Order Code RL30588
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
February 15, 2008
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
U.S. and outside assessments of the effort to stabilize Afghanistan are mixed
and subject to debate; the Administration notes progress on reconstruction,
governance and security in many areas of Afghanistan. However, a November 2007
Bush Administration review of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan reportedly concluded that
overall progress was inadequate, and a number of efforts to augment the U.S.
stabilization effort are underway or under further consideration. Outside assessments
have tended toward more pessimism, emphasizing a growing sense of insecurity in
areas previously considered secure, more suicide bombings, and growing aggregate
poppy cultivation, as well as increasing divisions within the NATO alliance about the
relative share of combat among the nations contributing to the peacekeeping
Politically, the post-Taliban 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, and women are participating in economic and political life.
Elections for the presidency, the parliament, and local governing bodies are to be
held in the fall of 2009.
Both the official U.S. as well as outside assessments are increasingly pointing
to Pakistan as failing – either through lack of attention or deliberate strategy – to
prevent Taliban commanders from operating from Pakistan, largely beyond the reach
of U.S./NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan, for its part, asserts that the
continuing violence in Afghanistan is caused primarily by the inability of the Afghan
government to extend its authority and win the trust of the Afghan people.
To help stabilize Afghanistan, the United States and partner countries are
deploying a 42,000 troop NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
that now commands peacekeeping throughout Afghanistan, including the restive
south. Of those, 15,000 of the 27,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan are part of ISAF ; the
remainder are under direct U.S. command. The U.S. and partner forces also run
regional enclaves to secure reconstruction (Provincial Reconstruction Teams, PRTs),
and are building an Afghan National Army and National Police. The United States
has given Afghanistan over $23 billion (appropriated, including FY2008 to date)
since the fall of the Taliban, including funds to equip and train Afghan security
forces. About $1.05 billion in economic aid is requested for FY2009. Breakdowns
are shown in the several tables at the end of this paper.
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
Expanding Central Government Writ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Human Rights and Democracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Combating Narcotics Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Reconstructing Infrastructure and the Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Post-War Security Operations and Force Capacity Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
The Combat Environment, U.S. Operations, and Operation Enduring
Freedom (OEF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
The Taliban “Resurgence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Policy Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Feelers to the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
The NATO-Led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) . . . . . . . . 30
National “Caveats” on Combat Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Provincial Reconstruction Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Afghan Security Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Afghan National Army . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Afghan National Police/Justice Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Tribal Militias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
U.S. Security Forces Funding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Regional Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Pakistan/Pakistan-Afghanistan Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Russia, Central Asian States, and China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Central Asian States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Saudi Arabia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
U.S. and International Aid to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Post-Taliban U.S. Aid Totals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 and Amendments . . . . . . 46
Afghan Freedom Support Act Re-Authorization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
FY2007 and FY2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
International Reconstruction Pledges/Aid/Lending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Residual Issues From Past Conflicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Stinger Retrieval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Mine Eradication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Appendix 1: U.S. and International Sanctions Lifted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
List of Tables
Table 1. Afghan and Regional Facilities Used for Operations in Afghanistan . . 29
Table 2. Recent and Pending Foreign Equipment for ANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Table 3. Major Security-Related Indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Table 5. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1999-FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Table 6. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Table 7. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Table 8. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Table 9. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Table 10. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Table 11. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2008 Request/Action . . . . . . . . . 58
FY2009 Request . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Table 12. USAID Obligations FY2002-FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Table 13. NATO/ISAF Contributing Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Table 14. Provincial Reconstruction Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Table 15. Major Factions/Leaders in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
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 perceived strategic
value of Afghanistan, causing a reduction in subsequent 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. 300,000 children in south cannot attend
school due to violence.
Afghans With Access 80% - compared to 8% during Taliban era, although access is more
to Health Coverage
limited in restive areas. Infant mortality has dropped 18% since Taliban
to 135 per 1,000 live births. 680 clinics built with U.S. funds since
Roads Built PostAbout 5,000 miles.
Access to Electricity 10% - 15% of the population.
Oil Proven Reserves:
$715 million in 2007 (Afghan gov’t. est.); $550 million 2006
$1.2 billion in 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
$500 billion est. for 2007; about $1 billion for 2006
fruits, raisins, nuts, carpets, semi-precious gems, hides, opium
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 2008, Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC; 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 as representations of 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, DC,
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, imposing U.S. sanctions and
achieving adoption of some U.N. sanctions as well. 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 opportunities to strike him. Clinton
Administration officials say that they did not try to oust the Taliban from power with
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, who is frequently
referred to by some Afghans as one of the “warlords” who gained
power during the anti-Soviet war, 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, judging that a friendly regime in
Kabul was needed to enable U.S forces to search for Al Qaeda activists there. United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 of September 12, 2001 said that the
Security Council “expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond”
(implying force) 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 antiTaliban 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
(October-December 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 (including Hamid Karzai) 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.
The international community is extensively involved in Afghan stabilization, not
only in the security field but in diplomacy and reconstruction assistance. Some of the
debate over the growing role of U.S. partners there is represented in a proposal to
create a new position of “super envoy” that would represent the United Nations, the
European Union, and NATO in Afghanistan. This would subsume the role of the
head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), currently occupied
by German diplomat Thomas Koenig. In January 2008, with U.S. support, U.N.
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon tentatively appointed British diplomat Paddy
Ashdown to this “super envoy” position, but President Karzai rejected the
appointment reportedly over concerns about the scope of authority of such an envoy,
in particular its potential to dilute the U.S. role in Afghanistan, which Karzai still
views as crucial to guaranteeing Afghan security. Karzai might have also sought to
show a degree of independence from the international community. Ashdown
withdrew his name on January 28, 2008.
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
It was endorsed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1385
(December 6, 2001). The agreement, reportedly forged with substantial Iranian
diplomatic help, given Iran’s support for the Northern Alliance faction:
formed the interim administration headed by Hamid Karzai.
authorized an international peace keeping force to maintain security
in Kabul, and Northern Alliance forces were directed to withdraw
from the capital. Security Council Resolution 1386 (December 20,
2001) gave formal Security Council authorization for the
international peacekeeping force.
referred to the need to cooperate with the international community
on counter narcotics, crime, and terrorism.
The constitution of 1964 applied until a permanent constitution
could be drafted.7
Permanent Constitution. A June 2002 “emergency” loya jirga put a
representative imprimatur on the transition; it was attended by 1,550 delegates
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.
(including about 200 women) from 381 districts.
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 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, 2007.8 The constitution also set
out timetables for presidential, provincial, and district elections (by June 2004) and
stipulated that, if possible, they should be held simultaneously.
Hamid Karzai, about 55, 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. With heavy protection, he has survived several assassination
attempts since taking office, including rocket fire or gunfire near his appearances.
