Order Code RL30588
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
November 1, 2007
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
Assessments of the U.S. effort to stabilize Afghanistan are mixed and subject
to debate. The political transition was completed with the convening of a
parliament in December 2005; a new constitution was adopted in January 2004,
successful presidential elections were held on October 9, 2004, and parliamentary
elections took place on September 18, 2005. The parliament has become an arena
for factions that have fought each other for nearly three decades to debate and
peacefully resolve differences. Afghan citizens are enjoying personal freedoms
forbidden by the Taliban. Women are participating in economic and political life,
including as ministers, provincial governors, and parliament leaders.
However, the insurgency led by supporters of the Taliban movement and Al
Qaeda continues to challenge U.S. and other NATO forces, particularly in the south.
Contributing to the violence is popular frustration with lack of economic
development, official corruption, and the failure to extend Afghan government
authority into rural areas. Narcotics trafficking is resisting counter-measures and
funding insurgent activity. The Afghan government and some U.S. officials blame
Pakistan for failing to prevent Taliban commanders from operating from Pakistan,
largely beyond the reach of U.S./NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. Yet, U.S. and
NATO commanders pre-empted an anticipated 2007 “spring offensive” by the
Taliban with an increase in force levels, accelerated reconstruction efforts, and
combat operations. The Taliban has responded by shifting toward the use of suicide
bombings, kidnappings, and other tactics used by insurgents in Iraq. U.S. and
NATO forces have also killed a few key Taliban battlefield leaders in 2007, and proTaliban insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hikmatyar declared in July 2007 that he is
considering a cease-fire with the government. Taliban leaders have rejected, thus
far, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s September 2007 offer of talks.
To help stabilize Afghanistan, the United States and partner countries are
deploying a 41,000 troop NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
that now commands peacekeeping throughout Afghanistan, and running regional
enclaves to secure reconstruction (Provincial Reconstruction Teams, PRTs), as well
as building an Afghan National Army. Approximately 27,000 U.S. troops are in
Afghanistan, of which all but about 12,000 are under NATO/ISAF command. To
build security institutions and assist reconstruction, the United States has given
Afghanistan over $ 21 billion since the fall of the Taliban, including funds to equip
and train Afghan security forces. Breakdowns are shown in the several tables at the
end of this paper. Pending legislation, H.R. 2446, would reauthorize the Afghanistan
Freedom Support Act of 2002.
This paper will be updated as warranted by major developments. See also CRS
Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance, by
Kenneth Katzman; and CRS Report RL32686, Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S.
Policy, by Christopher M. Blanchard.
Background to Recent Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Mujahedin Government and Rise of the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Taliban Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The “Northern Alliance” Congeals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
September 11 Attacks and Operation Enduring Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Post-War Stabilization and Reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Political Transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Bonn Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Permanent Constitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
National Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Governance Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Supporting Central Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Human Rights and Democracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Combating Narcotics Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Reconstructing Infrastructure and the Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Post-War Security Operations and Force Capacity Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The Combat Environment, U.S. Operations, and Operation Enduring
Freedom (OEF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The Taliban Resurgence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Feelers to the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The NATO-Led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) . . . . . . . . 28
National “Caveats” on Combat Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Provincial Reconstruction Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Afghan Security Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Afghan National Police/Justice Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
U.S. Security Forces Funding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Regional Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Russia, Central Asian States, and China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Central Asian States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Saudi Arabia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
U.S. and International Aid to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Post-Taliban U.S. Aid Totals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 and Amendments . . . . . . 44
Afghan Freedom Support Act Re-Authorization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
FY2007 and FY2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Additional Funds and Other U.S. Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
World Bank/Asian Development Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
International Reconstruction Pledges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Residual Issues From Past Conflicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Stinger Retrieval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Mine Eradication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Appendix 1: U.S. and International Sanctions Lifted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
List of Tables
Table 1. Afghan and Regional Facilities Used for Operations in Afghanistan . . 27
Table 2. Recent and Pending Foreign Equipment Donations to ANA . . . . . . . . 33
Table 3. Major Security-Related Indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Table 5. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1999-FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Table 6. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Table 7. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Table 8. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Table 9. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Table 10. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Table 11. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2008 Request/Action . . . . . . . . . 55
Table 12. USAID Obligations FY2002- 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Table 13. NATO/ISAF Contributing Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Table 14. Provincial Reconstruction Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Table 15. Major Factions/Leaders in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
Background to Recent Developments
Prior to the founding of a monarchy in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani,
Afghanistan was territory inhabited by tribes and tribal confederations linked to
neighboring nations, not a distinct entity. King Amanullah Khan (1919-1929)
launched attacks on British forces in Afghanistan shortly after taking power and won
complete independence from Britain as recognized in the Treaty of Rawalpindi
(August 8, 1919). He was considered a secular modernizer presiding over a
government in which all ethnic minorities participated. He was succeeded by King
Mohammad Nadir Shah (1929-1933), and then by King Mohammad Zahir Shah.
Zahir Shah’s reign (1933-1973) is remembered fondly by many older Afghans for
promulgating a constitution in 1964 that established a national legislature and
promoting freedoms for women, including freeing them from covering their face and
hair. However, possibly believing that he could limit Soviet support for communist
factions in Afghanistan, Zahir Shah also entered into a significant political and arms
purchase relationship with the Soviet Union.
Afghanistan’s slide into instability began in the 1970s when the diametrically
opposed Communist Party and Islamic movements grew in strength. While
receiving medical treatment in Italy, Zahir Shah was overthrown by his cousin,
Mohammad Daoud, a military leader who established a dictatorship with strong state
involvement in the economy. Communists overthrew Daoud in 1978, led by Nur
Mohammad Taraki, who was displaced a year later by Hafizullah Amin, leader of a
rival faction. They tried to impose radical socialist change on a traditional society,
in part by redistributing land and bringing more women into government, sparking
rebellion by Islamic parties opposed to such moves. The Soviet Union sent troops
into Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, to prevent a seizure of power by the Islamic
militias, known as the mujahedin (Islamic fighters). Upon their invasion, the Soviets
replaced Hafizullah Amin with an ally, Babrak Karmal.
Soviet occupation forces were never able to pacify the outlying areas of the
country. The mujahedin benefited from U.S. weapons and assistance, provided
through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cooperation with Pakistan’s InterService Intelligence directorate (ISI). That weaponry included portable shoulderfired anti-aircraft systems called “Stingers,” which proved highly effective against
Soviet aircraft. The mujahedin also hid and stored weaponry in a large network of
natural and manmade tunnels and caves throughout Afghanistan. The Soviet
Union’s losses mounted, and Soviet domestic opinion turned anti-war. In 1986, after
the reformist Mikhail Gorbachev became leader, the Soviets replaced Karmal with
the director of Afghan intelligence, Najibullah Ahmedzai (known by his first name.)
On April 14, 1988, Gorbachev agreed to a U.N.-brokered accord (the Geneva
Accords) requiring it to withdraw. The withdrawal was completed by February 15,
1989, leaving in place the weak Najibullah government. The United States closed
its embassy in Kabul in January 1989, as the Soviet Union was completing its
pullout. A warming of relations moved the United States and Soviet Union to try for
a political settlement to the Afghan conflict, a trend accelerated by the 1991 collapse
of the Soviet Union, which reduced Moscow’s capacity for supporting communist
regimes in the Third World. On September 13, 1991, Moscow and Washington
agreed to a joint cutoff of military aid to the Afghan combatants.
The State Department has said that a total of about $3 billion in economic and
covert military assistance was provided by the U.S. to the Afghan mujahedin from
1980 until the end of the Soviet occupation in 1989. Press reports say the covert aid
program grew from about $20 million per year in FY1980 to about $300 million per
year during FY1986-FY1990. The Soviet pullout decreased the strategic value of
Afghanistan, causing the Administration and Congress to reduce covert funding.1
With Soviet backing withdrawn, on March 18, 1992, Najibullah publicly agreed
to step down once an interim government was formed. That announcement set off
a wave of rebellions primarily by Uzbek and Tajik militia commanders in northern
Afghanistan, who joined prominent mujahedin commander Ahmad Shah Masud of
the Islamic Society, a largely Tajik party headed by Burhannudin Rabbani. Masud
had earned a reputation as a brilliant strategist by preventing the Soviets from
occupying his power base in the Panjshir Valley of northeastern Afghanistan.
Najibullah fell, and the mujahedin regime began April 18, 1992.2
For FY1991, Congress reportedly cut covert aid appropriations to the mujahedin from $300
million the previous year to $250 million, with half the aid withheld until the second half
of the fiscal year. See “Country Fact Sheet: Afghanistan,” in U.S. Department of State
Dispatch, vol. 5, no. 23 (June 6, 1994), p. 377.
After failing to flee, Najibullah, his brother, and aides remained at a U.N. facility in Kabul
until the Taliban movement seized control in 1996 and hanged them.
Afghanistan Social and Economic Statistics
Pashtun 42%; Tajik 27%; Uzbek 9%; Hazara 9%; Aimak 4%; Turkmen
3%; Baluch 2%; other 4%
Sunni Muslim (Hanafi school) 80%; Shiite Muslim (Hazaras, Qizilbash,
and Isma’ilis) 19%; other 1%
Size of Religious
Christians - estimated 500 - 8,000 persons; Sikh and Hindu - 3,000
persons; Bahai’s - 400 (declared blasphemous in May 2007); Jews - 1
person; Buddhist - unknown, but small numbers, mostly foreigners. No
Christian or Jewish schools. One church, open only to expatriates.
28% of population over 15 years of age
$21.5 billion (purchasing power parity)
GDP Per Capita:
$800 (purchasing power parity)
GDP Real Growth:
11% (2007 Afghan gov’t estimate)
Unemployment Rate: 40%
Children in School
5 million (2007), of which 1.8 million are girls. Up from 900,000 in
school during Taliban era
Afghans With Access 80% - compared to 8% during Taliban era. Infant mortality has dropped
to Health Coverage
18% since Taliban to 135 per 1,000 live births. 680 clinics built with
U.S. funds since Taliban era.
Roads Built Post4,000 miles, with another 1,000 miles to be completed by the end of
Access to Electricity 10 - 15% of the population
$715 million for 2007 (Afghan gov’t. est.); $550 million 2006
$1.2 billion for 2007 (est.); 900 million in 2006
$8 billion bilateral, plus $500 million multilateral. U.S. forgave $108
million in debt to U.S. in 2006
$1 billion est. for 2007; about $1 billion for 2006
fruits, nuts, carpets, semi-precious gems, hides, opium
Oil Proven Reserves: 3.6 billion barrels of oil, 36.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to
Afghan government on March 15, 2006
food, petroleum, capital goods, textiles
Pakistan 38.6%; U.S. 9.5%; Germany 5.5%; India 5.2%; Turkey 4.1%;
Source: CIA World Factbook, January 2007, Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C.; Afghan
Finance Minister statements (April 2007), President Bush speech on February 15, 2007; International
Religious Freedom Report, September 14, 2007.
The Mujahedin Government and Rise of the Taliban
The fall of Najibullah exposed the differences among the mujahedin parties.
The leader of one of the smaller parties (Afghan National Liberation Front), Islamic
scholar Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, was president during April - May 1992. Under an
agreement among the major parties, Rabbani became President in June 1992 with
agreement that he would serve until December 1994. He refused to step down at that
time, saying that political authority would disintegrate without a clear successor.
Kabul was subsequently shelled by other mujahedin factions, particularly that of
nominal “Prime Minister” Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, a Pashtun, who accused Rabbani
of monopolizing power. Hikmatyar’s radical Islamist Hizb-e-Islami (Islamic Party)
had received a large proportion of the U.S. aid during the anti-Soviet war. Four years
of civil war (1992-1996) created popular support for the Taliban as a movement that
could deliver Afghanistan from the factional infighting.
In 1993-1994, Afghan Islamic clerics and students, mostly of rural, Pashtun
origin, many of them former mujahedin who had become disillusioned with
continued conflict among mujahedin parties and had moved into Pakistan to study
in Islamic seminaries (“madrassas”), formed the Taliban movement.
practiced an orthodox Sunni Islam called “Wahhabism,” akin to that practiced in
Saudi Arabia. They viewed the Rabbani government as corrupt, anti-Pashtun, and
responsible for civil war. With the help of defections, the Taliban seized control of
the southeastern city of Qandahar in November 1994; by February 1995, it had
reached the gates of Kabul, after which an 18-month stalemate around the capital
ensued. In September 1995, the Taliban captured Herat province, bordering Iran, and
imprisoned its governor, Ismail Khan, ally of Rabbani and Masud, who later escaped
and took refuge in Iran. In September 1996, Taliban victories near Kabul led to the
withdrawal of Rabbani and Masud to the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul with most
of their heavy weapons; the Taliban took control of Kabul on September 27, 1996.
Taliban gunmen subsequently entered a U.N. facility in Kabul to seize Najibullah,
his brother, and aides, under protection there, and then hanged them.
The Taliban regime was led by Mullah Muhammad Umar, who lost an eye in
the anti-Soviet war while fighting under the banner of the Hizb-e-Islam (Islamic
Party of Yunis Khalis. Umar held the title of Head of State and “Commander of the
Faithful,” but he mostly remained in the Taliban power base in Qandahar, rarely
appearing in public. Umar forged a close bond with bin Laden and refused U.S.
demands to extradite him. Born in Uruzgan province, Umar is about 61 years old.
The Taliban progressively lost international and domestic support as it imposed
strict adherence to Islamic customs in areas it controlled and employed harsh
punishments, including executions. The Taliban authorized its “Ministry for the
Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice” to use physical punishments to
enforce strict Islamic practices, including bans on television, Western music, and
dancing. It prohibited women from attending school or working outside the home,
except in health care, and it publicly executed some women for adultery. In what
many consider its most extreme action, in March 2001 the Taliban blew up two large
Buddha statues carved into hills above Bamiyan city , on the grounds that they
represented un-Islamic idolatry.
The Clinton Administration held talks with the Taliban before and after it took
power, but relations quickly deteriorated. The United States withheld recognition
of Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, formally recognizing no
faction as the government. Because of the lack of broad international recognition,
the United Nations seated representatives of the ousted Rabbani government, not the
Taliban. The State Department ordered the Afghan embassy in Washington, D.C.,
closed in August 1997. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1193 (August 28, 1998)
and 1214 (December 8, 1998) urged the Taliban to end discrimination against
women. Several U.S.-based women’s rights groups urged the Clinton Administration
not to recognize the Taliban government, and in May 1999, the Senate passed a
resolution (S.Res. 68) calling on the President not to recognize any Afghan
government that discriminates against women.
The Taliban’s hosting of Al Qaeda’s leadership gradually became the Clinton
Administration’s overriding agenda item with Afghanistan. In April 1998, then
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson visited Afghanistan and
asked the Taliban to hand over bin Laden, but was rebuffed. After the August 7,
1998, Al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Clinton
Administration progressively pressured the Taliban on bin Laden, imposing U.S.
sanctions and achieving adoption of some U.N. sanctions against the Taliban. On
August 20, 1998, the United States fired cruise missiles at alleged Al Qaeda training
camps in eastern Afghanistan, but bin Laden was not hit. Some observers assert that
the Administration missed several other purported opportunities to strike bin Laden.
Clinton Administration officials say that they did not try to oust the Taliban from
power with direct U.S. military force because domestic U.S. support for those steps
was then lacking and the Taliban’s opponents were too weak and did not necessarily
hold U.S. values.
The “Northern Alliance” Congeals. The Taliban’s policies caused
different Afghan factions to ally with the ousted President Rabbani and Masud, the
Tajik core of the anti-Taliban opposition, into a broader “Northern Alliance.”
Among them were Uzbek, Hazara Shiite, and even some Pashtun Islamist factions
discussed in the table at the end of this paper (Table 13).
Uzbeks/General Dostam. One major Alliance faction was the
Uzbek militia (the Junbush-Melli, or National Islamic Movement of
Afghanistan) of General Abdul Rashid Dostam, although Dostam
had earlier contributed to efforts to oust Rabbani.
Hazara Shiites. Members of Hazara tribes, mostly Shiite Muslims,
are prominent in Bamiyan Province (central Afghanistan) and are
always wary of repression by Pashtuns and other larger ethnic
factions. During the various Afghan wars, the main Hazara Shiite
grouping was Hizb-e-Wahdat (Unity Party, an alliance of eight
Pashtun Islamists/Sayyaf. Abd-I-Rab Rasul Sayyaf, who is now
a parliament committee chairman, headed a Pashtun-dominated
mujahedin faction called the Islamic Union for the Liberation of
Afghanistan. Even though his ideology is similar to that of the
Taliban, Sayyaf joined the Northern Alliance.
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001
Prior to the September 11 attacks, Bush Administration policy toward the
Taliban resembled Clinton Administration policy – applying economic and political
pressure while retaining dialogue with the Taliban, and refraining from providing
military assistance to the Northern Alliance. The September 11 Commission report
said that, in the months prior to the September 11 attacks, Administration officials
leaned toward such a step and that some officials wanted to assist anti-Taliban
Pashtun forces. Other covert options were under consideration as well.3 In a
departure from Clinton Administration policy, the Bush Administration stepped up
engagement with Pakistan to try to end its support for the Taliban. In accordance
with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1333, in February 2001 the State Department
ordered the Taliban representative office in New York closed, although the Taliban
representative continued to operate informally. In March 2001, Administration
officials received Taliban envoy Rahmatullah Hashemi to discuss bilateral issues.
