of institutions necessary to govern a nation fractured by decades of war. The strategies of that period, however, did not work as hoped. Initially, an insufficient number of Afghan security forces could operate independently. Judicial and local governance systems proved ineffective. Corruption ran rampant. And the economic system required a corrosive injection of tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid.”
Members of the media who would like to interview Jacobson on this issue may contact:
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