National Elections. Ultimately, it proved impractical to hold all elections
simultaneously. The first election was for president and it was held on October 9,
2004, missing the June deadline. The 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
Text of constitution: [http://arabic.cnn.com/afghanistan/ConstitutionAfghanistan.pdf]
For the parliamentary election, voting was conducted for individuals running in
each province, not as party slates. (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 Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, the pro-Karzai
The next presidential , parliamentary, and provincial elections are expected to
be held in the fall of 2009. No exact date has been set, and it is not clear that all
these elections will be held simultaneously. Karzai has not said definitively whether
he will run for re-election, although he indicated in a Washington Post interview of
January 27, 2008, that he would. There has been speculation in recent press articles
that the Afghan-born U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, who
has served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and has been extensively involved in
Afghan issues in his U.S. career, might run for President of Afghanistan. Khalilzad
has neither confirmed nor denied the speculation.
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. At the same time, there is
a broader debate among Afghans over whether or not to continue to strengthen
central government – the approach favored by Karzai and the United States and most
of its partners – or to promote local solutions to security and governance, an approach
that some international partners, such as Britain, want to explore. The new
parliament has asserted itself on several occasions, for example in the process of
confirming a post-election cabinet and in forcing Karzai to oust several major
conservatives from the Supreme Court in favor of those with more experience in
modern jurisprudence. 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.
In a sign of tension between Karzai and his opposition in parliament, in May
2007, the National Front bloc engineered a vote of 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 deferred 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. Spanta remains in his position, to date, but the
dispute is unresolved. The Front conducted a walkout of parliament on November
26, 2007 to protest what it said was Karzai’s inattention to parliament’s views on
whether or not panic by security forces caused additional deaths following the
November 6, 2007 suicide bombing in Baghlan Province that killed 6
parliamentarians and about 70 other persons . (For further information, see CRS
Report RS21922: Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance.)
Expanding Central Government Writ. As noted above, it is U.S. policy
to expand the capacity, proficiency, and writ of the Afghan central government. A
Washington Post report of November 25, 2007, said that the failure to build capacity,
as well as government corruption and compromises with local factions, are major
contributors to a sense within the Administration of only limited U.S. success in
stabilizing Afghanistan. That same report echoed the concerns of U.S. commanders
and officials that Taliban militants are able to infiltrate “un-governed space,”
contributing to the persistence and in some areas the expansion of the Taliban
insurgency. On the other hand, a February 2008 U.N. report on the narcotics
situation, discussed below, says that governance is improving and growing in
northern and parts of relatively restive eastern Afghanistan, contributing to a
reduction of opium cultivation there.
U.S. officials continue to try to bolster Karzai through repeated statements of
support and top level exchanges, including several visits there 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 help
Karzai 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.
Karzai has, to some extent, marginalized most of the largest regional leaders —
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.
In April 2005, Dostam was appointed Karzai’s top military advisor,
and in April 2005 he “resigned” as head of his Junbush Melli
faction. However, in May 2007 his followers in the north were
again restive (conducting large demonstrations) in attempting to
force out the anti-Dostam governor of Jowzjan Province. In
February 2008, Afghan police surrounded Dostam’s home in
Kabul, but did not arrest him, in connection with the alleged beating
of a political opponent by Dostam supporters.
Another key figure, former Defense Minister Fahim (Northern
Alliance) was appointed by Karzai to the upper house of parliament,
although he remained in that body only a few months. The
appointment was intended to give him a stake in the political process
and reduce his potential to activate Northern Alliance militia
loyalists. Fahim continues to turn heavy weapons over to U.N. and
Afghan forces (including four Scud missiles), although the U.N.
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that large
quantities of weapons remain in the Panjshir Valley.
In July 2004, Karzai moved charismatic Northern Alliance figure
Atta Mohammad Noor from control of a militia in the Mazar-eSharif 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) reports since 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. Since 2005, he has 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 (who is
considered weak and might be replaced by his predecessor, as discussed below),
Khost governor Jamal, who U.S. commanders say has played a major role in
governance progress there, 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 pro-Karzai governors, such as Nangahar’s Ghul Agha
Shirzai, are considered corrupt and politically motivated rather than technically
competent, although Shirzai is credited with helping weaken the Taliban in
Nangahar. 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. In October 2007, Karzai attempted to institute a more effective process
for selecting capable governors by taking the screening function away from the
Interior Ministry and placing it in a new Office of Local Governance with the
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 2008 by U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1746 of March 23, 2007), 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 a July 1, 2003, target date,
dampening Pashtun recruitment. In September 2003, Karzai replaced 22 senior
Tajik Defense Ministry officials with Pashtuns, Uzbeks, and Hazaras, enabling DDR
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. U.N.
officials say at least 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. UNAMA officials say that vast quantities of weapons are still kept by the
Northern Alliance faction in the Panjshir Valley, although the faction is giving up
some weapons to UNAMA slowly, in small weekly shipments. 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 made 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. These goals were not met in part because armed
groups in the south fear the continued Taliban combat activity and refuse to disarm
voluntarily, but UNAMA says the program remains in operation in areas of the
north and west where the Taliban is less of a factor.
U.S. Embassy Operations/Budgetary Support to Afghan
Government. A key component of U.S. efforts to strengthen the Afghan
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
government has been maintaining a large diplomatic presence. Zalmay Khalilzad,
an American of Afghan origin, was ambassador during December 2003-August
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 and who has focused significant attention on the counter-narcotics issue.
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 is 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, housed in a newly constructed building, has progressively expanded its
personnel and facilities. 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.
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). Those aid figures, for FY2002-FY2007, are in Table
12 at the end of the paper.
Human Rights and Democracy. The Administration and Afghan
government claim progress in building a democratic Afghanistan that adheres to
international standards of human rights practices and presumably is able to earn the
support of the Afghan people. The State Department report on human rights
practices for 2006 (released March 6, 2007)11 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 debate is over a new press law, differing versions of which
were passed by each house of parliament, that would increase government control
over private media. A joint commission has been formed to negotiate a version
acceptable to both chambers. Since the Taliban era, more than 40 private radio
stations, seven television networks, and 350 independent newspapers have opened.
On the other hand, the death penalty has been reinstituted, reversing a 2004
moratorium declared by Karzai, and 15 convicts were executed at once on October
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.
For text, see [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78868.htm].
7, 2007. In January 2008, Afghanistan’s “Islamic council,” composed of senior
clerics, backed public executions for convicted murderers and urged Karzai to end
the activities of foreign organizations that are converting Afghans to Christianity.
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.
On January 25, 2008, in a case that has implications for both religious and
journalistic freedom, a young reporter, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, was sentenced to
death for distributing a website report to student peers questioning some precepts of
Islam. Karzai has said he will allow the appeal process to play out – and the
Supreme Court is likely to overturn that sentence – before considering a pardon for
Kambaksh. A previous 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 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 in prison for articles about apostasy. A Kabul court reduced
his sentence to time served and he was freed in December 2005.