Fighting with some Iranian, Russian, and Indian financial and military support,
the Northern Alliance continued to lose ground to the Taliban after it lost Kabul in
1996. By the time of the September 11 attacks, the Taliban controlled at least 75%
of the country, including almost all provincial capitals. The Alliance suffered a
major setback on September 9, 2001, two days before the September 11 attacks,
when Ahmad Shah Masud was assassinated by alleged Al Qaeda suicide bombers
posing as journalists. He was succeeded by his intelligence chief, Muhammad
Fahim, a veteran figure but who lacked Masud’s undisputed authority.
September 11 Attacks and Operation Enduring Freedom. After the
September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration decided to militarily overthrow the
Taliban when it refused to extradite bin Laden . The Administration decided that a
friendly regime in Kabul was needed to create the conditions under which U.S. forces
could capture Al Qaeda activists there. The United Nations did not specifically
authorize U.S. military force, but Resolution 1368 of September 12, 2001 said that
the Security Council was ready to take “all necessary steps” to respond to the
September 11 attacks. In Congress, S.J.Res. 23 (passed 98-0 in the Senate and with
no objections in the House, P.L. 107-40) authorized:4
all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or
persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist
Drogin, Bob. “U.S. Had Plan for Covert Afghan Options Before 9/11.” Los Angeles
Times, May 18, 2002.
Another law (P.L. 107-148) established a “Radio Free Afghanistan” under RFE/RL,
providing $17 million in funding for it for FY2002.
attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such organizations or
Major combat in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF) began on
October 7, 2001. The combat consisted primarily of U.S. air-strikes on Taliban and
Al Qaeda forces, facilitated by the cooperation between small numbers (about 1,000)
of U.S. special operations forces and the Northern Alliance and Pashtun anti-Taliban
forces. Some U.S. ground units (about 1,300 Marines) moved into Afghanistan to
pressure the Taliban around Qandahar at the height of the fighting (OctoberDecember 2001), but there were few pitched battles between U.S. and Taliban
soldiers; most of the ground combat was between Taliban and its Afghan opponents.
Some critics believe that U.S. dependence on local Afghan militia forces in the war
strengthened the militias in the post-war period.
The Taliban regime unraveled rapidly after it lost Mazar-e-Sharif on November
9, 2001. Northern Alliance forces — the commanders of which had initially
promised U.S. officials they would not enter Kabul — entered the capital on
November 12, 2001, to popular jubilation. The Taliban subsequently lost the south
and east to pro-U.S. Pashtun leaders, such as Hamid Karzai. The end of the Taliban
regime is generally dated as December 9, 2001, when the Taliban surrendered
Qandahar and Mullah Omar fled the city, leaving it under tribal law administered by
Pashtun leaders such as the Noorzai clan. Subsequently, U.S. and Afghan forces
conducted “Operation Anaconda” in the Shah-i-Kot Valley south of Gardez (Paktia
Province) during March 2-19, 2002, against as many as 800 Al Qaeda and Taliban
fighters. In March 2003, about 1,000 U.S. troops raided suspected Taliban or Al
Qaeda fighters in villages around Qandahar. On May 1, 2003, then Secretary of
Defense Rumsfeld said “major combat operations” had ended.
Post-War Stabilization and Reconstruction5
The war paved the way for the success of a decade-long U.N. effort to form a
broad-based Afghan government; the United Nations was viewed as a credible
mediator by all sides largely because of its role in ending the Soviet occupation.
During the 1990s, proposals from a succession of U.N. mediators incorporated many
of former King Zahir Shah’s proposals for a government to be selected by a
traditional assembly, or loya jirga. However, U.N.-mediated cease-fires between
warring factions always broke down, and non-U.N. initiatives fared no better,
particularly the “Six Plus Two” multilateral contact group, which began meeting in
1997 (the United States, Russia, and the six states bordering Afghanistan: Iran,
China, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan). Other failed efforts
included a “Geneva group” (Italy, Germany, Iran, and the United States) formed in
2000; an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) contact group; and Afghan exile
efforts, including one from the Karzai clan and one centered on Zahir Shah.
More information on some of the issues in this section can be found in CRS Report
RS21922, Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance, by Kenneth Katzman.
Immediately after the September 11 attacks, former U.N. mediator Lakhdar
Brahimi was brought back (he had resigned in frustration in October 1999). U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1378 was adopted on November 14, 2001, calling for
a “central” role for the United Nations in establishing a transitional administration
and inviting member states to send peacekeeping forces to promote stability and aid
delivery. After the fall of Kabul in November 2001, the United Nations invited
major Afghan factions, most prominently the Northern Alliance and that of the
former King — but not the Taliban — to a conference in Bonn, Germany.
Bonn Agreement. On December 5, 2001, the factions signed the “Bonn
Agreement.”6 It was endorsed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1385 (December
6, 2001). The agreement included the following provisions:
Formed a 30-member interim administration to govern until the
holding in June 2002 of an emergency loya jirga, which would
choose a government to run Afghanistan until a new constitution is
approved and national elections held. Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai
was selected interim leader, but 17 out of 30 cabinet seats were
given to the Northern Alliance (including Defense, Foreign Affairs,
and Interior). In the interim, the constitution of 1964 applied.7
Authorized an international peace keeping force to maintain security
in Kabul, and Northern Alliance forces were directed to withdraw
from the capital. The agreement also referred to the need to
cooperate with the international community on counter narcotics,
crime, and terrorism. Security Council Resolution 1386 (December
20, 2001) formally authorized the international peacekeeping force.
Permanent Constitution. The June 2002 “emergency” loya jirga put a
representative imprimatur on the transition . It was attended by former King Zahir
Shah, joining 1,550 delegates (including about 200 women) from 381 districts. At
the gathering, Zahir Shah and Rabbani yielded to Karzai to remain leader until On
its last day (June 19, 2002), the assembly approved a new cabinet. Subsequently,
a 35-member constitutional commission drafted the permanent constitution, and
unveiled in November 2003. It was debated by 502 delegates, selected in U.N.- run
caucuses, at a “constitutional loya jirga (CLJ)” during December 13, 2003-January
4, 2004. The CLJ, chaired by Mojadeddi (mentioned above), ended with approval
of the constitution with only minor changes. Most significantly, members of the
Northern Alliance faction failed to set up a prime minister-ship, but they did achieve
limits to presidential powers by having major authorities assigned to an elected
parliament, such as the power to veto senior official nominees and to impeach a
Text of Bonn agreement at [http://www.ag-afghanistan.de/files/petersberg.htm].
The last loya jirga that was widely recognized as legitimate was held in 1964 to ratify a
constitution. Najibullah convened a loya jirga in 1987 to approve pro-Moscow policies; that
gathering was widely viewed by Afghans as illegitimate.
president. The constitution made former King Zahir Shah honorary “Father of the
Nation” - a title that is not heritable. Zahir Shah died on July 23, 2007.
Hamid Karzai, about 53, was selected to lead Afghanistan because he was a credible
Pashtun leader who seeks factional compromise rather than intimidation through armed
force. On the other hand, some observers believe him too willing to compromise with
rather than confront regional and other faction leaders, and to tolerate corruption,
resulting in a failure to professionalize government. From Karz village in Qandahar
Province, Hamid Karzai has led the powerful Popolzai tribe of Durrani Pashtuns since
1999, when his father was assassinated, allegedly by Taliban agents, in Quetta, Pakistan.
Karzai attended university in India. He was deputy foreign minister in Rabbani’s
government during 1992-1995, but he left the government and supported the Taliban as
a Pashtun alternative to Rabbani. He broke with the Taliban as its excesses unfolded and
forged alliances with other anti-Taliban factions, including the Northern Alliance.
Karzai entered Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks to organize Pashtun resistance
to the Taliban, supported by U.S. special forces. He became central to U.S. efforts after
Pashtun commander Abdul Haq entered Afghanistan in October 2001 without U.S.
support and was captured and hung by the Taliban. Some of his several brothers have
lived in the United States, including Qayyum Karzai, who won a parliament seat in the
September 2005 election. Karzai said in August 2006 that he might not run for a second
term in 2009 presidential elections. With heavy protection, he has survived several
assassination attempts since taking office, including rocket fire or gunfire near his
National Elections. The October 9, 2004, presidential voting was orderly
and turnout heavy (about 80%). On November 3, 2004, Karzai was declared winner
(55.4% of the vote) over his seventeen challengers on the first round, avoiding a
runoff. Parliamentary and provincial council elections were intended for April-May
2005 but were delayed until September 18, 2005. Because of the difficulty in
confirming voter registration rolls and determining district boundaries, elections for
the district councils, each of which will have small and contentious boundaries, were
postponed; no date is set for these elections.
For the parliamentary election, voting was conducted for individuals running in
each province, and groups in parliament are not organized as parties but rather as
blocs of like-minded allies. There are now 90 registered political parties in
Afghanistan, but parties remain unpopular because of their linkages to outside
countries during the anti-Soviet war. When parliament first convened on December
18, 2005, the Northern Alliance bloc, joined by others, engineered selection of former
Karzai presidential election rival Qanooni for speaker of the lower house. In April
2007, Qanooni and Northern Alliance political leader Rabbani organized this
opposition bloc, along with ex-Communists and some royal family members, into a
party called the “National Front” that wants increased parliamentary powers and
direct elections for the provincial governors. The 102-seat upper house, selected by
the provincial councils and Karzai, consists mainly of older, well known figures, as
well as 17 females (half of Karzai’s 34 appointments, as provided for in the
constitution). The leader of that body is Mojadeddi, the pro-Karzai elder statesman.
With a permanent national government fully assembled, Karzai and the
parliament – relations between which are often contentious – are attempting to
improve and expand governance throughout the country. The new parliament has
asserted itself on several occasions, for example in the process of confirming a postelection cabinet. Modernizers in the parliament also succeeded in forcing Karzai to
oust several major conservatives from the Supreme Court in favor of those with more
experience in modern jurisprudence, and it has established itself in oversight of the
national budget. In mid-2007, the parliament enacted a law granting amnesty to
commanders who fought in the various Afghan wars since the Soviet invasion –
some of whom are now members of parliament – in an attempt to put past schisms
to rest in building a new Afghanistan. The law initially was vetoed by Karzai and
was rewritten to give victims the ability to bring accusations of past abuses forward.
Also in May 2007, and suggesting the political strength of the National Front
bloc, the parliament voted no confidence against Foreign Minister Rangeen Spanta
and Minister for Refugee Affairs Akbar Akbar for failing to prevent Iran from
expelling 50,000 Afghan refugees over a one-month period. Karzai accepted in
principle the dismissal of Akbar but referred Spanta’s dismissal because refugee
affairs are not his ministry’s prime jurisdiction. The Afghan Supreme Court has
sided with Karzai, causing some National Front bloc members to threaten to resign
from the parliament, an action they believe would shake confident in Karzai’s
leadership. Both Akbar and Spanta remain in their positions, to date.
Parliamentary unrest emerged in May 2007 over the high number of civilian
casualties caused by U.S./NATO combat operations; the upper house voted to require
international forces to consult with Afghan authorities prior to combat operations and
for negotiations with Taliban fighters. This resembled one of parliament’s first
actions, which was to pass a resolution requiring international forces to dismantle the
large security barriers erected around Kabul. In September 2007, the parliament
demanded U.S. forces apologize for giving children in Khost Province soccer balls
with Koranic verses, an inclusion the parliament called inappropriate and insulting
Supporting Central Government. Even though the central government
structure has filled out, it still suffers from lack of capacity and the slow expansion
of its writ in outlying regions of most provinces. Some press reports say that
confidence in Karzai on the part of some major donor countries has waned because
of government corruption, as well as compromises with local factions that have the
effect of slowing modernization and reform. A reported CIA assessment in
November 2006 – and numerous subsequent press reports – found that increasing
numbers of Afghans view the government as weak and corrupt.8 However, in a
February 2007 CNN interview, then commander of U.S. forces General Karl
Rohde, David and James Risen. CIA Review Highlights Afghan Leader’s Woes. New
York Times, November 5, 2006.
Eikenberry said the amount of “governed space” in Afghanistan is increasing, a trend
that most observers is key to Afghan stability. An August 2007 U.N. report on the
narcotics situation, discussed below, said that governance is improving and growing
in northern Afghanistan, contributing to a reduction of opium cultivation there.
U.S. officials continue to try to bolster Karzai through repeated statements of
support and high-level visits to Afghanistan, including several by Vice President
Cheney and one by President Bush (March 1, 2006). President Karzai has visited
the United States repeatedly, including most recently two days of meetings with
President Bush at Camp David (August 5 and 6, 2007). They met again on
September 26, 2007 in the context of U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York,
and President Bush stressed areas of progress in Afghanistan.
A key part of the U.S. strategy to strengthen the central government is to
support Karzai’s efforts to curb key regional strongmen and local militias. Karzai
has cited these actors as a major threat to Afghan stability because of their arbitrary
administration of justice and generation of popular resentment through their demands
for bribes and other favors. Some argue that Afghans have always sought substantial
regional autonomy, but others say that easily purchased arms and manpower, funded
by narcotics trafficking, sustains local militias as well as the Taliban insurgency.
Since June 2006, Karzai has authorized arming some local tribal militias (arbokai)
to help in local policing, saying that these militias would provide security and be
loyal to the nation and central government and that arming them is not inconsistent
with the disarmament programs discussed below.
Karzai has, to some extent, marginalized most of the largest regional leaders so-called “warlords.”
Herat governor Ismail Khan was removed in September 2004 and
was later appointed Minister of Water and Energy. On the other
hand, Khan was tapped by Karzai to help calm Herat after SunniShiite clashes there in February 2006, clashes that some believe were
stoked by Khan to demonstrate his continued influence in Herat.
Dostam (see above) was appointed Karzai’s top military advisor, and
in April 2005 he “resigned” as head of his Junbush Melli faction.
However, in May 2007 Dostam’s followers in the north were again
restive (conducting large demonstrations) in attempting to force out
the anti-Dostam governor of Jowzjan Province.
Another key figure, former Defense Minister Fahim (Northern
Alliance) was appointed by Karzai to the upper house of parliament .
The move gives him a stake in the political process and reduces his
potential to activate Northern Alliance militia loyalists. Fahim has
turned many of his heavy weapons over to U.N. and Afghan forces
as of January 2005 (including four Scud missiles), although the U.N.
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that large
quantities of smaller weapons remain in the Panjshir Valley. .
In July 2004, Karzai moved charismatic Northern Alliance figure
Atta Mohammad from control of a militia in the Mazar- e-Sharif area
to governor of Balkh province, although he reportedly remains
resistant to central government control. Still, his province is now
“cultivation free” of opium, according to the U.N.Office on Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) report of August 2007.
Two other large militia leaders, Hazrat Ali (Jalalabad area) and Khan
Mohammad (Qandahar area) were placed in civilian police chief
posts in 2005; Hazrat Ali was subsequently elected to parliament.
Karzai has tried to use his power to appoint provincial governors to extend
government authority, but some question his choices. In 2005 and 2006, he
appointed some relatively younger technocrats in key governorships instead of local
strongmen; examples include Qandahar governor Asadullah Khalid, Paktika governor
Muhammad Akram Khapalwak, Helmand governor Asadullah Wafa, and Paktia
governor Abdul Hakim Taniwal. (Taniwal was killed in a suicide bombing on
September 10, 2006.) However, some Afghans accuse some of these governors,
such as Qandahar’s Khalid, of complicity with narcotics traffickers. Other proKarzai governors, such as Nangahar’s Ghul Agha Shirzai, are considered corrupt and
politically motivated rather than technically competent. In July 2007, Karzai
removed the governor of Kapisa province for saying that Karzai’s government was
weak and thereby failing to curb the Taliban insurgency.
DDR and DIAG Programs. A cornerstone of the effort to curb regionalism
was a program, run by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan
(UNAMA, whose mandate was extended until March 2007 by U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1662 of March 23, 2006), to dismantle identified and illegal militias.
The program, which formally concluded on June 30, 2006, was the “DDR” program:
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration. The program was run in
partnership with Japan, Britain, and Canada, with participation of the United States.
The program got off to a slow start because the Afghan Defense Ministry did not
reduce the percentage of Tajiks in senior positions by the targeted July 1, 2003, date,
thereby dampening Pashtun enthusiasm. In September 2003, Karzai replaced 22
senior Tajik Defense Ministry officials with Pashtuns, Uzbeks, and Hazaras,
producing a more broad-based ministry leadership and enabling DDR to proceed.
