The United States’ eleven-year involvement in Afghanistan has been a tumultuous experience, and recent months have been a microcosm of that: Afghan soldiers turned violently on Americans, and vice versa; the Taliban launched a spring offensive on Kabul; the Afghan army ably beat them back; and now, Afghanistan and the U.S. have finally signed a strategic-partnership agreement, defining their respective roles. Although the details of this agreement are still not available, it is a proper promise of long-term American security and support, and a development that one former commander is pleased to observe.
From 2008 to 2009, General David D. McKiernan commanded NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which comprises the entire Western military force in Afghanistan. His work there (which preceded General Stanley McChrystal’s tenure) and his understanding of America’s military give him a perspective on the successes and failures of ISAF so far, and some insight into what the future might hold.
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