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 U.S. and other 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.12
supplemental FY2008 ESF funds requested, $40 million is to launch the next phase
of the National Solidarity Program.)
Funding Issues. USAID has spent significant funds on democracy and rule
of law programs (support for elections, civil society programs, political party
strengthening, media freedom, and local governance) for Afghanistan. Funding for
FY2002-FY2007 is shown in Table 12. An additional $100 million was requested
in further FY2008 supplemental funding, to help prepare for presidential and
parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009, and $248 million for these functions is
requested for FY2009.
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 and it is now headed by
a male. Among other activities, it promotes the involvement of women in business
Three female ministers were in the 2004-2006 cabinet: former presidential
candidate Masooda Jalal (Ministry of Women’s Affairs), Sediqa Balkhi (Minister for
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-asides. 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
Khalilzad, Zalmay (Then U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan). “Democracy Bubbles Up.”
Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2004.
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.13 Narcotics trafficking is regarded by
some as the most significant problem facing Afghanistan, generating funds to sustain
the Taliban and criminal groups. The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
reported in February 2008 that opium production levels for 2008 will likely be
similar to the 2007 record harvest, which was an increased of 34% over the previous
year. Afghanistan is the source of about 93% of the world’s illicit opium supply, and
according to INODC, “... leaving aside 19th Century China, no country in the world
has ever produced narcotics on such a deadly scale.” Narcotics now accounts for
about $4 billion in value, about 53% of the value of Afghanistan’s legal economy.
On the other hand, the February 2008 says that the number of “poppy free” provinces
is 12, an increase from 6 in 2006, and that cultivation is decreasing in another ten
provinces, including in relatively restive Nangarhar (Jalalabad is the capital), and in
the north, where UNODC says governance is increasing. Much of the cultivation
growth in recent years has come from Helmand Province (which now produces about
50% of Afghanistan’s total poppy crop) and other southern provinces where the
Taliban insurgency is still consistently active, and the February 2008 reports says
cultivation is increasing in 7 provinces, mostly in the west and south. 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.
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
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.
to better integrate counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency, as well as enhance and
encourage alternative livelihoods.14 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified
before the House Armed Services Committee on December 11, 2007, that “I believe
the coming year will show results” for the new strategy.
Part of the widely acknowledged lack of progress is attributed, in part, to
disagreements on a counter-narcotics strategy. The Afghan government wants to
focus on funding alternative livelihoods that will dissuade Afghans from growing
poppy crop, and on building governance in areas where poppy is grown. The
Afghan side, backed by some U.S. experts such as Barnett Rubin, believe that
narcotics flourish in areas where there is no security, and not the other way around.
U.S. officials emphasize eradication. In concert with interdiction and building
up alternative livelihoods, the United States has prevailed on Afghanistan to
undertake efforts to eradicate poppy fields by cutting down the crop manually on the
ground. However, there appears to be a debate between some in the U.S.
government, including Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood, and the Afghan
government over whether to conduct spraying of fields, particularly by air. The
Ambassador and others in the Bush Administration feel that aerial spraying is the
only effective means to reduce poppy cultivation. President Karzai, most recently
in an interview with the Washington Post on January 27, 2008, strongly opposes
aerial spraying of poppy fields. He and others say that allowing such activity would
cause a backlash among Afghan farmers that could produce more support for the
Taliban. Others believe that Karzai feels that acquiescing to a U.S.-designed
counter-narcotics program would make him look like a puppet of the international
community. NATO commanders, who have taken over security responsibilities
throughout Afghanistan, are now focusing on interdicting traffickers and raiding drug
labs, and overall NATO/ISAF commander Gen. Dan McNeil said in February 2008
that his NATO mandate permits him to conduct counter-narcotics combat when it is
clearly linked to insurgent activity. He estimates that narcotics trafficking provides
up to 40% of the funds for the Taliban insurgency. Congress appears to be siding
with Karzai; the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriation (P.L. 110-161) prohibits U.S.
counter-narcotics funding from being used for aerial spraying on Afghanistan poppy
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
traffickers;15 in April 2005, a DEA operation successfully caught the alleged leading
Afghan narcotics trafficker, Haji Bashir Noorzai, arresting him after a flight to New
Text of the strategy, see [http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/rpt/90561.htm#section1]
Cameron-Moore, Simon. “U.S. to Seek Indictment of Afghan Drug Barons.” Reuters,
November 2, 2004.
York. The United States is funding a new Counternarcotics Justice Center (estimated
cost, $8 million) in Kabul to prosecute and incarcerate suspected traffickers.16
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.17 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 appropriation (P.L. 110-161). 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.18 The Northern Alliance did not issue a similar ban in areas
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, by accounts of senior U.S. officials, including expansion of
roads and education and health facilities constructed. USAID spending to promote
economic growth is shown in Table 12.
Some international investors are implementing projects, and there is substantial
new construction, such as the Serena luxury hotel that opened in November 2005
(long considered a priority Taliban target and was attacked by militants on January
14, 2008, killing six) 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. 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, but there are new
privately run airlines, such as Pamir Air, Safi Air, and Kam Air. Some Afghan
leaders complain that 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). However, in November 2007, the Afghan government signed a deal with
China Metallurgical Group for the company to invest $2.8 billion to develop
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.
Afghanistan’s Aynak copper field in Lowgar Province; the agreement will include
construction of a coal-fired electric power plant and a freight railway.
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. On December 13, 2004, the 148
countries of the World Trade Organization voted to start membership talks with
Afghanistan. Another initiative supported by the United States is the establishment
of joint Afghan-Pakistani “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” which would be
modeled after “Qualified Industrial Zones” run by Israel and Jordan in which goods
produced in the zones receive duty free treatment for import into the United States.
For FY2008, $5 million in supplemental funding is requested to support the zones,
and Secretary of State Rice testified on February 13, 2008 that the Administration
would work with Congress on legislation that would enable the President to designate
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
now that a new bridge has opened (October 2007) over the Panj River, connecting
Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The bridge was built with U.S. assistance. The bridge
will further assist 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.19 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
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.
of the project held an inaugural meeting on July 9, 2002 in Turkmenistan, signing a
series of preliminary agreements. Turkmenistan’s new leadership (President
Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, succeeding the late Saparmurad Niyazov) favors the
project as well. Some U.S. officials view this project as a superior alternative to a
proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India, transiting Pakistan.
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, and Table 12 lists USAID
spending on all of these sectors for FY2002-FY2006.
Roads. Road building is considered a U.S. priority and has been
USAID’s largest project category there, taking up about 25% of
USAID spending since the fall of the Taliban. An FY2008
supplemental funding requests asks for $50 million more for roads,
particularly to rehabilitate a road that would connect northern
Afghanistan with Kabul, running through Bamiyan Province.
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
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.
Agriculture. USAID has spent about 5% of its Afghanistan funds
on agriculture, and this 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
cultivation. (Another 10% of USAID funds is spent on “alternative
livelihoods” to poppy growing, mostly in aid to farmers.)