The DDR program had initially been expected to demobilize 100,000 fighters,
although that figure was later reduced. Figures for accomplishment of the DDR and
DIAG programs are contained in the security indicators table later in this paper. Of
those demobilized, 55,800 former fighters have exercised reintegration options
provided by the program: starting small businesses, farming, and other options ,
although U.N. officials say about 25% of these have thus far found long-term,
sustainable jobs. The total cost of the program was $141 million, funded by Japan
and other donors, including the United States. Some studies criticized the DDR
program for failing to prevent a certain amount of rearmament of militiamen or
stockpiling of weapons and for the rehiring of some militiamen in programs run by
the United States and its partners.9 Part of the DDR program was the collection and
cantonment of militia weapons. However, some accounts say that only poor quality
weapons were collected. Figures for collected weapons are contained in the table.
Since June 11, 2005, the disarmament effort has emphasized another program
called “DIAG,” Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups. It is run by the Afghan
Disarmament and Reintegration Commission, headed by Vice President Khalili.
Under the DIAG, no payments are available to fighters, and the program depends on
persuasion rather than use of force against the illegal groups. DIAG has not been as
well funded as is DDR: it has received $11 million in operating funds. As an
incentive for compliance, Japan and other donors are making available $35 million
for development projects where illegal groups have disbanded. These incentives
were intended to accomplish the disarmament, by December 2007, of a pool of as
many as 150,000 members of 1,800 different “illegal armed groups”: militiamen that
were not part of recognized local forces (Afghan Military Forces, AMF) and were
never on the rolls of the Defense Ministry. However, those goals will almost
certainly not be met – currently, the program is not operating in most of the south
because armed groups, fearing the Taliban, refuse to disarm voluntarily, but
UNAMA says the program remains in operation in areas where militias are willing
U.S. Embassy Operations/Budgetary Support to Afghan
Government. A key component of U.S. efforts to strengthen the Afghan
government has been maintaining a large and active diplomatic presence. Zalmay
Khalilzad, an American of Afghan origin, was ambassador during December 2003August 2005; he reportedly had significant influence on Afghan government
decisions.10 The current ambassador is William Wood, who previously was U.S.
Ambassador to Colombia. To assist the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and coordinate
reconstruction and diplomacy, in 2004 the State Department created an Office of
Afghanistan Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary John Gastright has been
nominated as Coordinator for Afghanistan affairs, a coordination role recommended
by Congress in several enacted or pending pieces of legislation (as discussed further
below). As part of a 2003 U.S. push to build government capacity, the Bush
Administration formed a 15-person Afghan Reconstruction Group (ARG), placed
within the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, to serve as advisors to the Afghan government.
The group is now mostly focused on helping Afghanistan attract private investment
and develop private industries. The U.S. embassy, now housed in a newly
constructed building, has progressively expanded its personnel and facilities, and the
State Department wants to build an additional housing complex. The tables at the
end of this paper discuss U.S. funding for Embassy operations, USAID operations,
and Karzai protection, which is now led by Afghan forces but with U.S. advice.
For an analysis of the DDR program, see Christian Dennys. Disarmament, Demobilization
and Rearmament?, June 6, 2005, [http://www.jca.apc.org/~jann/Documents/Disarmament
Waldman, Amy. “In Afghanistan, U.S. Envoy Sits in Seat of Power.” New York Times,
April 17, 2004. Afghanistan’s ambassador in Washington is Seyed Jalal Tawwab, formerly
a Karzai aide.
Although the Afghan government has increased its revenue and is covering a
growing proportion of its budget, USAID provides funding to help the Afghan
government meet gaps in its budget (directly and through a U.N.-run Afghan
Reconstruction Trust Fund). By fiscal year, this support has been: FY2002, $41
million; FY2003, $40; FY2004, $103 million; FY2005, $118 million; FY2006, $60
million; and FY2007, $46 million (est). For FY2008, $ 95 million is requested.11
Human Rights and Democracy. The Administration and Afghan
government claim some progress in building a democratic Afghanistan that adheres
to international standards of human rights practices . It is hoped that progress would
convince the population that the Afghan government deserves its support. The State
Department report on human rights practices for 2006 (released March 6, 2007)12
generally praises the Afghan government for providing human rights training to its
police force and taking action to remove corrupt officials, but adds that resource
limitations prevent more sweeping efforts to curb abuses. Virtually all observers
agree that Afghans are freer than they were under the Taliban. The press is relatively
free and Afghan political groupings and parties are able to meet and organize freely,
but there are also abuses based on ethnicity or political factionalism and arbitrary
implementation of justice by local leaders. Another issue that has arisen in 2007 are
draft press law, each passed by the different houses of Afghanistan’s parliament,
that would increase government control over private media. Since the Taliban era,
more than 40 private radio stations, seven television networks, and 350 independent
newspapers have opened.
The State Department International Religious Freedom report for 2007 (released
September 14, 2007 says that “there was an increase in the number of reports of
problems involving religious freedom compared to previous years.” There continues
to be discrimination against the Shiite (Hazara) minority and some other minorities
such as Sikhs and Hindus. In May 2007, a directorate under the Supreme Court
declared the Baha’i faith to be a form of blasphemy. Others have noted that the
government has reimposed some Islamic restrictions that characterized Taliban rule,
including the code of criminal punishments stipulated in Islamic law. Other accounts
say that alcohol is increasingly difficult to obtain in restaurants and stores.
A major religious freedom case earned congressional attention in March 2006.
An Afghan man, Abd al-Rahman, who had converted to Christianity 16 years ago
while working for a Christian aid group in Pakistan, was imprisoned and faced a
potential death penalty trial for apostasy — his refusal to convert back to Islam.
Facing international pressure, Karzai prevailed on Kabul court authorities to release
him on March 29, 2006; he subsequently went to Italy and sought asylum there. His
release came the same day the House passed H.Res. 736 calling on the Afghan
government to protect Afghan converts from prosecution. Another case that
demonstrated judicial conservatism on religious matters was the October 2005
Afghan Supreme Court conviction of a male journalist, Ali Nasab (editor of the
monthly “Women’s Rights” magazine), of blasphemy; he was sentenced to two years
USAID/Afghanistan: Budget and Obligations.
For text, see [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78868.htm].
in prison for articles about apostasy. A Kabul court reduced his sentence to time
served and he was freed in December 2005. The 2006 installation of a more
progressive Supreme Court has contributed to an absence of similar cases in 2007.
Afghanistan was placed in Tier 2 in the State Department report on human
trafficking issued in June 2007. The government is assessed as making significant
efforts to comply with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking. Some reports
say that women from China and Central Asia are being trafficked into Afghanistan
for sexual exploitation, in some cases to work in night clubs purportedly frequented
by members of many international NGOs.
An Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has been formed
to monitor government performance and has been credited in State Department
reports with successful interventions to curb abuses. Headed by former Women’s
Affairs minister Sima Samar, it also conducts surveys of how Afghans view
governance and reconstruction efforts. The House-passed Afghan Freedom Support
Act (AFSA) reauthorization bill (H.R. 2446) would authorize $10 million per year
for this Commission until FY2010.
The United States and the Afghan government are also trying to build
democratic traditions at the local level. At the local level, an Afghan government
“National Solidarity Program,” largely funded by international donors, seeks to
create and empower local governing councils to prioritize local reconstruction
projects. Elections to these local councils have been held in several provinces, and
almost 40% of those elected have been women.13
Funding Issues. USAID has spent the following amounts on democracy and
rule of law programs for Afghanistan (including election assistance): FY2002 - $25
million; FY2003 - $42 million; FY2004 - $153 million; FY2005 - $103 million;
FY2006 - $23 million; and FY2007 - $124 million (est). For FY2008, $56 million
has been requested. The funding also includes support for civil society programs,
political party strengthening, media freedom, and local governance.
Advancement of Women. According to State Department human rights
report, the Afghan government is promoting the advancement of women, but
numerous abuses, such as denial of educational and employment opportunities,
continue primarily because of Afghanistan’s conservative traditions. The first major
development in post-Taliban Afghanistan was the establishment of a Ministry of
Women’s Affairs dedicated to improving women’s rights, although numerous
accounts say the ministry’s powers and influence are limited. It promotes the
involvement of women in business ventures, and it has promoted interpretations of
the Quran that favor participation of women in national affairs.
Three female ministers were in the 2004-2006 cabinet: former presidential
candidate Masooda Jalal (Ministry of Women’s Affairs), Sediqa Balkhi (Minister for
Khalilzad, Zalmay (Then U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan). “Democracy Bubbles Up.”
Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2004.
Martyrs and the Disabled), and Amina Afzali (Minister of Youth). However, Karzai
nominated only one (Minister of Women’s Affairs Soraya Sobhrang) in the cabinet
that followed the parliamentary elections, and she was voted down by opposition
from Islamist conservatives in parliament, leaving no women in the cabinet. In
March 2005, Karzai appointed a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, Habiba
Sohrabi, as governor of Bamiyan province, inhabited mostly by Hazaras. As noted,
the constitution reserves for women at least 25% of the seats in the upper house of
parliament, and several prominent women have won seats in the new parliament,
including some who would have won even if there were no set- aside for women.
However, some NGOs and other groups believe that the women elected by the quota
system are not viewed as equally legitimate parliamentarians by male counterparts.
More generally, women are performing some jobs, such as construction work,
that were rarely held by women even before the Taliban came to power in 1996,
including in the new police force. Press reports say Afghan women are increasingly
learning how to drive. Under the new government, the wearing of the full body
covering called the burqa is no longer obligatory, and fewer women are wearing it
than was the case a few years ago. On the other hand, women’s advancement has
made women a target of Taliban attacks. Attacks on girls’ schools and athletic
facilities have increased, and on September 25, 2006, the chief of the Women’s
Affairs Ministry branch in Qandahar, Safia Amajan, was assassinated.
The Administration and Congress are taking a continued interest in the
treatment of women in Afghanistan, and U.S. officials have had some influence in
persuading the government to codify women’s rights. After the Karzai government
took office, the United States and the new Afghan government set up a U.S.-Afghan
Women’s Council to coordinate the allocation of resources to Afghan women.
Empowerment of Afghan women was a major feature of First Lady Laura Bush’s
visit to Afghanistan in March 2005. According to the State Department, the United
States has implemented over 175 projects directly in support of Afghan women,
including women’s empowerment, maternal and child health and nutrition, funding
the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, micro-finance projects, and like programs.
Funding Issues. The Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 (AFSA,
P.L. 107-327) authorized $15 million per year (FY2003-FY2006) for the Ministry of
Women’s Affairs. The House-passed AFSA reauthorization (H.R. 2446) would
authorize $5 million per year for this Ministry. Appropriations for programs for
women and girls, when specified, are contained in the tables at the end of this paper.
Combating Narcotics Trafficking.14 Narcotics trafficking is regarded by
some as the most significant problem facing Afghanistan, generating funds to sustain
the Taliban and criminal groups . Narcotics account for an estimated $2.7 billion in
value — about 27% of Afghanistan’s GDP, according to the Finance Minister in
April 2007. The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported in August 2007
that opium production had increased 34% over the previous year, that Afghanistan
is the source of about 93% of the world’s illicit opium supply, and that “...leaving
For a detailed discussion and U.S. funding on the issue, see CRS Report RL32686,
Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy, by Christopher M. Blanchard.
aside 19th Century China, no country in the world has ever produced narcotics on
such a deadly scale.” The leader of UNODC, Antonio Costa, said on November 1,
2007 that a “tsunami” of opium will hit Afghanistan’s neighbors if border security
remains weak. On the other hand, the number of “poppy free” provinces increased
to 13 from 6 (all mostly in the north, where UNODC says governance is increasing).
The cultivation growth came mostly from Helmand Province (which now produces
about 50% of Afghanistan’s total poppy crop) and other southern provinces where
the Taliban insurgency is still active.
In response to congressional calls for an increased U.S. focus on the drug
problem, in March 2007 the Administration created a post of coordinator for counternarcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan, naming Thomas Schweich of the Bureau
of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) to that post. On August 9,
2007, he announced a major new counter-narcotics program and strategy that seeks
to better integrate counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency, as well as enhance and
encourage alternative livelihoods. 15
Part of the lack of progress is attributed, in part, to disagreements on a counternarcotics strategy. The Afghan government wants to focus on funding alternative
livelihoods that will dissuade Afghans from growing . Costa wrote an op-ed in the
Washington Post on April 25, 2007, speculating that major Afghan traffickers are
stockpiling opium supplies and that a fruitful new strategy should focus on finding
and arresting major traffickers. NATO commanders, who have taken over security
responsibilities throughout Afghanistan, are now focusing on interdicting traffickers
and raiding drug labs. The United States has prevailed on Afghanistan to undertake
efforts to eradicate pop py fields (by cutting down the crop manually), but the Afghan
government is resisting reported U.S. pressure conduct spraying of fields, particularly
by air. A New York Times report of October 8, 2007 says the Karzai government
is considering a U.S. proposal to undertake a trial program of ground-based spraying
Those who praise Afghan cooperation against narcotics note the December 2006
appointment of Asadullah Wafa as governor of poppy-rich Helmand Province (as
well as a new deputy governor), replacing officials less amenable to countering the
narcotics trade. Still, the failure to curb the problem may have contributed to the
July 2007 decision of the Afghan counter-narcotics Minister, Habibollah Qaderi to
resign, although family issues might have contributed to that move as well.
The U.S. military, in support of the effort, is flying Afghan and U.S. counternarcotics agents (Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA) on missions and identifying
targets; it also evacuates casualties from counter-drug operations. The Department
of Defense is also playing the major role in training and equipping specialized
Afghan counter-narcotics police, in developing an Afghan intelligence fusion cell,
and training Afghan border police, as well as assisting an Afghan helicopter squadron
to move Afghan counter-narcotics forces around the country.
Administration has taken some legal steps against suspected Afghan drug
Text of the strategy, see [http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/rpt/90561.htm#section1]
traffickers;16 in April 2005, a DEA operation successfully caught the alleged leading
Afghan narcotics trafficker, Haji Bashir Noorzai, arresting him after a flight to New
York. The United States is funding a new Counternarcotics Justice Center (estimated
cost, $8 million) in Kabul to prosecute and incarcerate suspected traffickers.17
The Bush Administration has not included Afghanistan on an annual list of
countries that have “failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts” to adhere to
international counter-narcotics agreements and take certain counter-narcotics
measures set forth in U.S. law.18 The Administration has exercised waiver provisions
to a required certification of full Afghan cooperation that was needed to provide more
than $225 million in recent U.S. economic assistance appropriations for Afghanistan.
A similar certification requirement (to provide amounts over $300 million) is
contained in the House version of the FY2008 foreign aid appropriation (H.R. 2764).
Other provisions on counter-narcotics, such as recommending a pilot crop
substitution program and cutting U.S. aid to any Afghan province whose officials
are determined complicit in drug trafficking, are contained in the AFSA
reauthorization bill (H.R. 2446). Narcotics trafficking control was perhaps the one
issue on which the Taliban, when it was in power, satisfied much of the international
community; the Taliban enforced a July 2000 ban on poppy cultivation, which
purportedly dramatically decreased cultivation.19 The Northern Alliance did not issue
a similar ban in areas it controlled.
Reconstructing Infrastructure and the Economy. U.S. and Afghan
officials see the growth in narcotics trafficking as a product of an Afghan economy
ravaged by war and lack of investment. Efforts to build the legitimate economy are
showing some results, including roads and education and health facilities constructed.
USAID has spent a total of about $320 million during FY2002-FY2007 to promote
Some international investors are implementing projects, and there is substantial
new construction, such as the Serena luxury hotel that opened in November 2005 and
a $25 million new Coca Cola bottling factory that opened in Kabul on September 11,
2006. Several Afghan companies are growing as well, including Roshan and Afghan
Wireless (cell phone service), and Tolo Television. A Gold’s Gym has opened in
Kabul as well. On the other hand, the 52-year-old national airline, Ariana, is said to
be in significant financial trouble due to corruption that has affected its safety ratings
and left it unable to service a heavy debt load. Some Afghan leaders complain that
Cameron-Moore, Simon. “U.S. to Seek Indictment of Afghan Drug Barons.” Reuters,
November 2, 2004.
Risen, James. “Poppy Fields Are Now a Front Line in Afghanistan War.” New York
Times, May 16, 2007.
This is equivalent to the listing by the United States, as Afghanistan has been listed every
year since 1987, as a state that is uncooperative with U.S. efforts to eliminate drug
trafficking or has failed to take sufficient steps on its own to curb trafficking.
Crossette, Barbara. “Taliban Seem to Be Making Good on Opium Ban, U.N. Says.” New
York Times, February 7, 2001.
not enough has been done to revive such potentially lucrative industries as minerals
mining, such as of copper and lapis lazuli (a stone used in jewelry).
The United States is trying to build on Afghanistan’s post-war economic
rebound. In September 2004, the United States and Afghanistan signed a bilateral
trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA). These agreements are generally
seen as a prelude to a broader but more complex bilateral free trade agreement, but
negotiations on an FTA have not begun to date. Another concept has been to develop
joint Afghan-Pakistan industrial zones, goods produced in which would receive duty
free treatment upon entry into the United States. On December 13, 2004, the 148
countries of the World Trade Organization voted to start membership talks with
Afghanistan’s prospects also appeared to brighten by the announcement in
March 2006 of an estimated 3.6 billion barrels of oil and 36.5 trillion cubic feet of
gas reserves. Experts believe these amounts, if proved, could make Afghanistan
relatively self-sufficient in energy and possibly able to provided some exports to its
Afghan officials are said to be optimistic for increased trade with Central Asia
when a new bridge opens later this year over the Panj River, dividing Afghanistan
from Tajikistan. The bridge is being built with U.S. assistance. The bridge will
likely build on what press reports say is robust reconstruction and economic
development in the relatively peaceful and ethnically homogenous province of
Panjshir, the political base of the Northern Alliance.