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. About 10% of USAID spending in Afghanistan
is on power projects. 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. An FY2008 supplemental request asks for $115 million
more for this sector, particularly to ensure that a 100 Megawatt
diesel generator becomes operational for Kabul. The Afghan
government, with help from international donors, plans to import
electricity from Central Asian and other neighbors beginning in
2009. Another 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. forces and a NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); (2) U.S. and NATO operation of
“provincial reconstruction teams” (PRTs); and (3) 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. and partner country troop levels (U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM)
have increased since 2006 to combat a Taliban resurgence. NATO/ISAF has led
peacekeeping operations nationwide since October 5, 2006, and about 60% of U.S.
troops in Afghanistan (numbers are in the security indicators table below) are under
NATO command. The NATO/ISAF force is headed as of February 2007 by U.S.
Gen. Dan McNeil, taking over from U.K. General David Richards. (In January 2008,
President Bush named Gen. David McKiernan to replace McNeil.) 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, who is dual-hatted as commander of ISAF Regional Command-East
(of the NATO/ISAF mission ). 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, 19 coalition countries — primarily
Britain, France, Canada, and Italy — were contributing approximately 4,000 combat
troops to OEF, but most of these have now been “re-badged” to the expanded
NATO-led ISAF mission. A few foreign contingents, such as a small unit from the
UAE, remain part of OEF. Until December 2007, 200 South Korean forces at
Bagram Air Base (mainly combat engineers) were part of OEF; they left in December
2007 in fulfillment of a July-August 2007, agreement under which Taliban militants
released 21 kidnapped South Korean church group visitors in Ghazni province.
Two were killed during their captivity. The Taliban kidnappers did not get the
demanded release of 23 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government.
Japan 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 mission was revived in
January 2008 when the new government forced through parliament a bill to allow the
mission to resume. As part of OEF, the United States leads a multi-national naval
anti-terrorist, anti-smuggling, anti-proliferation interdiction mission in the Persian
Gulf/Arabian Sea, headquartered in Bahrain. That mission was expanded after the
fall of Saddam Hussein to include protecting Iraqi oil platforms in the Gulf.
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 the east (October 2005). By 2005,
U.S. commanders had believed that the combat, coupled with overall political and
economic reconstruction, had almost ended the insurgency.
The Taliban “Resurgence .” An upsurge of violence beginning in mid2006 took some U.S. commanders by surprise because the insurgency had been low
level for several years, and polls show that the Taliban are politically unpopular, even
in the conservative Pashtun areas. However, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Michael Mullen testified on December 11, 2007, that the Taliban support
had tripled to about 20% over the past two years. Taliban insurgents, increasingly
adapting suicide and roadside bombing characteristic of the Iraq insurgency,
nonetheless have been 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 violence has triggered 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
permitting the Taliban safe haven. U.S. commanders say the increase in violence is
caused mainly by a higher tempo of U.S./ISAF anti-Taliban operations rather than
any increase in Taliban recruitment or capabilities. 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
NATO has countered the violence with repeated offensives, such as Operation
Mountain Lion, Operation Mountain Thrust, and Operation Medusa (AugustSeptember 2006). The latter was considered a success in ousting Taliban fighters
from the Panjwai district near Qandahar. Operation Medusa also demonstrated that
NATO would conduct intensive combat in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of Medusa,
British forces – who believe in working more with tribal leaders as part of negotiated
local solutions – 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. A NATO offensive in December 2007, approved
by President Karzai, retook Musa Qala, although there continue to be recriminations
between the Britain, on the one side, and the United States and Karzai, on the other,
over the wisdom of the original British deal on Musa Qala. The differences
continued in January 2008 when Karzai reportedly was considering reappointing the
previous governor of Helmand, Sher Muhammad Akhundzada (a.k.a “Koka”), who
is staunchly anti-Taliban but who the British oppose for his past human rights abuses
that they say will ignite popular unrest against the Afghan government.
In early 2007, U.S. and NATO, bolstered by the infusion of about 3,200 U.S.
troops and 3,800 NATO and other partner forces, pre-empted an anticipated Taliban
“spring offensive” by an estimated 8,000 Taliban fighters. In a preemptive move,
in March 2007, about 6,000 NATO and Afghan troops conducted “Operation
Achilles” to expel militants from 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. The Taliban “offensive” largely did not materialize, and U.S.
and NATO commanders say their efforts 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. His brother, Mansoor, replaced him as leader of that
faction but Mansoor was arrested crossing into Pakistan in February 2008 – arrests
and deaths such as these are contributing to U.S. command optimism that it will
eventually defeat the Taliban outright. 20 A U.S. airstrike in late December 2006
killed another prominent commander, Mullah Akhtar Usmani.
Policy Reviews. Because the offensives have not quelled the Taliban, a
reported National Security Council review (reported by the Washington Post on
November 25, 2007) and say the Taliban has been able to expand its presence,
particularly in “un-governed” remote areas. The National Security Council review
also reportedly concluded that the United States needed to focus more attention and
resources on the Afghan situation than it had previously. Secretary of Defense Gates
reportedly affirmed to Members of Congress by Secretary Gates in October 2007 that
the Afghan war is “under-resourced” because of the U.S. effort in Iraq. Joint Chiefs
Chairman Mullen largely confirmed that perception in his December 11 testimony
in which he stated that, in Iraq, “the United States does what it must, while in
Afghanistan, the United States does what it can.” Other policy reviews are being
conducted by the State Department; the Department is evaluating its use of “soft
power” to complement the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan , and by NATO
(discussed further below). Similar findings are emphasized in recent outside
assessments of Afghanistan policy, including a report in November 2007 by the
Senlis Council; 21 a January 2008 study by the Atlantic Council (“Saving Afghanistan:
An Appeal and Plan for Urgent Action”) and a January 30, 2008 study by the Center
for the Study of the Presidency (“Afghanistan Study Group Report”), as well as in
recent hearings, such as the January 31, 2008 hearing before the Senate Foreign
The reviews are a response to a perception of growing Taliban strength, as
evidenced by, among other indicators, (1) several major suicide bombings, such as
one in Kabul on June 17, 2007, which killed about 35 Afghan police recruits on a
bus; (2) the suicide bombing in early November 2007 that killed six parliamentarians,
as noted above; and (3) expanding Taliban operations in provinces where it had not
previously been active, including Ghazni and Lowgar, closer to Kabul, although
some believe the Taliban were compelled to move northward by military pressure by
NATO. Other Taliban attacks have shown the Taliban ability to act against targets
that are either well defended or in highly populated centers; examples include the
January 14, 2008, attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul (see below) and the January
26, 2008, kidnaping of an American aid worker in Qandahar. On the other hand,
U.S. commanders say that the United States and its allies have made substantial
progress reducing Taliban attacks in eastern Afghanistan where U.S. troops mainly
operate and are able to achieve significant coverage; one U.S. briefing in January
2008 said that attacks along the eastern Afghan-Pakistan border are 40% lower than
they were in December 2006.
Mansoor Dadullah was one of five Taliban leaders released in March 2007 in exchange
for the freedom of kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, but there were
reports in January 2008 that Mullah Umar Mullah Umar had dismissed Mansoor because
of reported talks with British military officers about his possible defection.
Text of the report is at [http://www.senliscouncil.net/modules/publications/Afghanistan_
As a consequence of the policy review, the Administration is taking new steps
to counter the perception of deterioration in Afghanistan, as well as to ease strains
with key NATO partners. On January 14, 2008, Secretary of Defense Gates
approved the deployment of an additional 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan (for seven
months), of which about 700 will be for training the Afghan security forces and the
remainder will provide more combat capability in the south, as needed (rather than
assuming responsibility for distinct territory). The Marines will, in part, try to blunt
a Taliban “spring offensive” again anticipated in 2008. The Administration decided
on this course of action rather than on trying to compel new NATO and other partner
contributions. U.S. and NATO commanders in Afghanistan had previously decided
that they needed about three more battalions (about 3,500) to be able to prevent the
Taliban from re-infiltrating cleared areas, but NATO and other partner countries had
been hesitant, because of limited resources and waning domestic support for combat,
to fulfill the need.
U.S. and NATO commanders are also increasingly sensitive to losing “hearts
and minds” because 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 August
2007. With Karzai saying in October 2007 that he had asked for a halt to the use of
air strikes, NATO is reportedly examining using smaller air force munitions to limit
collateral damage from air strikes, or increased use of ground operations.
Despite recent losses, several key Taliban leaders are at large and believed to be
working with Al Qaeda leaders; some Taliban are able to give interviews to Pakistani
(Geo television) and other media stations. In addition to Mullah Umar, Jalaludin
Haqqani and his son, Siraj, remain 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. The Taliban has several official
spokespersons, including Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, and it operates a clandestine radio
station, “Voice of Shariat,” and publishes videos.
Feelers to the Taliban. President Karzai believes that an alternative means
of combating Taliban militants is to offer talks with Taliban fighters who want to
consider ending their fight. In September 2007, Karzai offered to meet with Mullah
Umar himself, appearing thereby to backtrack on earlier statements that about 100150 of the top Taliban leadership would not be eligible for amnesty. 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. Still, some Taliban militants have renounced violence and joined
the political process under Karzai’s offers of amnesty. 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. In December 2007, other press reports appeared that
European or other intermediaries had been holding secret talks with Taliban figures.
Even though it is Karzai’s position that talks with the Taliban could be helpful, two
European diplomats working for the United Nations and European Union were
expelled by the Afghan government in December 2007, possibly because they
allegedly provided the Taliban intermediaries with small gifts as gestures of
goodwill. As referenced above, there have been reports that, before his capture,
Mansoor Dadullah was in talks with British forces about ending his battles, and some
recent news stories say that Siraj Haqqani has been in talks with Pakistani
intermediaries about possibly ending Taliban activity inside Pakistan.
Whereabouts of Al Qaeda Leaders and Fighters. 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. 22 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.23 A strike in late January 2008, in an area near Damadola, killed Abu
Laith al-Libi, a reported senior Al Qaeda figure who purportedly masterminded,
among other operations, the bombing at Bagram Air Base in February 2007 when
Vice President Cheney was visiting. During a 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. Other reports say there are a
growing number of Al Qaeda militants now being identified on the Afghan
battlefield, 24 although senior U.S. officials say that these militants may now be
focused on sewing instability in Pakistan more so than in Afghanistan.
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.” 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. Some believe HIG was
responsible for the November 6, 2007 bombing in Baghlan that killed six
parliamentarians and about 60 others, mostly children.
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.
Shanker, Thom. “U.S. Senses a Rise in Activity By Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.” New York
Times, December 4, 2007.
U.S. Military Presence/SOFA/Use of Facilities. U.S. forces operate in
Afghanistan under a “status of forces agreement” (SOFA) between the United States
and the interim government of Afghanistan in November 2002; the agreement gives
the United States legal jurisdiction over U.S. personnel serving in Afghanistan.
Even if the Taliban insurgency ends, Afghan leaders say they want the United States
to maintain a long-term presence in Afghanistan. On May 8, 2005, Karzai
summoned about 1,000 delegates to a consultative jirga in 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” 25 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.
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.
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. Turned over from U.S. to NATO/ISAF control in late
2006 in conjunction with NATO assumption of peacekeeping responsibilities.
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. Bakiyev demanded a large increase in the $2 million per year U.S.
contribution for use of the base; dispute eased in July 2006 with U.S.
agreement to give Kyrgyzstan $150 million in assistance and base use
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.
Al Udeid Air
Largest air facility used by U.S. in region. About 5,000 U.S. personnel in
Qatar. Houses central air operations coordination center for U.S. missions
in Iraq and Afghanistan; also houses CENTCOM forward headquarters.
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
The NATO-led “International Security Assistance Force” (ISAF, consisting of
all 26 NATO members states plus 11 partner countries) now commands
peacekeeping operations throughout Afghanistan. The several tables at the end of
this paper list contributing countries and forces contributed, areas of operations, and
Provincial Reconstruction Teams they control.) ISAF was created by the Bonn
Agreement and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1386 (December 20, 2001), 27
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). 28 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.
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. Britain is the lead force in Helmand; Canada is lead in Qandahar, and the
Netherlands is lead in Uruzgan . “Stage 4,” the assumption of NATO/ISAF
command of peacekeeping in fourteen provinces of eastern Afghanistan (and thus all
of Afghanistan), was completed on October 5, 2006. As part of the completion of the
NATO/ISAF takeover of command, the United States put about half the U.S. troops
operating in Afghanistan under NATO/ISAF’s “Regional Command East” (RC-E).
The remaining 12,000 OEF U.S. forces in Afghanistan also operate mainly in the
east, and all U.S. forces, both OEF and those under NATO/ISAF, are commanded by
U.S. Gen. Rodriguez.
Differences between the United States and other NATO countries on the Afghan
mission appear to have widened in early 2008 because of the reluctance of many
NATO countries to conduct combat in Afghanistan or to add troops to those already
in combat. In conjunction with the U.S. policy review of November 2007, and in
concert with Secretary Gates’s discussions with NATO leaders, there has apparently
been a Bush Administration decision to tone down criticism of inadequate NATO
efforts in Afghanistan and, at least temporarily, to fill in gaps with additional U.S.
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.
forces and equipment. In his December 11, 2007, testimony, Secretary Gates
previewed his presentation, at a NATO meeting in Scotland on December 13, 2007,
a “strategic concept paper” that would help coordinate and guide NATO and other
partner contributions and missions over the coming three to five years — an effort
to structure each country’s contribution as appropriate to the politics and resources
of that contributor. The concept paper, which reportedly was well received, is to be
ready for endorsement at the NATO summit in Romania in April 2008.