Another major energy project remains under consideration. During 1996-1998,
the Clinton Administration supported proposed natural gas and oil pipelines through
western Afghanistan as an incentive for the warring factions to cooperate. A
consortium led by Los Angeles-based Unocal Corporation proposed a $2.5 billion
Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CentGas), which is now estimated to cost $3.7 billion to
construct, that would originate in southern Turkmenistan and pass through
Afghanistan to Pakistan, with possible extensions into India.20 The deterioration in
U.S.-Taliban relations after 1998 largely ended hopes for the pipeline projects while
the Taliban was in power.
Prospects for the project have improved in the post-Taliban period. In a
summit meeting in late May 2002 between the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan,
and Pakistan, the three countries agreed to revive the gas pipeline project. Sponsors
of the project held an inaugural meeting on July 9, 2002 in Turkmenistan, signing a
series of preliminary agreements. Turkmenistan’s new leadership favors the project
as well because it is following the policies of the late President Niyazov. Some U.S.
officials view this project as a superior alternative to a proposed gas pipeline from
Iran to India, transiting Pakistan.
Other participants in the Unocal consortium include Delta of Saudi Arabia, Hyundai of
South Korea, Crescent Steel of Pakistan, Itochu Corporation and INPEX of Japan, and the
government of Turkmenistan. Some accounts say Russia’s Gazprom would probably
receive a stake in the project. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), October 30, 1997, p. 3.
The five-year development strategy outlined in the “London Compact” adopted
at the January 31-February 1, 2006, London conference on Afghanistan re-states that
the sectors discussed below are priorities, which also comport with Afghanistan’s
own “National Strategy for Development.” Some statistics on what has been
accomplished are shown in the table earlier in this paper. However, some of the
more stable provinces, such as Bamiyan, are complaining that international aid is
flowing mostly to the restive provinces in an effort to quiet them, and ignoring the
needs of poor Afghans in peaceful areas. Later in this paper are tables showing U.S.
appropriations of assistance to Afghanistan, including some detail on funds
earmarked for categories of civilian reconstruction .
Roads. Road building is considered a U.S. priority. To date
(including FY2007), USAID has spent about $1.491 billion on road
building in Afghanistan, the agency’s largest project category there.
Despite progress on road building, many villages remain isolated by
poor and non-existent roads and former commander of U.S. forces
in Afghanistan Gen. Eikenberry said “where the roads end, the
Taliban begin.” Among projects completed: the Kabul-Qandahar
roadway project; the Qandahar-Herat roadway, funded by the United
States, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, completed by 2006; a road from
Qandahar to Tarin Kowt, built by U.S. military personnel,
inaugurated in 2005; and a road linking the Panjshir Valley to Kabul.
U.S. funds are also building a Khost-Gardez road; roads in
Badakhshan Province; and 200 miles of new roads in Qandahar,
Uruzgan, Nuristan, Kunar, Paktika, and Ghazni provinces.
Education. Despite the success in enrolling Afghan children in
school since the Taliban era (see statistics above), setbacks have
occurred because of Taliban attacks on schools, causing some to
close. During FY2002-2007, USAID has spent a total of $343
million on the education sector.
Health. The health care sector, as noted by Afghan observers, has
made considerable gains in reducing infant mortality and improving
Afghans’ access to health professionals. In addition to U.S.
assistance to develop the health sector’s capacity, Egypt operates a
65-person field hospital at Bagram Air Base that instructs Afghan
physicians. Jordan operates a similar facility in Mazar-e-Sharif.
During FY2002-FY2007, USAID has spent $380 million on the
Agriculture. According to the director of the USAID mission at
U.S. Embassy Kabul, USAID ($300 million spent on the sector
during FY2002-FY2007) has helped Afghanistan double its
agricultural output over the past five years. Afghan officials say
agricultural assistance and development should be a top U.S. priority
as part of a strategy of encouraging legitimate alternatives to poppy
Electricity. The London Compact states that the goal is for
electricity to reach 65% of households in urban areas and 25% in
rural areas by 2010. Press reports say that there are severe power
shortages in Kabul, partly because the city population has swelled to
nearly 4 million, up from half a million when the Taliban was in
power. The Afghan government, with help from international
donors, plans to import electricity from Central Asian and other
neighbors beginning in 2009 to help address the shortages. USAID
has spent about $570 million on the sector during FY2002-FY2007.
A major pending project is the Kajaki Dam, located in unstable
Helmand Province. USAID has allocated about $500 million to
refurbish the dam (total project estimate, when completed) which,
when functional, will provide electricity for 1.7 million Afghans and
about 4,000 jobs in the reconstruction. However, progress depends
on securing access to the dam; surrounding roads and areas are
controlled by or accessible to Taliban insurgents.
Post-War Security Operations and
Force Capacity Building
The top security priority of the Administration has been to prevent Al Qaeda
and the Taliban from challenging the Afghan government. The pillars of the U.S.
security effort are : (1) continuing combat operations by U.S. and other coalition
forces in Afghanistan; (2) peacekeeping by a NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF); ( 3) U.S. and NATO expansion of “provincial
reconstruction teams” (PRTs); and ( 4) the equipping and training of an Afghan
National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) force.
The Combat Environment, U.S. Operations, and Operation
Enduring Freedom (OEF)
U.S. troop levels (U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM) have increased over
the past year to combat the Taliban resurgence, even though, as of October 5, 2006,
NATO/ISAF leads peacekeeping operations, including combat in the restive areas.
About 60% of U.S. troops in Afghanistan (numbers are in the security indicators
table below) are under NATO command and the remainder are under direct U.S.
command as part of the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), conducting
combat against Al Qaeda, Taliban, and other militant formations primarily in eastern
Afghanistan. These forces report to Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, head of Combined
Joint Task Force 82 (CJTF-82), headquartered at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul.
The NATO/ISAF force is headed as of February 2007 by U.S. Gen. Dan McNeil,
taking over from U.K. General David Richards.
Incremental costs of U.S.
operations in Afghanistan appear to be running about $2 billion per month. For
further information, see CRS Report RL33110, The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11, by Amy Belasco.
Prior to the transfer to NATO command, nineteen coalition countries —
primarily Britain, France, Canada, and Italy — were contributing approximately
4,000 combat troops to OEF, but almost all of these have now been “re-badged” to
the expanded NATO-led ISAF mission. Some foreign contingents remain part of
OEF only, and not NATO/ISAF – these include 200 South Korean forces at Bagram
Air Base (mainly combat engineers) and a small unit of soldiers from the United
Arab Emirates, one of whom was captured in action in June 2007. (On July 21,
2007, two days after Taliban militants kidnapped 23 South Korean church group
visitors in Ghazni province, South Korea said their forces would withdraw by the
end of 2007. South Korea reiterated that pledge as part of the purported deal that
ended the incident with the August 29 release of the remaining 21 captives – two
were killed during their captivity. The Taliban kidnappers did not get the demanded
release of 23 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government). France provides
helicopters to OEF and trains Afghan special forces. Japan has provided naval
refueling capabilities in the Arabian sea, but the mission ended in October 2007
following a parliamentary change of majority there in July 2007 and the subsequent
change of the Prime Minister. The United States leads a multi-national naval
interdiction mission in the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea (headquartered in Bahrain)
intended to prevent the movement of terrorists from Afghanistan/Pakistan across
In the four years after the fall of the Taliban, U.S. forces and Afghan troops
fought relatively low levels of Taliban insurgent violence. The United States and
Afghanistan conducted “Operation Mountain Viper” (August 2003); “Operation
Avalanche” (December 2003); “Operation Mountain Storm” (March-July 2004)
against Taliban remnants in and around Uruzgan province, home province of Mullah
Umar; “Operation Lightning Freedom” (December 2004-February 2005); and
“Operation Pil (Elephant)” in Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan (October 2005).
By 2005, U.S. commanders had believed that the combat, coupled with overall
political and economic reconstruction, had weakened the insurgency to the point of
virtual irrelevance. I
The Taliban Resurgence. An upsurge of violence in mid-2006 took some
observers by surprise because the insurgency had been low level for several years,
and there has been a widely held view among observers that the Taliban are
politically unpopular, even in the conservative Pashtun areas where the movement
is operating. Taliban insurgents, increasingly adapting suicide and roadside
bombing characteristic of the Iraq insurgency, nonetheless were able to step up
attacks, particularly in Uruzgan, Helmand, Qandahar, and Zabol Provinces, areas
that NATO/ISAF assumed responsibility for on July 31, 2006. The unexpected
violence at first led to U.S. military comments that the Taliban was “growing in
influence” in the south, and there was debate about whether the resurgence was
driven by popular frustration with the widely perceived corruption within the Karzai
government and the slow pace of economic reconstruction. Some believe that
Afghans in the restive areas were intimidated by the Taliban into providing food and
shelter, while others believe that some villages welcome any form of justice, even if
administered by the Taliban. Taliban attacks on schools, teachers, and other civilian
infrastructure have reportedly caused popular anger against the movement, but others
say they appreciate the Taliban’s reputation for avoiding corruption. The Afghan
government asserts that the increase in the insurgency is because Pakistan is not
denying the Taliban a safe haven there.
Fighting was intense between May and August 2006, as NATO forces fought
large (300-person) Taliban formations in those provinces. In mid-2006, the U.S. and
NATO forces launched “Operation Mountain Lion” and “Operation Mountain
Thrust.” In August 2006, Operation Medusa was considered a success in ousting
Taliban fighters from the Panjwai district near Qandahar, although insurgents have
since regrouped, to some extent, in Panjwai and environs, taking advantage of
Canadian troop rotations. Operation Medusa also demonstrated that NATO would
conduct intensive combat in Afghanistan. Following that operation, Taliban
commanders admitted they were conducting a “tactical retreat” from the southern
provinces, and began to operate in provinces more north and west, including Ghazni
(site of the South Koreans’ kidnapping discussed above), Paktika, Lowgar, Paktia,
and Farah. In the aftermath of Medusa, British forces entered into an agreement
with tribal elders in the Musa Qala district of Helmand Province, under which they
would secure the main town of the district without an active NATO presence. That
strategy failed when the Taliban captured Musa Qala town in February 2007. NATO
operations have not tried to retake Musa Qala to date, although a large battle flared
there in late October 2007.
In early 2007, U.S. and NATO commanders sought to preempt an anticipated
Taliban “spring offensive” by an estimated 8,000 Taliban fighters. The effort
depended on added NATO forces, including about 3,200 U.S. troops and another
3,800 pledged by other NATO countries, discussed below. In a preemptive move
against Taliban preparations, on March 6, 2007, about 4,500 NATO troops and 1,000
Afghan soldiers conducted “Operation Achilles” to combat militants massing in the
Sangin district of northern Helmand Province. One purpose of the operation was to
pacify the area around the key Kajaki dam that needs additional construction work;
when completed, it will supply electricity to the surrounding areas. Another
objective was to carve out and expands islands of stability and reconstruction to
attract popular support in the restive areas. The Taliban “offensive” largely did not
materialize, and U.S. and NATO commanders say their efforts have deprived the
Taliban of the ability to control substantial swaths of territory. Taliban militants are
often killed 50 or 60 at a time by coalition airstrikes, in part because the Taliban,
lacking popular support, must move in remote areas where they are easily located and
struck. The NATO operations, and a related offensive in late April 2007 (Operation
Silicon), had a major success on May 12, 2007, when the purportedly ruthless leader
of the Taliban insurgency in the south, Mullah Dadullah, was tracked by U.S. and
NATO forces and killed in Helmand Province. A U.S. airstrike in late December
2006 killed another prominent commander, Mullah Akhtar Usmani.
Still, the Taliban has shown substantial resilience. It has conducted several
major suicide bombings, such as one in Kabul on June 17, 2007, which killed about
35 Afghan police recruits on a bus, and two more in late September and early
October 2007, targeting Afghan security recruits, as well as a July 10 bombing that
killed 13 schoolchildren. On February 27, 2007, the Taliban claimed responsibility
for a suicide bombing inside the first of several security perimeters around of Bagram
Air Base, north of Kabul, where visiting Vice President Cheney was staying. U.S.
military spokespersons said Cheney was far from the bomb site. Taliban formations
have conducted frontal assaults on U.S. combat outposts in Qandahar Province, and
the continuing security threat in Helmand Province prompted a 2,500 troop NATOled operation in September 2007 (“Operation Palk Wahel”) in the Gereshk Valley of
Helmand. In October 2007, the Taliban sent several hundred fighters to villages
within a few miles of Qandahar city, prompting heavy fighting with NATO forces
that reportedly have the Taliban militant surrounded.
Other developments the
United States finds worrisome was the Taliban’s first use of a surface-to-air missile
(SAM-7, shoulder held) against a U.S. C-130 transport aircraft, although it did not
hit the aircraft. These developments have led to some assessments that the Taliban
is continuing to make gains, but U.S. and Afghan officials dispute these assessments,
saying that security incidents are manageable and that incidents outside the south and
east are few and far between. Still, Secretary of Defense Gates told other NATO
countries in October 2007 to fulfill pledges for about another 3,500 troops to help
conduct combat in the south.
In the context of battlefield operations, the Afghan government – including
Karzai and the Afghan parliament – has become increasingly critical of civilian
casualties resulting from U.S. and NATO operations, particularly air strikes. In a
joint meeting on May 21, 2007, President Bush and NATO Secretary General Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer said that U.S. and NATO operations were seeking to avoid civilian
casualties but that such results were sometimes inevitable in the course of fighting
the Taliban. President Bush and President Karzai said they discussed the issue
during their Camp David meetings in early August 2007. With Karzai saying in
October 2007 that he had asked for a halt to the use of air strikes, NATO is
reportedly considering using smaller air force munitions to limit collateral damage
from air strikes, or increased use of ground operations.
Despite recent losses, the Taliban command structure remains mostly intact and
believed to be working with Al Qaeda leaders still at large; some are able to give
interviews to Pakistani (Geo television) and other media stations. In addition to
Mullah Umar, Jalaludin Haqqani remains at large, leading an insurgent faction
operating around Khost. Haqqani is believed to have contact with Al Qaeda leaders
in part because one of his wives is purportedly Arab. Dadullah has been replaced by
his brother, Dadullah Mansoor. (Mansoor was one of five Taliban leaders released
in March 2007 in exchange for the freedom of kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele
Mastrogiacomo.) The Taliban has several official spokespersons, including Qari
Yusuf Ahmadi, and it operates a clandestine radio station, “Voice of Shariat,” and
Feelers to the Taliban. Some Taliban militants have renounced their past
and joined the political process under Karzai’s offers of amnesty. As noted above,
several Taliban figures, including its foreign minister Wakil Mutawwakil, ran in the
parliamentary elections. The Taliban official who was governor of Bamiyan
Province when the Buddha statues there were blown up, Mohammad Islam
Mohammedi — and who was later elected to the post-Taliban parliament from
Samangan Province — was assassinated in Kabul in January 2007. Karzai prompted
some Northern Alliance criticism in April 2007 with an admission that he himself
had met some Taliban militants in an effort to bring them over to the government
side. However, such overtures have been going on for years, and even as recently as
September 9, 2007, Karzai has called for talks with Taliban fighters who want to
consider ending their fight. In late September 2007, Karzai even appeared to go
back on his earlier statements that about 100-150 of the top Taliban leadership would
not be eligible for amnesty, by offering to meet with Mullah Umar himself. The
Taliban rejected the offer, saying they would not consider reconciling until (1) all
foreign troops leave Afghanistan; (2) a new “Islamic” constitution is adopted; and (3)
Islamic law is imposed.
Whereabouts of Bin Laden and Other Militants. Complicating the
U.S. mission has been the difficulty in locating so-called “high value targets” of Al
Qaeda: leaders believed to be in Pakistan but who are believed able to direct Al
Qaeda fighters to assist the Taliban. The two most notable are Osama bin Laden
himself and his close ally, Ayman al-Zawahiri. They reportedly escaped the U.S.Afghan offensive against the Al Qaeda stronghold of Tora Bora in eastern
Afghanistan in December 2001. 21 A purported U.S.-led strike reportedly missed
Zawahiri by a few hours in the village of Damadola, Pakistan, in January 2006,
suggesting that the United States and Pakistan have some intelligence on his
movements. 22 During his visit to the United States in August 2007, Karzai told
journalists that U.S. and Afghan officials are no closer than previously to determining
bin Laden’s location. Several press reports in February and March 2007, reaffirmed
in unclassified portions of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), released July 2007,
say that Al Qaeda is strengthening in the tribal areas of Pakistan, although this is
considered outside the reach of U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan. Other reports
say there are a growing number of Al Qaeda militants now being identified on the
Another “high value target” identified by U.S. commanders is the Hikmatyar
faction (Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, HIG) allied with Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents.