At the same time, U.S. officials continue to try to line up new NATO
contributions to add force in the south and to assure adequate troop levels when the
3,200 Marines end their seven month deployment in late 2008. As of now, the
partner forces that are bearing the brunt of combat in southern Afghanistan are
Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia. In February 2008,
Canada said it would extend its 2,500 troop deployment until 2009, but not beyond
that, unless other partners contribute 1,000 forces to assist with combat in the
Canadian sector (Qandahar province). France, which previously refused to send
troops to high combat zones, announced an unspecified deployment that might go
a long way toward satisfying the Canadian demand. At the same time, Germany, on
the other hand, turned down a U.S. request to send forces to the combat-heavy south,
but it did announce it would add 500 forces to its sector in the north, mostly to take
over a Norway-led rapid reaction force there. (Despite opposition in Germany to the
Afghanistan mission, Germany’s parliament voted by a 453-79 vote margin on
October 12, 2007, to maintain German troop levels in Afghanistan.) Britain has said
it would add about 600 troops to its already significant 7,800 troop commitment to
Afghanistan, but these forces will serve in Britain’s sector of the south (very high
combat Helmand Province). Another major contributor, Poland, said in February
2008 it would add 400 troops to the 1,200 in Afghanistan, but that they would
continue to fight alongside U.S. forces as part of Regional Command-East. Norway
plans to add 200 troops but in the largely passive north, where Norway is deployed.
Among other unfulfilled pledges (in addition to the 3,200 combat forces the
United States has now decided to send) are 3,200 additional trainers that are needed
for Afghan security forces. About 700 of the 3,200 Marines that will deploy to
Afghanistan by April 2008 will be trainers to address that shortage. Another key
point of contention has been NATO’s chronic personnel and equipment shortages —
particularly helicopters, both for transport and attack — for the Afghanistan mission.
Secretary Gates has been pressing for months for NATO countries to contribute an
additional 16 helicopters in southern Afghanistan to relieve a U.S. helicopter
battalion that Gates said in testimony would not have its deployment there extended
again (after early 2008). One idea considered at the NATO meeting in Scotland on
December 13, 2008 was for U.S. or other donors to pay for the upgrading of
helicopters that partner countries might possess but have inadequate resources to
adapt to Afghanistan’s harsh flying conditions. Some NATO countries reportedly are
considering jointly modernizing about 20 Russian-made transport helicopters that
could be used by all participating nations in Afghanistan. In 2007, to try to
compensate for the shortage, NATO has chartered about 20 commercial helicopters
for extra routine supply flights to the south, freeing up Chinooks and Black Hawks
for other missions.
The shortages persist even though several partner nations have brought in
additional equipment in 2006 in conjunction with taking leading roles in the south,
including Apache attack helicopters and F-16 aircraft. Italy has sent “Predator”
unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and six AMX fighter-bomber aircraft. 29
Germany notes that it does provide 6 Tornado combat aircraft to assist with strikes
in combat situations in the south. 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).
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. Some nations refuse to conduct night-time combat. Others
have refused to carry Afghan National Army or other Afghan personnel on their
helicopters. Others do not fight after snowfall. 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 28-29, 2006, some NATO countries, particularly the
Netherlands, Romania, and France, pledged to remove some of these caveats, and
some have done so. All agreed that their forces would come to each others’ defense
in times of emergency anywhere in Afghanistan. (For more information, see CRS
Report RL33627. NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance, by
Provincial Reconstruction Teams
U.S. and partner officials have generally praised the effectiveness of “provincial
reconstruction teams” (PRTs) — enclaves of U.S. or partner forces and civilian
officials that provide safe havens for international aid workers to help with
reconstruction and to extend the writ of the Kabul government — in accelerating
reconstruction and assisting stabilization efforts. The PRTs, a December 2002 U.S.
initiative, perform activities ranging 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. 30 Other relief groups do not want to associate
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,
with military force because doing so might taint their perceived neutrality. Secretary
Gates and U.S. commanders have attributed recent successes in stabilizing some
areas, such as Ghazni and Khost, to the PRTs’ ability to intensify reconstruction by
coordinating many different security and civilian activities. In Ghazni, almost all the
schools are now open, whereas one year ago many were closed because of Taliban
intimidation. In Khost, according to Secretary Gates on December 11, PRT
activities have led to a dramatic improvement in security over the past year. He
says suicide bombings have fallen from one per week in 2006 to one per month now.
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 PRTs, including lead country, is shown in Table 14. 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. USAID funds
used for PRT programs are in the table on USAID spending at the end of this paper.
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
took over the PRT at Tarin Kowt, capital of 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. The Czech Republic will
establish a new PRT in Lowgar Province in March 2008. 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
Afghan Security Forces
U.S. forces (“Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan,” CSTCA, headed as of July 2007 by Gen. Robert Cone), in partnership with partner
countries, are training the new Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National
April 11, 2003.
Afghan National Army. U.S. and allied officers say that the ANA, now
about 47,000, is becoming a major force in stabilizing the country and a national
symbol. The target ANA size, 80,000, is an increase from the previous target size
of 70,000; the target size increase was decided by the United States and Afghanistan
in December 2007. The goal is expected to be reached by late 2008 However,
Afghanistan’s Defense Minister says that even that size is highly inadequate and
should be at least 150,000. The United States has built four regional bases for it
(Herat, Gardez, Qandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharif). 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 10-20 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.
ANA battalions, or “Kandaks,” are stiffened by the presence of U.S. and partner
embeds, called “Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams” (OMLTs). Each OMLT
has about 12-19 personnel, and U.S. commanders say that the ANA will continue to
need embeds for the short term, because embeds give the units confidence they will
be resupplied, reinforced, and evacuated in the event of wounding. Still, senior U.S.
commanders say that some ANA battalions in eastern Afghanistan will be able to
conduct operations on their own by spring 2008. Coalition officers also are
conducting heavy weapons training for a heavy brigade as part of the “Kabul Corps,”
based in Pol-e-Charki, east of Kabul. Among the partner countries contributing
OMLTs (all or in part) are Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Britain, and the United
States. As noted above, about 700 of the extra 3,200 Marines being sent to
Afghanistan in early 2008 will be devoted to training the ANA and ANP. The Indian
press reported on April 24, 2007, that a separate team from the Indian Army would
help train the ANA.31
Other U.S. 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
Indian television news channel NDTV. April 24, 2007.
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. The
FY2005 foreign aid appropriation (P.L. 108-447) requires that ANA recruits be
vetted for terrorism, human rights violations, and drug trafficking.
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.
The Afghan Air Force, a carryover from the Afghan Air Force that existed prior
to the Soviet invasion, is expanding gradually after its equipment was virtually
eliminated in the 2001-2002 U.S. combat against the Taliban regime. It now has
about 400 pilots, as well as 22 helicopters and cargo aircraft. Its goal is to have 61
aircraft by 2011. By May 2008, it is expected to receive an additional 25 surplus
helicopters from the Czech Republic and the UAE, bought and refurbished with the
help of U.S. funds. 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. U.S. plans do not
include supply of fixed-wing combat aircraft such as F-16s, which Afghanistan
wants, according to U.S. military officials .
Table 2. Recent and Pending Foreign Equipment
Major $2 billion value in arms delivered between May 2006-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 Act.
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
10 Mi-17 helicopters (to be delivered by May 2008)
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. There is a
widespread consensus that this effort lags that of the ANA by about 18 months,
although U.S. commanders say that it is increasingly successful in repelling Taliban
assaults on villages and that the ANP (now numbering about 57,000) is experiencing
fewer casualties from attacks. To continue the progress, the U.S. military is
conducting reforms to take ANP out of the bureaucracy and onto the streets and it is
trying to bring ANP pay on par with the ANA. It has also launched a program called
“focused district development” to concentrate resources on developing individual
police forces in districts, which is the basic geographic area of ANP activity. (There
are about ten “districts” in each of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.) In this program, a
district force is taken out and retrained, its duties temporarily performed by more
highly trained police, and then reinserted after the training is complete.
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. There are currently seven police training centers
around Afghanistan. In addition to the U.S. effort, which includes 600 civilian U.S.
police trainers (mostly still Dyncorp contractors) in addition to the U.S. military
personnel (see table on security indicators), Germany (technically the lead
government in Afghan police training) is providing 41 trainers. The European Union
announced has sent an additional 120 police trainers as part of a 190-member
“EUPOL” training effort, and 60 other experts to help train the ANP.
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, 32
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.
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.
Tribal Militias. Since June 2006, Karzai has authorized arming some local
tribal militias (arbokai) in eastern Afghanistan, building on established tribal
structures, to help in local policing. Karzai argues that these militias provide security
and are loyal to the nation and central government and that arming them is not
inconsistent with the disarmament programs discussed below. Britain favors
expanding the arbokai program to the south, but U.S. military commanders say that
this program would likely not work in the south because of differing tribal structures
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 Forces in Afghanistan
About 54,000, of which: 41,000 are NATO/ISAF. ( Compares to
12,000 ISAF in 2005; and 6,000 in 2003.) U.S. forces: 27,000
total, of which 15,000 in NATO/ISAF and 12,000 in separate
OEF. U.S. total is up from about 19,000 in 2005. About 1,000
coalition partner forces in OEF, but not ISAF. 3,200 Marines
ordered to deploy in January 2008, will be in place by April.
U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan 415 killed, of which 283 by hostile action. Additional 63 U.S.
deaths in other theaters of OEF, including the Phillipines and
parts of Africa (OEF-Trans Sahara). About 275 partner forces
killed. 100+ U.S. killed in 2007, highest yet. 150 were killed
from October 2001 - January 2003.
(Regional Commands-South, RC-S - 11,700; RC-E - 14,300; RC-N - 3,400; RC-W - 2,500
east, north, west, and RC-Kabul - 3,300. National contingent commands - 6,500
Afghan National Army (ANA) 47,000 current, with 80,000 official goal by 2008. About 2,000
trained per month. Fully trained recruits are paid about
$100 per month; generals receive about $530 per month.
About 3,000 U.S. trainers plus about 1,000 partner forces.
Organized as OMLTs (see text). About 700 of the additional
Marines in 2008 will go toward training.
Afghan National Police (ANP) 57,000 on duty. Authorized strength is 82,000. Salaries
raised to $100 per month in mid-2007 from $70 to
counter corruption in the force. 2,600 are counternarcotics police.
Legally Armed Fighters
disarmed by DDR
About 400 U.S. military trainers, plus 600 civilian U.S.
police trainers, but about 900 U.S. military trainers being
shifted to ANP from ANA training. Assisted by EUPOL
- European Union contingent of 120 trainers (goal is
190)- and 41 German trainers of senior ANP officers.
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 150.
Afghan Casualties (including
Taliban; all types of violence)
About 6,000 in 2007
Number of Improvised
Explosive Devices (IED’s)
500+ in 2007
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.
Experts differ on the degree to which Pakistan is helping or hindering U.S.
efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. 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, and some believe it still feels
this way. Pakistan ended its public support for the Taliban after the September 11,
2001, attacks. For its part, Pakistan has been 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.
During 2001-2006, the Bush Administration generally refrained from criticism
of Musharraf, corroborating his assertions of Pakistani accomplishments against Al
Qaeda. Musharraf notes that Pakistan has arrested over 700 Al Qaeda figures, some
of them senior, since the September 11 attacks. After the attacks, Pakistan provided
the United States with access to Pakistani airspace, some ports, and some airfields
for OEF. 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). Others say Musharraf has acted against Al
Qaeda only because of its threat to him; for example, he stepped up Pakistani military
activities in the tribal areas of Pakistan only after the December 2003 assassination
attempts against him by that organization.
On the Taliban, however, Pakistan has faced consistent Afghan criticism.
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, including Mullah Umar,
to operating there. In a press interview on February 2, 2007, President Pervez
Musharraf tacitly acknowledged that some senior Taliban leaders might be able to
operate from Pakistan but strongly denied that any Pakistani intelligence agencies
For extensive analysis of U.S. policy toward Pakistan, and U.S. assistance to Pakistan in
conjunction with its activities against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, see CRS Report RL33498,
Pakistan-U.S. Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt.
were deliberately assisting the Taliban. The future course of relations are even more
uncertain than they have been because of the political turmoil in Pakistan that could
see the fall of Musharraf.
The latest phase of U.S. attempts to broker cooperation between Pakistan and
Afghanistan began on September 28, 2006, when a joint dinner for Karzai and
Musharraf was 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. However, in a meeting with then 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. Karzai said the move would separate tribes
and families that straddle the border. Pakistan subsequently dropped the idea of
mining the border, but is building 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; U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani military officers
had already been meeting on either side of the border to coordinate efforts against
extremists. U.S. forces in Afghanistan have acknowledged on a few occasion in
2007 that they have shelled purported Taliban positions inside the Pakistani side of
the border, and have done some “hot pursuit” a few kilometers over the border into
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 ; 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 ,34 a meeting that came out
of the September 2006 summit above. Karzai visited Pakistan on December 26,
2007 to discuss the Taliban safehaven issue and other bilateral issues, and reports
said his meeting with Musharraf , who is said to be increasingly politically weak
within Pakistan, was highly productive, resulting in re-dedication to joint action
against militants. While in Pakistan, Karzai met with Pakistani opposition leader
Benazir Bhutto just hours before she was assassinated on December 26.