His fighters are operating in Kunar Province, east of Kabul. On February 19, 2003,
the U.S. government formally designated Hikmatyar as a “Specially Designated
Global Terrorist,” under the authority of Executive Order 13224, subjecting it to
financial and other U.S. sanctions. It is not formally designated as a “Foreign
Terrorist Organization,” but it is included in the section on “other terrorist groups”
in the State Department’s report on international terrorism for 2004, released April
2005. Some accounts suggest that a Special Operations team ambushed in June 2005
might have been searching for Hikmatyar; a U.S. helicopter sent to rescue the team
was shot down, killing the 16 aboard. On July 19, 2007, Hikmatyar injected some
optimism into the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by issuing a statement declaring a
willingness to discuss a cease-fire with the Karzai government, although no firm
reconciliation talks have been held between HIG and the Karzai government.
U.S. Military Presence/Use of Facilities. Even if the Taliban insurgency
ends, Afghan leaders say they want the United States to maintain a long-term
presence in Afghanistan, although U.S. officials have not committed to that outcome.
On May 8, 2005, Karzai summoned about 1,000 delegates to a consultative jirga in
For more information on the search for the Al Qaeda leadership, see CRS Report
RL33038, Al Qaeda: Profile and Threat Assessment, by Kenneth Katzman.
Gall, Carlotta and Ismail Khan. U.S. Drone Attack Missed Zawahiri by Hours. New York
Times, November 10, 2006.
Kabul on whether to host permanent U.S. bases. They supported an indefinite
presence of international forces to maintain security but urged Karzai to delay a
decision. On May 23, 2005, Karzai and President Bush issued a “joint declaration”
providing for U.S. forces to have access to Afghan military facilities, in order to
prosecute “the war against international terror and the struggle against violent
extremism.” The joint statement did not give Karzai enhanced control over facilities
used by U.S. forces, over U.S. operations, or over prisoners taken during operations.
Some of the bases, both in and near Afghanistan, that support combat in Afghanistan,
include those in the table.
Table 1. Afghan and Regional Facilities Used for
Operations in Afghanistan
50 miles north of Kabul, the operational hub of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and
base for CJTF-82. At least 500 U.S. military personnel are based there,
assisted by about 175 South Korean troops. Handles many of the 150 U.S.
aircraft (including helicopters) in country. Hospital under construction, one of
the first permanent structures there. FY2005 supplemental (P.L. 109-13)
provided about $52 million for various projects to upgrade facilities at Bagram,
including a control tower and an operations center, and the FY2006
supplemental appropriation (P.L. 109-234) provides $20 million for military
construction there. NATO also using the base and sharing operational costs.
Just outside Qandahar, bases about 500 U.S. military personnel. Major staging
area for U.S./NATO operations in southern Afghanistan.
In Farah province, about 20 miles from Iran border. Used by U.S. forces
and combat aircraft since October 2004, after the dismissal of Herat
governor Ismail Khan, whose militia forces controlled the facility.
Used by 1,200 U.S. military personnel as well as refueling and cargo aircraft.
Leadership of Kyrgyzstan changed in April 2005 in an uprising against
President Askar Akayev, but senior U.S. officials reportedly received
assurances about continued U.S. use of the base from his successor, Kurmanbek
Bakiyev. However, Bakiyev demanded a large increase in the $2 million per
year U.S. contribution for use of the base . Dispute resolved in July 2006 with
U.S. agreement to give Kyrgyzstan $150 million in assistance and base use
payments. But, Kyrgyz parliament voted in May 2007 to ask U.S. to leave the
base, an issue discussed by Defense Sec. Gates in Bishkek in June 2007.
About 2,100 U.S. military personnel there; U.S. aircraft supply U.S. forces
in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. use repeatedly extended for one year intervals
Air base used by about 1,800 U.S. military personnel, to supply U.S. forces
and related transport into Iraq and Afghanistan. P.L. 109-13 appropriated
$1.4 million to upgrade Al Dhafra.
Al Udeid Air
Largest air facility used by U.S. in region. About 10,000 U.S. personnel in
Qatar. Houses CENTCOM forward headquarters. Strike and support
missions flown into Iraq and Afghanistan, according to observers.
U.S. naval command headquarters for OEF anti-smuggling, anti-terrorism, and
anti-proliferation naval search missions, and Iraq-related naval operations (oil
platform protection) in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. About 5,100 U.S.
military personnel there.
Not used by U.S. since September 2005 following U.S.-Uzbek dispute over
May 2005 Uzbek crackdown on unrest in Andijon. Once housed about 1,750
U.S. military personnel (900 Air Force, 400 Army, and 450 civilian) in supply
missions to Afghanistan.
The NATO-Led International Security Assistance Force
As discussed above, the NATO-led “International Security Assistance Force”
(ISAF, consisting of all 26 NATO members states plus 11 partner countries) now
commands peacekeeping operations. (Table 11 lists contributing countries and their
forces contributed.) ISAF was created by the Bonn Agreement and U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1386 (December 20, 2001), 24 initially limited to Kabul.
NATO’s takeover of command of ISAF in August 2003 paved the way for an
expansion of its scope, and NATO/ISAF’s responsibilities broadened significantly
in 2004 with NATO/ISAF’s assumption of security responsibility for northern and
western Afghanistan (Stage 1, Regional Command North, in 2004 and Stage 2,
Regional Command West, in 2005, respectively). 25 The mission was most recently
renewed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1776 (September 19, 2007), which
also noted U.N. support for the Operation Enduring Freedom mission, discussed
above (although OEF did not get specific U.N. authorization when it was begun in
2001 or since).
The process continued on July 31, 2006, with the formal handover of the
security mission in southern Afghanistan to NATO/ISAF control. As part of this
“Stage 3,” a British/Canadian/Dutch-led “Regional Command South” (RC-S) was
formed. “Stage 4,” the assumption of NATO/ISAF command of peacekeeping in
fourteen provinces of eastern Afghanistan, was completed on October 5, 2006. As
part of the completion of the NATO/ISAF takeover of command, the United States
put U.S. troops operating in eastern Afghanistan under NATO/ISAF command; they
form the bulk of “Regional Command East” (RC-E). In order to avoid the
impression that foreign forces are “occupying” Afghanistan, NATO said on August
15, 2006, that it would negotiate an agreement with Afghanistan to formalize the
NATO presence in Afghanistan and stipulate 15 initiatives to secure Afghanistan and
rebuild its security forces.
Some differences between the United States and other NATO countries on the
Afghan mission remain over the size of European contributions to the mission,
although disputes appear to have lessened as contributions and commitment to
combat have increased. Subsequent to a February 2007 NATO meeting in Seville,
Spain, NATO and other ISAF members agreed to deploy 3,800 troops that U.S. and
NATO commanders in Afghanistan determined was needed to blunt the anticipated
Taliban spring offensive. Of those, about 1,100 were from Poland; Britain added
As noted above, six countries (in addition to the United States) are providing forces to
OEF, and twelve countries are providing forces to both OEF and ISAF.
Its mandate was extended until October 13, 2006, by U.N. Security Council Resolution
1623 (September 13, 2005); and until October 13, 2007, by Resolution 1707 (September 12,
In October 2003, NATO endorsed expanding its presence to several other cities,
contingent on formal U.N. approval. That NATO decision came several weeks after
Germany agreed to contribute an additional 450 military personnel to expand ISAF into the
city of Konduz. The U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1510 (October 14, 2003)
formally authorizing ISAF to deploy outside Kabul.
1,400 and its force in Afghanistan is expected to total 7,700 by the end of 2007; the
Czech Republic added 100 plus military police and a chemical warfare team; Norway
provided about 100 special forces; Lithuania added 55 special forces; and Latvia is
adding about 120 troops. Germany deployed six additional reconnaissance jets and
added 500 to its force in northern Afghanistan. Australia, which is not a member of
NATO but has contributed troops to the ISAF mission in Uruzgan, has sent almost
500 additional forces. In April 2007, NATO ministers also decided to send about
3,200 trainers for Afghan security forces - a pledge sought because the Defense
Department has had difficulty finding U.S. trainers for that role - but not yet fulfilled.
In addition, Defense Secretary Gates emphasized at a NATO meeting in Brussels on
June 14, 2007 – and again at a NATO meeting on October 26, 2007 in Heidelberg
Germany – that NATO nations had thus far not fulfilled that pledge. Secretary Gates
reportedly said in early October 2007 that the U.S. security mission in Afghanistan
is “under-resourced” because of the pressing security needs of the Iraq mission.
The NATO assumption of command represented a quieting of the initial
opposition of European NATO nations to mixing reconstruction-related
peacekeeping with anti-insurgent combat. Still, the parliaments and parties in some
force contributors are reportedly becoming restive about the mission. Press reports
in March 2007 said Italy’s Prime Minister Romano Prodi faced domestic pressure to
withdraw Italy’s forces from Afghanistan, but the Italian parliament approved an
extension of the mission in March 2007. On April 24, 2007, despite recent deaths
of 54 Canadian forces in Afghanistan to date, Canada’s House of Commons narrowly
voted to keep Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan until at least 2009. Some questions
have arisen in Germany’s parliament about whether or not Germany should reduce
its role, but the parliament voted by a 453-79 vote margin on October 12, 2007 to
maintain German troop levels in Afghanistan. As noted above, Japan has pulled out
of the OEF naval refueling mission.
National “Caveats” on Combat Operations.
Some progress has been
made in persuading other NATO countries to adopt flexible rules of engagement
that allow all contributing forces to perform combat missions, although perhaps not
as aggressively as do U.S. forces. Still, some NATO countries maintain so-called
“national caveats” on their troops’ operations that U.S. commanders say limit
operational flexibility. Germany, Italy, and Spain, for example, refuse to deploy
ground troops in the south where the mission is mostly combat, although Germany
has now given permission for at least 250 of its troops to assist with combat in the
south. Others have refused to conduct night-time combat. Still others have refused
to carry Afghan National Army or other Afghan personnel on their helicopters.
These caveats were troubling to those NATO countries with forces in heavy combat
zones, such as Canada, which feel they are bearing the brunt of the fighting and
attendant casualties. There has been some criticism of the Dutch approach in
Uruzgan, which focuses heavily on building relationships with tribal leaders and
identifying reconstruction priorities, and not on actively combating Taliban
formations. Some believe this approach allows Taliban fighters to group and expand
their influence, although the Netherlands says this approach is key to a long-term
pacification of the south. At the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia during November 2829, 2006, some NATO countries, particularly the Netherlands, Romania, and France,
pledged to remove some of these caveats, and all agreed that their forces would come
to each others’ defense in times of emergency anywhere in Afghanistan.
Another point of contention has been NATO’s chronic personnel and equipment
shortages (particularly helicopters) for the Afghanistan mission. In connection with
their increased responsibilities as of July 2006, Britain has brought in additional
equipment, including Apache attack helicopters, and the Netherlands is deploying
additional Apache helicopter and F-16 aircraft to help protect its forces in the south.
Italy has sent “Predator” unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and six AMX fighterbomber aircraft.26 Additional pledges of helicopters and equipment, including from
France, were made at the NATO summit in Riga in November 2006. At a NATO
meeting in February 2007 in Seville, Germany pledged an additional eight combat
aircraft for use in Afghanistan and in February 2007, Italy agreed to send additional
aircraft to the mission and Iceland agreed to provide additional airlift assets. Still,
the helicopter shortage persists. NATO/ISAF also coordinates with Afghan security
forces and with OEF forces as well, and it assists the Afghan Ministry of Civil
Aviation and Tourism in the operation of Kabul International Airport (where Dutch
combat aircraft also are located).
Provincial Reconstruction Teams
NATO/ISAF expansion in Afghanistan builds on a December 2002 U.S.
initiative to establish “provincial reconstruction teams” (PRTs) — military-run
enclaves that provide safe havens for international aid workers to help with
reconstruction and to extend the writ of the Kabul government. PRT activities can
range from resolving local disputes to coordinating local reconstruction projects,
although the U.S.-run PRTs, and most of the PRTs in southern Afghanistan, focus
mostly on counter-insurgency. Some aid agencies say they have felt more secure
since the PRT program began, fostering reconstruction activity in areas of PRT
operations.27 Other relief groups do not want to associate with military force because
doing so might taint their perceived neutrality. There are 25 PRTs in operation. In
conjunction with broadening NATO security responsibilities, the United States
turned over several PRTs to partner countries, and virtually all the PRTs are now
under ISAF control, but with varying lead nations. The list of the existing PRTs,
including lead country, is shown in Table 12.
Each PRT operated by the United States is composed of U.S. forces (50-100
U.S. military personnel); Defense Department civil affairs officers; representatives
of USAID, State Department, and other agencies; and Afghan government (Interior
Ministry) personnel. Most PRTs, including those run by partner forces, have
personnel to train Afghan security forces. Many U.S. PRTs in restive regions are
“co-located” with “forward operating bases” of 300-400 U.S. combat troops. U.S.
funds support PRT reconstruction projects, as shown in the tables at the report’s end.
In August 2005, in preparation for the establishment of Regional Command
South, Canada took over the key U.S.-led PRT in Qandahar. In May 2006, Britain
took over the PRT at Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province. The Netherlands
Kington, Tom. Italy Could Send UAVs, Helos to Afghanistan. Defense News, June 19,
Kraul, Chris. “U.S. Aid Effort Wins Over Skeptics in Afghanistan.” Los Angeles Times,
April 11, 2003.
took over the PRT at Tarin Kowt, capital of restive Uruzgan Province. Germany
(with Turkey and France) took over the PRTs and the leadership role in the north
from Britain and the Netherlands when those countries deployed to the south.
Representing evolution of the PRT concept, Turkey opened a PRT, in Wardak
Province, on November 25, 2006, to focus on providing health care, education, police
training, and agricultural alternatives in that region. There also has been a move to
turn over the lead in the U.S.-run PRTs to civilians rather than military personnel,
presumably State Department or USAID officials. That process began in early 2006
with the establishment of a civilian-led U.S.-run PRT in the Panjshir Valley.
USAID funds small reconstruction projects, such as water wells, from the PRTs.
During FY2002-FY2007, it has spent a total of about $290 million on such local
reconstruction projects. Another $30 million is requested for FY2008.
Afghan Security Forces
U.S. forces (“Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan,” CSTC-A,
headed as of July 2007 by Gen. Robert Cone), in partnership with French, British,
and other forces, are training the new Afghan National Army (ANA) . The table
below shows its current strength and target levels, as well as that of the Afghan
National Police (ANP). The target ANA size, 70,000, was reiterated in the London
Compact, although some observers believe the goal might be scaled back to 50,000
because of the sustainment costs to the Afghan government. Afghanistan’s Defense
Minister says that even 70,000 is highly inadequate and believes that the target size
should be at least 150,000. The United States has built four regional bases for it
(Herat, Gardez, Qandahar, and Mazar- e-Sharif).
U.S. and allied officers say that the ANA is becoming a major force in
stabilizing the country and a national symbol. The ANA now has at least some
presence in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, working with the PRTs and assisted
by embedded U.S. trainers (about ten to twenty per battalion). The ANA deployed
to Herat in March 2004 to help quell factional unrest there and to Meymaneh in April
2004 in response to Dostam’s militia movement into that city. It deployed outside
Afghanistan to assist relief efforts for victims of the October 2005 Pakistan
earthquake. It is increasingly able to conduct its own battalion-strength operations,
according to U.S. officers. In June 2007, the ANA (and ANP ) led “Operation
Maiwand” in Ghazni province, intended to open schools and deliver humanitarian
aid to people throughout the province.
Coalition officers are conducting heavy weapons training for a heavy brigade
as part of the “Kabul Corps,” based in Pol-e-Charki, east of Kabul. President Bush
said on February 15, 2007, that, to boost ANA capabilities, the United States would
help the ANA add a commando battalion and combat support units. Fully trained
recruits are paid about $100 per month; generals receive about $530 per month. The
FY2005 foreign aid appropriation (P.L. 108-447) requires that ANA recruits be
vetted for terrorism, human rights violations, and drug trafficking. President Bush
announced on February 15, 2007, that Denmark, Greece, Norway, and Slovakia
would provide additional funding for the ANA and ANP. The Indian press reported
on April 24, 2007 that a team from the Indian Army would go to Afghanistan to help
train the ANA.28
Other officers report continuing personnel (desertion, absentee) problems, ill
discipline, and drug abuse, although some concerns have been addressed. Some
accounts say that a typical ANA unit is only at about 50% of its authorized strength
at any given time. At the time the United States first began establishing the ANA,
Northern Alliance figures reportedly weighted recruitment for the national army
toward its Tajik ethnic base. Many Pashtuns, in reaction, refused recruitment or left
the ANA program. U.S. officials in Afghanistan say this problem has been at least
partly alleviated with better pay and more close involvement by U.S. forces, and that
the force is ethnically integrated in each unit. The naming of a Pashtun, Abdul
Rahim Wardak, as Defense Minister in December 2004 also reduced desertions
among Pashtuns (he remains in that position). The chief of staff is Gen. Bismillah
Khan, a Tajik who was a Northern Alliance commander. U.S. officers in
Afghanistan add that some recruits take long trips to their home towns to remit funds
to their families, and often then return to the ANA after a long absence. Others,
according to U.S. observers, often refuse to serve far from their home towns.
An Afghan Air Force, a carryover from the Afghan Air Force that existed prior
to the Soviet invasion, remains, although it has virtually no aircraft to fly. It has
about 400 pilots, as well as 28 aging helicopters and a few cargo aircraft. President
Bush said on February 15, 2007, that a helicopter unit would be added to provide
additional airlift capability. Russia overhauled 11 of these craft in 2004, but the
equipment is difficult to maintain. Afghan pilots are based at Bagram air base.
Afghanistan is seeking the return of 26 aircraft, including some MiG-2s that were
flown to safety in Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the past conflicts in Afghanistan.
ANA Armament. Equipment, maintenance, and logistical difficulties continue
to plague the ANA. Few soldiers have helmets, many have no armored vehicles or
armor. The table below discusses major equipment donations.
Indian television news channel NDTV. April 24, 2007.
Table 2. Recent and Pending Foreign Equipment
Donations to ANA
Major $2 billion value announced May 2006, to be delivered
through end of 2007. Includes several hundred Humvees, 800
other various armored vehicles. Also includes light weapons.
Authorized total drawdown ceiling (un-reimbursed by
appropriations) is $550 million; H.R. 2446 - AFSA
reauthorization – would increase ceiling to $300 million/year.
Afghanistan is eligible to receive grant U.S. Excess Defense
Articles (EDA) under Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance
20,500 assault rifles
17,000 small arms
4 helicopters and other equipment, part of over $100 million
military aid to Afghanistan thus far
24 – 155 mm Howitzers
50 mortars, 500 binoculars
12 helicopters and 20,000 machine guns
4,000 machine guns plus ammunition
300 machine guns
337 rocket-propelled grenades, 8 mortars, 13,000 arms
3.7 million ammunition rounds
1,600 machine guns
110 armored personnel carriers, 4 million ammo rounds
3 fire trucks
2,200 rounds of 155 mm ammo
1,000 machine guns plus ammo
Afghan National Police/Justice Sector. U.S. and Afghan officials
believe that building up a credible and capable national police force is at least as
important to combating the Taliban insurgency as building the ANA. The U.S.
police training effort was first led by State Department/INL, primarily through a
contract with DynCorp, but the Defense Department took over the lead in police
training in April 2005. It has focused on increasing police pay, providing new
equipment, and weeding out corruption, although with mixed success to date. There
are currently seven police training centers around Afghanistan. To address the
widely cited continuing inadequacy of ANP presence around Afghanistan, the U.S.led coalition began a program in August 2006 to hire 11,200 “auxiliary police” to
serve in the restive south. Police figures are provided in Table 2. In addition to the
U.S. effort, Germany (technically the lead government in Afghan police training) is
providing 41 trainers. To accelerate the effort, the European Union announced on
February 12, 2007, that its countries would send an additional 160 police trainers and
60 other experts to help train the ANP. Some will be from Romania. As noted
above, the United States and NATO are trying to provide an additional 3,200 trainers
for the ANP, of which 2,350 would be embedded in police stations around
Afghanistan, but with mixed success identifying personnel available to date. As
noted above, Germany is considering providing more trainers for the ANP and the
To address equipment shortages, in 2007 CSTC-A is providing about 8,000 new
vehicles and thousands of new weapons of all types. A report by the Inspectors
General of the State and Defense Department, circulated to Congress in December
2006, found that most ANP units have less than 50% of their authorized equipment, 29
among its significant criticisms. International donors have also furnished $120
million in cash for the Afghan National Police.
Many experts believe that comprehensive police and justice sector reform is
vital to Afghan governance. Police training now includes instruction in human rights
principles and democratic policing concepts, and the State Department human rights
report on Afghanistan, referenced above, says the government and outside observers
are increasingly monitoring the police force to prevent abuses. However, some
governments criticized Karzai for setting back police reform in June 2006 when he
approved a new list of senior police commanders that included 11 (out of 86 total)
who had failed merit exams. His approval of the 11 were reportedly to satisfy faction
leaders and went against the recommendations of a police reform committee. The
ANP work in the communities they come from, often embroiling them in local
factional or ethnic disputes. Another problem is widespread corruption, because
ANP recruits were receiving salaries of about $70 per month, they reputedly
encouraged bribery to supplement these earnings, causing popular resentment. Base
salaries were raised in mid-2007 to $100 per month in an effort to alleviate some of
these widespread difficulties. .
The State Department (INL) has placed 30 U.S. advisors in the Interior Ministry
to help it develop the national police force and counter-narcotics capabilities. U.S.
trainers are also building Border Police and Highway Patrol forces (which are
included in the police figures cited).
U.S. justice sector programs generally focus on building capacity of the judicial
system, including police training and court construction; many of these programs are
conducted in partnership with Italy, which is the “lead” coalition country on judicial
reform. The United States has trained over 750 judges, lawyers, and prosecutors,
according to President Bush on February 15, 2007, and built 40 judicial facilities.
USAID also trains court administrators for the Ministry of Justice, the office of the
Inspectors General, U.S. Department of State and of Defense. Interagency Assessment
of Afghanistan Police Training and Readiness. November 2006. Department of State report
Attorney General, and the Supreme Court. On February 15, 2007, President Bush
also praised Karzai’s formation of a Criminal Justice Task Force that is trying to
crack down on official corruption, and the United States, Britain, and Norway are
providing mentors to the Afghan judicial officials involved in that effort.
U.S. Security Forces Funding. U.S. funds appropriated for Peacekeeping
Operations (PKO funds) are used to cover ANA salaries. Recent appropriations for
the ANA and ANP are contained in the tables at the end of this paper. As noted in
the table, the security forces funding has shifted to DOD funds instead of assistance
funds controlled by the State Department.
Table 3. Major Security-Related Indicators
Total U.S. Forces in
About 27,000, up from about 19,000 in 2005.
U.S. Forces Not Under ISAF
12,000 for OEF combat, primarily in east. A few thousand
training Afghan security forces or are attached to PRTs.
OEF Partner Forces not under
under 1,000. Has decreased as NATO/ISAF has taken over
nationwide peacekeeping as of October 5, 2006
387 killed, of which 259 by hostile action. Additional 62 U.S.
deaths in other theaters of OEF, including the Phillipines and
parts of Africa (OEF-Trans Sahara). About 250 NATO/partner
Afghan Casualties (including
Taliban fighters; all types of
About 5,200 since January 2007
About 41,000 (incl. 15,000 U.S. under ISAF command).
Compares to 12,000 ISAF in 2005; and 6,000 in 2003.
(Regional Commands- south,
east, north, west, and
RC-S - 8,660
RC-E - 13,765
RC-N - 3,140
RC-W - 2,400
RC-Kabul - 4,800
national contingent commands - 6, 450
Afghan National Army (ANA) 39,000 current, with 70,000 official goal by 2010
Afghan National Police (ANP) 71,000 on duty, of which 50,000 are both trained and equipped.
375 U.S. advisors, mostly contractors. Goal is 82,000.
Legally Armed Fighters
disarmed by DDR
63,380; all of the pool identified for the program
Armed Groups disbanded by
40 commanders in areas of the following provinces have
disarmed: Badakhshan, Takhar, Kapisa, Laghman, Paktia,
Baghlan, Ghazni. Goal is to disband 1,800 groups, of which
several hundred are “significant” (five or more fighters).
Weapons Collected by DDR
DDR: 36,000 medium and light; 12,250 heavy. DIAG: 3,800
heavy weapons, 25,000 light weapons
Number of Suicide Bombings
21 in 2005; 123 in 2006. In 2007: about 103 through Aug. 31.
Number of Improvised
Explosive Devices (IED’s)
515 in 2007 thus far
Afghans Killed by Landmines
700 in 2006 vs. 1,700 in 2002
Although most of Afghanistan’s neighbors believe that the fall of the Taliban
has stabilized the region, some experts believe that some neighboring governments
are attempting to manipulate Afghanistan’s factions to their advantage, even though
six of Afghanistan’s neighbors signed a non-interference pledge (Kabul Declaration)
on December 23, 2002. In November 2005, Afghanistan joined the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and Afghanistan has observer status
in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is discussed below.
Afghan leaders resent Pakistan because it was the most public defender of the
Taliban movement when it was in power and they suspect it wants to restore a
Taliban regime. (Pakistan was one of only three countries to formally recognize it
as the legitimate government: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the
others). Pakistan purportedly viewed the Taliban as providing Pakistan strategic
depth against rival India. Pakistan ended its public support for the Taliban after the
September 11, 2001, attacks. For its part, Pakistan is wary that any Afghan
government might fall under the influence of India, which Pakistan says is using its
diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan to train and recruit anti-Pakistan insurgents, and
is using its reconstruction funds to build influence there.
The efforts by Afghanistan and Pakistan to build post-Taliban relations have
not recovered from a sharp setback in March 2006, when Afghan leaders stepped up
accusations that Pakistan was allowing Taliban remnants from operating there. Some
progress was made during a September 6, 2006, visit by President Musharraf to
Kabul where he pledged to seek out and destroy the Pakistan-based command
structure of the Taliban. Despite continuing mutual accusations during visits by
Karzai and Musharraf to Washington, D.C. in late September, further progress was
made at a joint dinner for Karzai and Musharraf hosted by President Bush on
September 28, 2006. At that session, the two leaders agreed to gather tribal elders
on both sides of their border to persuade them not to host Taliban militants.
Reflecting continuing differences, in October 2006 Karzai said that Mullah
Umar is hiding in the Pakistani city of Quetta, an allegation denied by Pakistan. In
a New York Times interview published April 1, 2007, Karzai accused Pakistani
security forces of sheltering Umar, saying Afghanistan had “solid, clear information
indicating this.” In a press interview on February 2, 2007, President Musharraf
tacitly acknowledged that some senior Taliban leaders might be able to operate from
Pakistan but strongly denied that any Pakistani intelligence agencies were
deliberately assisting the Taliban.
In a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Kabul in January
2007, Karzai strongly criticized a Pakistani plan to mine and fence their common
border in an effort to prevent infiltration of militants to Afghanistan. Even though
the move was a Pakistani attempt to increase its efforts to help Afghanistan, Karzai
said the move would separate tribes and families that straddle the border. He said
there was still an “increasing lack of trust” between the countries. Pakistan
subsequently dropped the idea of mining the border, but is beginning to build some
fencing. On May 1, 2007, Musharraf and Karzai reached agreement on a bilateral
intelligence sharing plan to undermine extremists on both sides of the border, and
U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani military officers have been meeting on either side of the
border to coordinate efforts against extremists. After one such meeting in May
2007, an unknown assailant killed a U.S. soldier on the Pakistani side of the border.
On May 17, 2007, about 1,000 Afghans demonstrated at the Pakistan embassy in
Kabul to protest recent clashes between Afghan and Pakistani border guards. At the
same time, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have acknowledged that they are now shelling
purported Taliban positions inside the Pakistani side of the border, and even doing
some “hot pursuit” a few kilometers over the border into Pakistan.
Particularly following failed assassination attempts in December 2003 against
President Musharraf, Pakistan has exerted substantial efforts against Al Qaeda. In
March 2004, about 70,000 Pakistani forces began a major battle with about 300-400
suspected Al Qaeda fighters in the Waziristan area, reportedly with some support
from U.S. intelligence and other indirect support. The U.S. military acknowledged
in April 2005 that it is training Pakistani commandos to fight Al Qaeda fighters in
Pakistan.30 This activity represents a continuation of Pakistan’s support against Al
Qaeda after the September 11 attacks. Pakistan provided the United States with
access to Pakistani airspace, some ports, and some airfields for OEF. Pakistan also
has arrested over 550 Al Qaeda fighters, some of them senior operatives, and turned
them over to the United States. Among those captured by Pakistan are top bin Laden
aide Abu Zubaydah (captured April 2002); alleged September 11 plotter Ramzi bin
Al Shibh (September 11, 2002); top Al Qaeda planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
(March 2003); and a top planner, Abu Faraj al-Libbi (May 2005).
A U.S. shift toward the Afghan position on Pakistan increased following a New
York Times report of February 19, 2007, that Al Qaeda leaders, possibly including
Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, had re-established some small Al Qaeda
terrorist training camps in Pakistan, near the Afghan border. The regrouping of
militants is said to be an outgrowth of a September 5, 2006, agreement between
Pakistan and tribal elders in this region to exchange an end to Pakistani military
incursions into the tribal areas for a promise by the tribal elders to expel militants
from the border area. In July 2007, U.S. counter-terrorism officials publicly deemed
the agreement a failure , and suggested that the United States might quietly undertake
operations on the Pakistani side of the border. These statements were criticized by
Pakistan and purportedly caused President Musharraf to miss the first day of a
planned jirga of 700 Pakistani and Afghan tribal elders held in Kabul August 9-10,
2007, 31 a meeting that came out of the September 2006 summit hosted by President
Bush, mentioned above.
Suggesting that it can act against the Taliban when it intends to, on July 19,
2005, Pakistan arrested five suspected senior Taliban leaders, including a deputy to
Gall, Carlotta. “U.S. Training Pakistani Units Fighting Qaeda.” New York Times, April
Straziuso, Jason. Musharraf Pulls Out of Peace Council. Associated Press, August 8,
Mullah Umar, and, as noted above, in October 2005 it arrested and turned over to
Afghanistan Taliban spokesman Hakimi. On August 15, 2006, Pakistan announced
the arrest of 29 Taliban fighters in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta. On
March 1, 2007, Pakistani officials confirmed they had arrested in Quetta Mullah
Ubaydallah Akhund, a top aide to Mullah Umar and who had served as defense
minister in the Taliban regime. However, he was later reported released.
Pakistan wants the government of Afghanistan to pledge to abide by the
“Durand Line,” a border agreement reached between Britain (signed by Sir Henry
Mortimer Durand) and then Afghan leader Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1893,
separating Afghanistan from what was then British-controlled India (later Pakistan
after the 1947 partition). It is recognized by the United Nations, but Afghanistan
continues to indicate that the border was drawn unfairly to separate Pashtun tribes
and should be re-negotiated. As of October 2002, about 1.75 million Afghan
refugees have returned from Pakistan since the Taliban fell, but as many as 3 million
might still remain in Pakistan, and Pakistan says it plans to expel them back into
Afghanistan in the near future.
Iran perceives its key national interests in Afghanistan as exerting its traditional
influence over western Afghanistan, which Iran borders and was once part of the
Persian empire, and to protect Afghanistan’s Shiite minority. Iran’s assistance to
Afghanistan has totaled about $205 million since the fall of the Taliban, mainly to
build roads and schools and provide electricity and shops to Afghan cities and
villages near the Iranian border. After the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, President
Bush warned Iran against meddling in Afghanistan. Partly in response to the U.S.
criticism, in February 2002 Iran expelled Karzai-opponent Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, but
it did not arrest him. Iran did not oppose Karzai’s firing of Iran ally Ismail Khan as
Herat governor in September 2004, although Iran has opposed the subsequent U.S.
use of the Shindand air base. 32 Iran is said to be helping Afghan law enforcement
with anti-narcotics along their border. Karzai, who has visited Iran on several
occasions says that Iran is an important neighbor of Afghanistan. During his visit to
Washington, D.C. in early August 2007, some differences between Afghanistan and
the United States became apparent; Karzai publicly called Iran part of a “solution”
for Afghanistan, while President Bush called Iran a “de-stabilizing force” there.
Still, Karzai received Ahmadinejad in Kabul in mid-August 2007.
The U.S.-Afghan differences over Iran’s role represent a departure from the past
five years, when Iran’s influence with political leaders in Afghanistan appeared to
wane, and U.S. criticism of Iran’s role in Afghanistan was muted. However, on
April 17, 2007, U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan captured a shipment of Iranian
weapons that purportedly was bound for Taliban fighters. On June 6, 2007, NATO
officers said they caught Iran “red-handed” shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives, and
advanced roadside bombs (“explosively-forced projectiles, EFPs, such as those found
in Iraq) to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Another such shipment was intercepted
Rashid, Ahmed. “Afghan Neighbors Show Signs of Aiding in Nation’s Stability.” Wall
Street Journal, October 18, 2004.
in western Afghanistan on September 6, 2007. Gen. McNeil said the convoy was
sent with the knowledge of “at least the Iranian military.” Because such shipments
would appear to conflict with Iran’s support for Karzai and for non-Pashtun factions
in Afghanistan, U.S. military officers did not attribute the shipments to a deliberate
Iranian government decision to arm the Taliban. However, some U.S. officials say
the shipments are large enough that the Iranian government would have to have
known about them. In attempting to explain the shipments, some experts believe
Iran’s policy might be shifting somewhat to gain leverage against the United States
in Afghanistan (and on other issues) by causing U.S. combat deaths.