Since September 2007, press reports have said that U.S. military planners are
proposing increasing U.S. direct action, partly in partnership with Pakistani border
and other forces , inside Pakistan.35 Responding to the reports, Musharraf publicly
opposed any unilateral U.S. action against militants inside Pakistan. In late January
Straziuso, Jason. Musharraf Pulls Out of Peace Council. Associated Press, August 8,
Tyson, Ann Scott. “Pakistan Strife Threatens Anti-Insurgent Plan.” Washington Post,
November 9, 2007.
2008, Secretary of Defense Gates said that Pakistan had not yet asked for such U.S.
help and that any U.S. troops potentially deployed to Pakistan would most likely be
assigned solely to train Pakistani border forces, such as the Frontier Corps.
Suggesting that it can act against the Taliban when it intends to, 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. 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. 36 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, DC, 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
Rashid, Ahmed. “Afghan Neighbors Show Signs of Aiding in Nation’s Stability.” Wall
Street Journal, October 18, 2004.
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
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. 37 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
Steele, Jonathon, “America Includes Iran in Talks on Ending War in Afghanistan.”
Washington Times, December 15, 1997.
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
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.38 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. 39 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
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
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
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. It 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, 40 and a deal was signed in
November 2007 as discussed above (China Metallurgical Group).
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. 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.
According to U.S. officials, Saudi Arabia cooperated extensively, if not
publicly, with OEF. It broke diplomatic relations with the Taliban in late September
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. airstrikes from it
CRS Conversations with Chinese officials in Beijing. August 2007.
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; the conference report on the FY2008 defense authorization bill (P.L.
110-181) established a “special inspector general” for Afghanistan reconstruction,
(SIGAR) modeled on a similar outside auditor for Iraq (“Special Inspector General
for Iraq Reconstruction,” SIGIR).
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
and 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 FY2002 and including funds already
appropriated for FY2008, the United States has provided over $23 billion in
reconstruction assistance, including military “train and equip” for the ANA and ANP
and counter-narcotics-related assistance. These amounts do not include costs for
U.S. combat operations, which are discussed in CRS Report RL33110, The Cost of
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11, by Amy
Belasco. The tables below depict the aid.41
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 about
$3.7 billion in U.S. civilian aid for FY2003-FY2006. For the most part, the
humanitarian, counter-narcotics, and governance assistance targets authorized by the
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
were added to specified accounts from monies in the September 11-related Emergency
act were met or exceeded by appropriations. However, no Enterprise Funds have
been appropriated, and ISAF expansion was funded by the contributing partner
forces. t 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. Some observers say the Senate might take it up early in 2008. The
following are the major provisions of the bill:
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
FY2008, both regular and supplemental. When the supplemental request is factored
in, the requests for both FY2007 and FY2008 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). 42
International Reconstruction Pledges/Aid/Lending. 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 non-U.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
Among other forms of post-Taliban assistance, over $350 million in U.S. and allied
frozen funds were released to the Afghan government after the fall of the Taliban. The U.S.
Treasury Department (Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC) unblocked over $145
million in assets of Afghan government-owned banking entities frozen under 1999 U.S.
Taliban-related sanctions, and another $17 million in privately owned Afghan assets. The
funds were used for currency stabilization; mostly gold, held in Afghanistan’s name in the
United States, that backs up Afghanistan’s currency. Another $20 million in overflight fees
withheld by U.N. Taliban-related sanctions were provided in 2003. The Overseas Private
Investment Corporation (OPIC) has made available investment credits as well.
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.
Among multilateral lending institutions, 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 also been playing a major role in
Afghanistan, loaning (or granting) Afghanistan more than $450 million since
December 2002. 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.
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
100.43 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.44 In late
January 2005, Afghan intelligence began a push to buy remaining Stingers back, at
a reported cost of $150,000 each.45
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
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.
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 1999.46 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 $7 million in the post-Taliban period. Most of the funds
have gone to HALO Trust, a British organization, and the U.N. Mine Action Program
for Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Compact adopted in London in February 2006
states that by 2010, the goal should be to reduce the land area of Afghanistan
contaminated by mines by 70%.
“U.S.-Made Stinger Missiles — Mobile and Lethal.” Reuters, May 28, 1999.
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998
($ 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)
(In accordance with Continuing Appropriation P.L. 110-5)
479 (USAID plans $42 million for PRTs)
Total This Law
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
6.870 billion in final version
10.388 billion (all programs)
Table 11. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2008
Regular FY2008 Appropriation (H.R. 2764, P.L. 110-161)
Child Survival and Health
NADR (Karzai protection)
Radio Free Afghanistan
Afghan Security Forces Funding
$543 million total.
Of this: $126 million for
emergency request (see below); $75 million to
benefit women and girls; $20 million for agriculture.
$300 million limit subject to counter-narcotics
cooperation certification. Regular ESF request was
for $693 million
274.8 m., forbids use for aerial spraying
(incl. $5.9 million for child and maternal clinics)
(For emergency request below)
Total appropriated in P.L. 110161
Revised FY2008 Supplemental Request (Global War on Terrorism)
Security Forces equip and train
U.S. Embassy security
834 m. request (additional 495 beyond 339
original supplemental request)
(Of the additional $495, $325 is for provincial
governance, National Solidarity program, election
support; $170 is for economic growth, including
$115 for power. Another $50 for roads, and another
$5 is for Reconstruction Opportunity Zones)
($1.71 billion for ANA/$980 million for ANP)
U.S. Embassy construction,
Total FY2008 supplemental
(Of which $126 million in ESF and $1.35 billion in
Security Forces appropriated above)
Total FY2008 (regular and
supp., if remaining requested
funds are appropriated)
($ in millions)
Child Survival and Health
(includes 120 for alternative livelihoods,
248 for democracy and governance, 226
for econ. growth, 74 for PRT programs)
(Plus 57 more of ESF for health and
International Counter-Narcotics and Law
International Military Education and
Other non-military accounts
Afghan National Security Forces Funding
( DoD funds)
(incl. 12 m. in non-emergency food aid)
Table 12. USAID Obligations FY2002-FY2007
Rule of Law
Table 13. NATO/ISAF Contributing Nations
(As of January 2008) [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 Province (RC-East, E)
Ghazni (RC-E). with Poland.
Parwan (RC-C, Central)
Zabol (RC-South, S). with Romania.
Paktika (RC-E). with Poland.
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
Germany. with Denmark, Czech Rep.
Norway. with Sweden.
Lithuania. with Denmark, U.S., Iceland
New Zealand (not NATO/ISAF)
Czech Republic (begins work March
Table 15. Major Factions/Leaders in Afghanistan
Mullah (Islamic cleric) Muhammad Umar (still at
large possibly in Afghanistan)/Jalaludin and Siraj
in the south
and east, and
Burhannudin Rabbani/ Yunus Qanooni (speaker of
lower house)/Muhammad Fahim/Dr. Abdullah
Abdullah (Foreign Minister 2001-2006). Ismail
Khan, a so-called “warlord,” heads faction of the
grouping in Herat area.
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 his top “security adviser.”
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