There is little dispute that Iran’s relations with Afghanistan are much improved
from the time of the Taliban, which Iran saw as a threat to its interests in
Afghanistan, especially after Taliban forces captured Herat (the western province
that borders Iran) in September 1995. Iran subsequently drew even closer to the
Northern Alliance than previously, providing its groups with fuel, funds, and
ammunition. 33 In September 1998, Iranian and Taliban forces nearly came into
direct conflict when Iran discovered that nine of its diplomats were killed in the
course of the Taliban’s offensive in northern Afghanistan. Iran massed forces at the
border and threatened military action, but the crisis cooled without a major clash,
possibly out of fear that Pakistan would intervene on behalf of the Taliban. Iran
offered search and rescue assistance in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led war to topple
the Taliban, and it also allowed U.S. humanitarian aid to the Afghan people to transit
Iran. About 300,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran since the Taliban fell,
but about 1.2 million remain, mostly integrated into Iranian society, and a crisis
erupted in May 2007 when Iran expelled about 50,000 into Afghanistan.
The interests and activities of India in Afghanistan are almost the exact reverse
of those of Pakistan. India’s goal is to deny Pakistan “strategic depth” in
Afghanistan, and India supported the Northern Alliance against the Taliban in the
mid-1990s. A possible reflection of these ties is that Tajikistan allows India to use
one of its air bases; Tajikistan supports the mostly Tajik Northern Alliance. India
saw the Taliban’s hosting of Al Qaeda as a major threat to India itself because of Al
Qaeda’s association with radical Islamic organizations in Pakistan dedicated to
ending Indian control of parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Some of these groups have
committed major acts of terrorism in India. For its part, Pakistan accuses India of
using its nine consulates in Afghanistan to spread Indian influence.
India is becoming a major investor in and donor to Afghanistan. It is cofinancing, along with the Asian Development Bank, several power projects in
northern Afghanistan. In January 2005, India promised to help Afghanistan’s
struggling Ariana national airline and it has begun India Air flights between Delhi
and Kabul. It has also renovated the well known Habibia High School in Kabul and
committed to a $25 million renovation of Darulaman Palace as the permanent house
for Afghanistan’s parliament. Numerous other India-financed reconstruction projects
Steele, Jonathon, “America Includes Iran in Talks on Ending War in Afghanistan.”
Washington Times, December 15, 1997.
are under way throughout Afghanistan. India, along with the Asian Development
Bank, is financing the $300 million project, mentioned above, to bring electricity
from Central Asia to Afghanistan. Pakistan is likely to take particular exception to
the reported training by India of the ANA, discussed above.
Russia, Central Asian States, and China
Some neighboring and nearby states take an active interest not only in Afghan
stability, but in the U.S. military posture that supports OEF.
Russia. During the 1990s, Russia supported the Northern Alliance against
the Taliban with some military equipment and technical assistance in order to blunt
Islamic militancy emanating from Afghanistan. 34 Russia, which still feels humiliated
by its withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, views Northern Alliance figures as
instruments with which to rebuild Russian influence in Afghanistan. Although
Russia supported the U.S. effort against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan out
of fear of Islamic (mainly Chechen) radicals, more recently Russia has sought to
reduce the U.S. military presence in Central Asia. Russian fears of Islamic activism
emanating from Afghanistan may have ebbed since 2002 when Russia killed a
Chechen of Arab origin known as “Hattab” (full name is Ibn al-Khattab), who led a
militant pro-Al Qaeda Chechen faction. The Taliban government was the only one
in the world to recognize Chechnya’s independence, and some Chechen fighters
fighting alongside Taliban/Al Qaeda forces have been captured or killed.
Central Asian States. During Taliban rule, Russian and Central Asian
leaders grew increasingly alarmed that radical Islamic movements were receiving
safe haven in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan, in particular, has long asserted that the group
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), allegedly responsible for four simultaneous
February 1999 bombings in Tashkent that nearly killed President Islam Karimov, is
linked to Al Qaeda. 35 One of its leaders, Juma Namangani, reportedly was killed
while commanding Taliban/Al Qaeda forces in Konduz in November 2001.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan do not directly border Afghanistan, but IMU guerrillas
transited Kyrgyzstan during incursions into Uzbekistan in the late 1990s.
These countries generally supported the Northern Alliance against the Taliban;
Uzbekistan supported Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostam, who was part of that
Alliance. In 1996, several of these states banded together with Russia and China into
a regional grouping called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to discuss the
Taliban threat. It includes China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan. Reflecting Russian and Chinese efforts to limit U.S. influence in the
region, the group has issued statements, most recently in August 2007, that security
should be handled by the countries in the Central Asia region. Despite the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization statements, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan are all,
for now, holding to their pledges of facility support to OEF. (Tajikistan allows
Risen, James. “Russians Are Back in Afghanistan, Aiding Rebels.” New York Times, July
The IMU was named a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in
access primarily to French combat aircraft, and Kazakhstan allows use of facilities
in case of emergency.)
Of the Central Asian states that border Afghanistan, only Turkmenistan chose
to seek close relations with the Taliban leadership when it was in power, possibly
viewing engagement as a more effective means of preventing spillover of radical
Islamic activity from Afghanistan. Turkmenistan’s leader, Saparmurad Niyazov,
who died in December 2006, saw Taliban control as facilitating construction of a
natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan (see above). The
September 11 events stoked Turkmenistan’s fears of the Taliban and its Al Qaeda
guests and the country publicly supported the U.S.-led war. No U.S. forces have
been based in Turkmenistan.
China. A major organizer of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China
has a small border with a sliver of Afghanistan known as the “Wakhan corridor” (see
map). China had become increasingly concerned about the potential for Al Qaeda
to promote Islamic fundamentalism among Muslims (Uighurs) in northwestern
China. A number of Uighurs fought in Taliban and Al Qaeda ranks in the U.S.-led
war, according to U.S. military officials. In December 2000, sensing China’s
increasing concern about Taliban policies, a Chinese official delegation met with
Mullah Umar. China did not enthusiastically support U.S. military action against the
Taliban, possibly because China was wary of a U.S. military buildup nearby. In
addition, China has been allied to Pakistan in part to pressure India, a rival of China.
Still, Chinese delegations are visiting Afghanistan to assess the potential for
investments in such sectors as mining and energy .36
During the Soviet occupation, Saudi Arabia channeled hundreds of millions of
dollars to the Afghan resistance, primarily the Hikmatyar and Sayyaf factions. Saudi
Arabia, a majority of whose citizens practice the strict Wahhabi brand of Islam also
practiced by the Taliban, was one of three countries to formally recognize the Taliban
government. The Taliban initially served Saudi Arabia as a potential counter to Iran,
but Iranian-Saudi relations improved after 1997 and balancing Iranian power ebbed
as a factor in Saudi policy toward Afghanistan. Drawing on its reputed intelligence
ties to Afghanistan during that era, Saudi Arabia worked with Taliban leaders to
persuade them to suppress anti-Saudi activities by Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia
apparently believed that Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan drew Saudi Islamic
radicals away from Saudi Arabia itself and thereby reduced their opportunity to
destabilize the Saudi regime. Some press reports indicate that, in late 1998, Saudi
and Taliban leaders discussed, but did not agree on, a plan for a panel of Saudi and
Afghan Islamic scholars to decide bin Laden’s fate. Other reports, however, say that
Saudi Arabia refused an offer from Sudan in 1996 to extradite bin Laden to his
homeland on the grounds that he could become a rallying point for opposition.
According to U.S. officials, Saudi Arabia cooperated extensively, if not
publicly, with OEF. It broke diplomatic relations with the Taliban in late September
CRS Conversations with Chinese officials in Beijing. August 2007.
2001 and quietly permitted the United States to use a Saudi base for command of
U.S. air operations over Afghanistan, but it did not permit U.S. aircraft to launch
strikes in Afghanistan from Saudi bases. The Saudi position has generally been to
allow the United States the use of its facilities as long as doing so is not publicized.
U.S. and International Aid
Many experts believe that financial assistance and accelerating reconstruction
would do more to improve the security situation than intensified anti-Taliban combat.
Afghanistan’s economy and society are still fragile after decades of warfare that left
about 2 million dead, 700,000 widows and orphans, and about 1 million Afghan
children who were born and raised in refugee camps outside Afghanistan. More than
3.5 million Afghan refugees have since returned, although a comparable number
remain outside Afghanistan. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
supervises Afghan repatriation and Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.
Still heavily dependent on donors, Karzai has sought to reassure the
international donor community by establishing a transparent budget and planning
process. Some in Congress want to increase independent oversight of U.S. aid to
Afghanistan; a provision of the FY2008 defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585) would
set up a “special inspector general” for Afghanistan reconstruction, modeled on a
similar outside auditor for Iraq (“Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction,”
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan
During the 1990s, the United States became the largest single provider of
assistance to the Afghan people. During Taliban rule, no U.S. aid went directly to
that government; monies were provided through relief organizations. Between
1985-1994, the United States had a cross-border aid program for Afghanistan,
implemented by USAID personnel based in Pakistan. Citing the difficulty of
administering this program, there was no USAID mission for Afghanistan from the
end of FY1994 until the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan in late 2001.
Post-Taliban U.S. Aid Totals. Since the beginning of FY2003 and
including funds already appropriated for FY2007, the United States has provided
about $14 billion in reconstruction assistance, including military “train and equip”
for the ANA and ANP and counter-narcotics-related assistance. These securityrelated categories account for about $7 billion of the totals for the period, or about
half. These amounts do not include costs for U.S. combat operations. Table 4
breaks down FY1999-FY2002 aid by program, and the other tables cover aid since
FY2003. Table 3 is a history of U.S. aid to Afghanistan prior to 1999. 37
In some cases, aid figures are subject to variation depending on how that aid is measured.
The figures cited might not exactly match figures in appropriated legislation; in some, funds
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 and Amendments. A key
post-Taliban aid authorization bill, S. 2712, the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act
(AFSA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-327, December 4, 2002), as amended, authorized U.S. aid.
The total authorization, for all categories for FY2003-FY2006), is over $3.7 billion.
For the most part, the humanitarian, counter-narcotics, and governance assistance
targets authorized by the act have been met or exceeded by successive appropriations.
However, no Enterprise Funds have been appropriated, and ISAF expansion has
been funded by contributing nations. It authorized the following:
$60 million in total counter-narcotics assistance ($15 million per
year for FY2003-FY2006);
$30 million in assistance for political development, including
national, regional, and local elections ($10 million per year for
$80 million total to benefit women and for Afghan human rights
oversight ($15 million per year for FY2003-FY2006 for the Afghan
Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and $5 million per year for FY2003FY2006 to the Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan);
$1.7 billion in humanitarian and development aid ($425 million per
year for FY2003-FY2006);
$300 million for an Enterprise Fund;
$550 million in draw-downs of defense articles and services for
Afghanistan and regional militaries. (The original law provided for
$300 million in drawdowns. That was increased to $450 million by
P.L. 108-106, an FY2004 supplemental appropriations); and
$1 billion ($500 million per year for FY2003-FY2004) to expand
ISAF if such an expansion takes place.
A subsequent law (P.L. 108-458, December 17, 2004), implementing the
recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, contained a subtitle called “The
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act Amendments of 2004.” The subtitle mandates the
appointment of a U.S. coordinator of policy on Afghanistan and requires additional
Administration reports to Congress, including (1) on long-term U.S. strategy and
progress of reconstruction, an amendment to the report required in the original law;
(2) on how U.S. assistance is being used; (3) on U.S. efforts to persuade other
countries to participate in Afghan peacekeeping; and (4) a joint State and Defense
Department report on U.S. counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan. The law also
contains several “sense of Congress” provisions recommending more rapid DDR
activities; expansion of ISAF; and counter-narcotics initiatives.
Afghan Freedom Support Act Re-Authorization. In the 110th Congress,
H.R. 2446, passed by the House on June 6, 2007 (406-10), would reauthorize AFSA
through FY2010. The following are the major provisions of the bill:
were added to specified accounts from monies in the September 11-related Emergency
A total of about $1.7 billion in U.S. economic aid and $320 in
military aid (including draw-downs of equipment) per fiscal year
would be authorized.
a pilot program of crop substitution to encourage legitimate
alternatives to poppy cultivation is authorized. Afghan officials
support this provision as furthering their goal of combatting
narcotics by promoting alternative livelihoods.
enhanced anti-corruption and legal reform programs would be
a mandated cutoff of U.S. aid to any Afghan province in which the
Administration reports that the leadership of the province is
complicit in narcotics trafficking. This provision has drawn some
criticism from observers who say that the most needy in Afghanistan
might be deprived of aid based on allegations that are difficult to
$45 million per year for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the
Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and programs for
women and girls is authorized.
$75 million per year is authorized specifically for enhanced power
generation, a key need in Afghanistan.
a coordinator for U.S. assistance to Afghanistan is mandated.
military drawdowns for the ANA and ANP valued at $300 million
per year (un-reimbursed) are authorized (versus the aggregate $550
million allowed currently).
authorizes appointment of a special U.S. envoy to promote greater
reauthorizes “Radio Free Afghanistan.”
establishes a U.S. policy to encourage Pakistan to permit shipments
by India of equipment and material to Afghanistan.
FY2007 and FY2008. The tables below show funds appropriated thus far for
FY2007, as well as the FY2007 supplemental request and related legislation, and the
request and legislation for FY2008. The table includes figures in versions of
FY2008 regular appropriations (H.R. 2764) passed by both chambers. When the
supplemental request is factored in, the requests for both years appear to be
somewhat higher than the amounts pledged in a December 2, 2005, U.S.-Afghan
agreement under which the United States said it would provide Afghanistan with
$5.5 billion in civilian economic aid over the next five years ($1.1 billion per year).
The U.S. aid plan is reportedly programmed for education, health care, and economic
and democratic development. Based on H.R. 5522, which appears to be a reasonable
estimated of the country allocation for FY2007 thus far, the funds thus far
appropriated for FY2007 (regular appropriation) are slightly lower than the
Administration request for regular FY2007 funds for Afghanistan, which totaled
about $1.1 billion.
Additional Funds and Other U.S. Assistance. Since the fall of the
Taliban, the U.S. Treasury Department (Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC)
has unblocked over $145 million in assets of Afghan government-owned banking
entities that were frozen under U.S. sanctions imposed on the Taliban in 1999, and
another $17 million in privately -owned Afghan assets. These funds were used for
currency stabilization; mostly gold held in Afghanistan’s name in the United States
to back up Afghanistan’s currency. Another $20 million in overflight fees withheld
by U.N. sanctions on the Taliban were provided as well. Together with its allies,
over $350 million in frozen funds were released to the Afghan government . The
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has made available total investment
credits of $100 million.
World Bank/Asian Development Bank. In May 2002, the World Bank
reopened its office in Afghanistan after 20 years. On March 12, 2003, it announced
a $108 million loan to Afghanistan, the first since 1979. In August 2003, the World
Bank agreed to lend Afghanistan an additional $30 million to rehabilitate the
telecommunications system, and $30 million for road and drainage rehabilitation in
Kabul. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been playing a major role in
Afghanistan and has pledged $800 million in loans and grants and $200 million in
project insurance for Afghanistan. Since December 2002, the bank has loaned
Afghanistan $372 million of road reconstruction, fiscal management and governance,
and agricultural development. The Bank has also granted Afghanistan about $90
million for power projects, agriculture reform, roads, and rehabilitation of the energy
sector. One of its projects in Afghanistan was funding the paving of a road from
Qandahar to the border with Pakistan, and as noted above, it is contributing to a
project to bring electricity from Central Asia to Afghanistan. In December 2004, the
Bank approved an additional loan of $80 million to restore and improve key sections
of the road system.
International Reconstruction Pledges. Afghan leaders said that
Afghanistan needs $27.5 billion for reconstruction for 2002-2010. Including U.S.
pledges, about $30 billion has been pledged at donors conferences in 2002 (Tokyo),
Berlin (April 2004), Kabul (April 2005), the London conference (February 2006),
and since then. Of that, about half are non-U.S. contributions. However, not all nonU.S. amounts pledged have been received, although implementation appears to have
improved over the past few years (amounts received had been running below half of
what was pledged). The London conference also leaned toward the view of Afghan
leaders that a higher proportion of the aid be channeled through the Afghan
government rather than directly by the donor community. Only about $3.8 billion of
funds disbursed have been channeled through the Afghan government, according to
the Finance Minister in April 2007. The Afghan government is promising greater
financial transparency and international (United Nations) oversight to ensure that
international contributions are used wisely and effectively.
Residual Issues From Past Conflicts
A few issues remain unresolved from Afghanistan’s many years of conflict, such
as Stinger retrieval and mine eradication.
Stinger Retrieval. Beginning in late 1985 following internal debate, the
Reagan Administration provided about 2,000 man-portable “Stinger” anti-aircraft
missiles to the mujahedin for use against Soviet aircraft. Prior to the U.S.-led war
against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, common estimates suggested that 200-300
Stingers remained at large, although more recent estimates put the number below
100. 38 The Stinger issue resurfaced in conjunction with 2001 U.S. war effort, when
U.S. pilots reported that the Taliban fired some Stingers at U.S. aircraft during the
war. No hits were reported. Any Stingers that survived the anti-Taliban war are
likely controlled by Afghans now allied to the United States and presumably pose
less of a threat. However, there are concerns that remaining Stingers could be sold
to terrorists for use against civilian aircraft. In February 2002, the Afghan
government found and returned to the United States “dozens” of Stingers. 39 In late
January 2005, Afghan intelligence began a push to buy remaining Stingers back, at
a reported cost of $150,000 each. 40
In 1992, after the fall of the Russian-backed government of Najibullah, the
United States reportedly spent about $10 million to buy the Stingers back, at a
premium, from individual mujahedin commanders. The New York Times reported
on July 24, 1993, that the buy back effort failed because the United States was
competing with other buyers, including Iran and North Korea, and that the CIA
would spend about $55 million in FY1994 in a renewed Stinger buy-back effort. On
March 7, 1994, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had recovered only a
fraction (maybe 50 or 100) of the at-large Stingers.
The danger of these weapons has become apparent on several occasions. Iran
bought 16 of the missiles in 1987 and fired one against U.S. helicopters; some
reportedly were transferred to Lebanese Hizballah. India claimed that it was a
Stinger, supplied to Islamic rebels in Kashmir probably by sympathizers in
Afghanistan, that shot down an Indian helicopter over Kashmir in May 1999. 41 It was
a Soviet-made SA-7 “Strella” man-portable launchers that were fired, allegedly by
Al Qaeda, against a U.S. military aircraft in Saudi Arabia in June 2002 and against
an Israeli passenger aircraft in Kenya on November 30, 2002. Both missed their
targets. SA-7s were discovered in Afghanistan by U.S. forces in December 2002.
Mine Eradication. Land mines laid during the Soviet occupation constitute
one of the principal dangers to the Afghan people. The United Nations estimates that
5 -7 million mines remain scattered throughout the country, although some estimates
are lower. U.N. teams have destroyed one million mines and are now focusing on
de-mining priority-use, residential and commercial property, including lands around
Kabul. As shown in the U.S. aid table for FY1999-FY2002 (Table 4), the U.S. demining program was providing about $3 million per year for Afghanistan, and the
amount increased to about $7 million in the post-Taliban period. Most of the funds
have gone to HALO Trust, a British organization, and the U.N. Mine Action Program
for Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Compact adopted in London in February 2006
Saleem, Farrukh. “Where Are the Missing Stinger Missiles? Pakistan,” Friday Times.
August 17-23, 2001.
Fullerton, John. “Afghan Authorities Hand in Stinger Missiles to U.S.” Reuters,
February 4, 2002.
“Afghanistan Report,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. February 4, 2005.
“U.S.-Made Stinger Missiles — Mobile and Lethal.” Reuters, May 28, 1999.
states that by 2010, the goal should be to reduce the land area of Afghanistan
contaminated by mines by 70%.
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998
($ in millions)
(ESF) (Title I and II) Military Refugee Aid)
(Soviet invasion - December 1979)
Source: Department of State.
a. Includes $3 million for demining and $1.2 million for counternarcotics.
b. Includes $3.3 million in projects targeted for Afghan women and girls, $7 million
in earthquake relief aid, 100,000 tons of 416B wheat worth about $15 million,
$2 million for demining, and $1.54 for counternarcotics.
Table 5. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1999-FY2002
($ in millions)
U.S. Department of
and USAID Food For
Peace (FFP), via
and Migration (PRM)
via UNHCR and
Office of Foreign
Aid to Afghan
Refugees in Pakistan
42.0 worth of
Iran, and to
7.0 to various
NGOs to aid
tons for May
Title II, and
14.03 for the
7.0 to Halo
went to similar
Office of Transition
Dept. of Defense
50.9 ( 2.4
Table 6. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2003
($ in millions, same acronyms as Table 5)
FY2003 Foreign Aid Appropriations (P.L. 108-7)
P.L. 480 Title II (Food Aid)
Non-Proliferation, Demining, Anti-Terrorism (NADR)
Afghan National Army (ANA) train and equip (FMF)
Total from this law:
FY2003 Supplemental (P.L. 108-11)
Road Construction (ESF, Kabul-Qandahar road)
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (ESF)
Afghan government support (ESF)
ANA train and equip (FMF)
(NADR, some for Karzai protection)
Total from this law:
Total for FY2003
Table 7. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004
($ in millions, same acronyms as previous tables)
FY2004 Supplemental (P.L. 108-106)
Disarmament and Demobilization (DDR program) (ESF)
Afghan government (ESF) $10 million for customs collection
Elections/democracy and governance (ESF)
Health Services/Clinics (ESF)
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs)
Private Sector/Power sector rehabilitation
Counter-narcotics/police training/judiciary training (INCLE)
Defense Dept. counter-narcotics support operations
Afghan National Army (FMF)
Anti-Terrorism/Afghan Leadership Protection (NADR)
U.S. Embassy expansion and security/AID operations
Total from this law:
(of which $60 million is to benefit Afghan women and girls)
FY2004 Regular Appropriations (P.L. 108-199)
Afghan women (ESF)
Judicial reform commission (ESF)
Aid to communities and victims of U.S. military operations (ESF)
Other reconstruction (ESF). (Total FY2004 funds spent by
USAID for PRT-related reconstruction = $56.4 million)
ANA train and equip (FMF)
Total from this law:
Other: P.L. 480 Title II Food Aid
Total for FY2004
Table 8. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2005
($ in millions)
FY2005 Regular Appropriations (P.L. 108-447)
Assistance to Afghan governing institutions (ESF)
Train and Equip ANA (FMF)
Assistance to benefit women and girls
Agriculture, private sector investment, environment, primary
education, reproductive health, and democracy-building
Child and maternal health
Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission
Total from this law
Second FY2005 Supplemental (P.L. 109-13)
Other ESF: Health programs, PRT programs, agriculture,
alternative livelihoods, government capacity building, training
for parliamentarians, rule of law programs (ESF). (Total
FY2005 funds spent by USAID for PRT-led reconstruction =
Aid to displaced persons (ESF)
Families of civilian victims of U.S. combat ops (ESF)
Women-led NGOs (ESF)
DOD funds to train and equip Afghan security forces. Of the
funds, $34 million may go to Afghan security elements for that
purpose. Also, $290 million of the funds is to reimburse the U.S.
Army for funds already obligated for this purpose.
DOD counter-narcotics support operations
Training of Afghan police (INCLE)
Karzi protection (NADR funds)
DEA operations in Afghanistan
Operations of U.S. Embassy Kabul
Total from this law
Other: P.L. 480 Title II Food Aid
Table 9. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2006
($ in millions)
FY2006 Regular Foreign Aid Appropriations (P.L. 109-102)
(ESF over $225 million subject to
certification that Afghanistan is
cooperating with U.S. counter-narcotics)
(Mostly for reconstruction, governance,
Includes $20 million for PRTs)
Peacekeeping (ANA salaries)
(Includes $60 million to train ANP)
Karzai protection (NADR funds)
Child Survival and Health (CSH)
Afghan Independent Human Rights
Aid to civilian victims of U.S. combat
Programs to benefit women and girls
Total from this law:
FY2006 Supplemental Appropriation (P.L. 109-234)
Security Forces Fund
(Includes $11 million for debt relief costs,
$5 million for agriculture development,
and $27 million for Northeast
Transmission electricity project)
DOD Counter-narcotics operations
Migration and Refugee aid
DEA counter-narcotics operations
Total from this law:
Other: P.L. 480 Title II Food Aid
Total for FY2006:
Table 10. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2007
($ in millions)
( H.R. 5522 Levels, under Continuing Appropriation P.L. 110-5)
510.77 (USAID plans $42 million for PRTs)
DOD Appropriation (P.L. 109-289)
train and equip
DOD Counternarcotics support
FY2007 to date
FY2007 Supplemental (H.R. 2206/P.L. 110-28)
P.L. 480 Title II
train and equip
$653 million request/$737 in final law
(of which in law: 174 for PRTs; 314 for roads; 40 for power; 155
for rural development; 19 for agriculture (latter two are
alternative livelihoods to poppy cultivation); 25 for governance;
and 10 for the “civilian assistance program”
also provides $16 million in Migration and Refugee aid for
displaced persons near Kabul, and $16 million International
Disaster and Famine Assistance
47.2 million requested/79 in final version
5.900 billion requested/5.9064 in final version
(includes 3.2 billion for equipment and transportation; 624
million for ANP training; 415 for ANA training; 106 for
commanders emergency response, CERP; plus other funds )
no request/47 million in agreement;
plus 60 million in DoD aid to counter-narcotics forces in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, plus 12 million DEA
6 .87 billion in final version
10 .35 billion (all programs)
Table 11. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2008
($ in millions)
Regular Appropriation Request/FY2008 appropriation (H.R. 2764)
P.L. 480 Title II
Child Survival and Health
NADR (Karzai protection)
Radio Free Afghanistan
693 request/House version of H.R. 2764: 543
million, plus 150 in DA. Senate version provides
$1.057 billion, of which 75 million to benefit
women and girls. Both have $300 million limit
subject to counter-narcotics cooperation
274.8 req/House version is same as request
House version of H.R. 2764 provides $3.98 million
Total regular request
Revised FY2008 Supplemental Request (Global War on Terrorism)
Security Forces equip and train
U.S. Embassy security
U.S. Embassy construction,
($275 for provincial governance, National Solidarity
program, etc; $170 for economic growth)
($1.71 billion for ANA/$980 million for ANP)
Total FY2008 supplemental
Total FY2008 request (regular
Table 12. USAID Obligations FY2002-2006
Rule of Law
Table 13. NATO/ISAF Contributing Nations
(As of October, 2007) [http://www.nato.int/isaf/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat.pdf])
Non-NATO Partner Nations
Total ISAF force
Table 14. Provincial Reconstruction Teams
U.S.-Lead (all under ISAF banner)
Paktia (RC-East, E)
Parwan (RC-C, Central). Assisted by 175 troops from South
Zabol (RC-South, S) with Romania)
Panjshir Province (RC-E), State Department lead
Partner Lead (all under ISAF banner)
Lead Force/Other forces
Britain (with Denmark and Estonia )
Netherlands (with Australia )
Hungary (as of October 1, 2006)
Bamiyan (RC- C)
New Zealand (not NATO/ISAF)
Table 15. Major Factions/Leaders in Afghanistan
Mullah (Islamic cleric) Muhammad Umar (still at
large possibly in Afghanistan)/Jalaludin Haqqani.
in the south
and east, and
Burhannudin Rabbani/ Yunus Qanooni (elected to
lower house)/Muhammad Fahim (in upper house)/Dr.
Abdullah Abdullah (Foreign Minister 2001-2006).
Ismail Khan heads faction of the grouping in Herat
w e s t e r n
Abdul Rashid Dostam. Best known for March 1992 secular,
break with Najibullah that precipitated his overthrow. Uzbek
Subsequently fought Rabbani government (19921995), but later joined Northern Alliance.
Commanded about 25,000 troops, armor, combat
aircraft, and some Scud missiles, but was unable to
hold off Taliban forces that captured his region by
August 1998. During OEF, impressed U.S.
commanders with horse-mounted assaults on Taliban
positions at Shulgara Dam, south of Mazar-e-Sharif,
leading to the fall of that city and the Taliban’s
subsequent collapse. Karzai rival in October 2004
presidential election, now Karzai’s chief “security
Karim Khalili is Vice President, but Mohammad
Mohaqiq is Karzai rival in presidential election and Hazara
parliament. Generally pro-Iranian. Was part of
Rabbani 1992-1996 government, and fought
unsuccessfully with Taliban over Bamiyan city.
Various regional governors; central government
led by Hamid Karzai.
Mujahedin party leader Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. Lost orthodox
power base around Jalalabad to the Taliban in
1994, and fled to Iran before being expelled in
2002. Still allied with Taliban and Al Qaeda in
operations east of Kabul, but may be open to ending
militant activity. Leader of a rival Hizb-e-Islam
faction, Yunus Khalis, the mentor of Mullah Umar,
died July 2006.
Abd-I-Rab Rasul Sayyaf. Islamic conservative,
leads a pro-Karzai faction in parliament. Lived
many years in and politically close to Saudi Arabia, Pashtun
which shares his “Wahhabi” ideology. During antiSoviet war, Sayyaf’s faction, with Hikmatyar, was a
principal recipient of U.S. weaponry. Criticized the
U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein after Iraq’s
invasion of Kuwait.
Appendix 1: U.S. and International Sanctions Lifted
Virtually all U.S. and international sanctions on Afghanistan, some imposed during the
Soviet occupation era and others on the Taliban regime, have now been lifted.
On January 10, 2003, President Bush signed a proclamation making
Afghanistan a beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP), eliminating U.S. tariffs on 5,700 Afghan products.
Afghanistan was denied GSP on May 2, 1980, under Executive
Order 12204 (45 F.R. 20740). This was done under the authority of
Section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974 [19 U.S.C. § 2464].
On April 24, 1981, controls on U.S. exports to Afghanistan of
agricultural products and phosphates were terminated. Such controls
were imposed on June 3, 1980, as part of the sanctions against the
Soviet Union for the invasion of Afghanistan, under the authority of
Sections 5 and 6 of the Export Administration Act of 1979 [P.L. 9672; 50 U.S.C. app. 2404, app. 2405].
In mid-1992, the George H.W. Bush Administration determined that
Afghanistan no longer had a “Soviet-controlled government.” This
opened Afghanistan to the use of U.S. funds made available for the
U.S. share of U.N. organizations that provide assistance to
On March 31, 1993, after the fall of Najibullah in 1992, President
Clinton, on national interest grounds, waived restrictions provided
for in Section 481 (h) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
mandating sanctions on Afghanistan including bilateral aid cuts and
suspensions, including denial of Ex-Im Bank credits; the casting of
negative U.S. votes for multilateral development bank loans; and a
non-allocation of a U.S. sugar quota. Discretionary sanctions
included denial of GSP; additional duties on country exports to the
United States; and curtailment of air transportation with the United
States. Waivers were also granted in 1994 and, after the fall of the
Taliban, by President Bush.
On May 3, 2002, President Bush restored normal trade treatment to
the products of Afghanistan, reversing the February 18, 1986
proclamation by President Reagan (Presidential Proclamation 5437)
that suspended most-favored nation (MFN) tariff status for
Afghanistan (51 F.R. 4287). The Foreign Assistance Appropriations
for FY1986 [Section 552, P.L. 99-190] had authorized the President
to deny any U.S. credits or most-favored-nation (MFN) tariff status
On July 2, 2002, the State Department amended U.S. regulations (22
C.F.R. Part 126) to allow arms sales to the new Afghan government,
reversing the June 14, 1996 addition of Afghanistan to the list of
countries prohibited from receiving exports or licenses for exports
of U.S. defense articles and services. Arms sales to Afghanistan had
also been prohibited during 1997-2002 because Afghanistan had
been designated under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-132) as a state that is not cooperating with
U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
On July 2, 2002, President Bush formally revoked the July 4, 1999,
declaration by President Clinton of a national emergency with
respect to Taliban because of its hosting of bin Laden. The Clinton
determination and related Executive Order 13129 had blocked
Taliban assets and property in the United States, banned U.S. trade
with Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, and applied these
sanctions to Ariana Afghan Airlines, triggering a blocking of Ariana
assets (about $500,000) in the United States and a ban on U.S.
citizens’ flying on the airline. (The ban on trade with Talibancontrolled territory had essentially ended on January 29, 2002 when
the State Department determination that the Taliban controls no
territory within Afghanistan.)
U.N. sanctions on the Taliban imposed by Resolution 1267 (October
15, 1999), Resolution 1333 (December 19, 2000),and Resolution
1363 (July 30, 2001) have now been narrowed to penalize only Al
Qaeda (by Resolution 1390, January 17, 2002). Resolution 1267
banned flights outside Afghanistan by its national airline (Ariana),
and directed U.N. member states to freeze Taliban assets.
Resolution 1333 prohibited the provision of arms or military advice
to the Taliban (directed against Pakistan); directing a reduction of
Taliban diplomatic representation abroad; and banning foreign travel
by senior Taliban officials. Resolution 1363 provided for monitors
in Pakistan to ensure that no weapons or military advice was
provided to the Taliban.
P.L. 108-458 (December 17, 2004, referencing the 9/11 Commission
recommendations) repeals bans on aid to Afghanistan outright,
completing a pre-Taliban effort by President George H.W. Bush to
restore aid and credits to Afghanistan. On October 7, 1992, he had
issued Presidential Determination 93-3 that Afghanistan is no longer
a Marxist-Leninist country, but the determination was not
implemented before he left office. Had it been implemented, the
prohibition on Afghanistan’s receiving Export-Import Bank
guarantees, insurance, or credits for purchases under Section 8 of the
1986 Export-Import Bank Act, would have been lifted. In addition,
Afghanistan would have been able to receive U.S. assistance because
the requirement would have been waived that Afghanistan apologize
for the 1979 killing in Kabul of U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
Adolph “Spike” Dubs. (Dubs was kidnapped in Kabul in 1979 and
killed when Afghan police stormed the hideout where he was held.)
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan