Afghanistan remains significant to U.S. national security and to U.S. interests in Asia. The next administration will need to undertake a thorough assessment of U.S. policy going forward which, among other things:
- Sets specific, clearly defined and communicated goals;
- Maintains a long-term perspective rather than focusing narrowly on set deadlines regarding the U.S. military presence;
- Remains mindful that a stable security environment underpins any progress on vitally important economic development initiatives; and
- Reexamines U.S. policy towards engaging and influencing Pakistan.
These are just a few of the conclusions contained in the Afghanistan Going Forward report of a bipartisan group of experts on Afghanistan convened by The Asia Foundation to consider future U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. Experts, including The Wisteria Group CEO Abigail Friedman, concluded that the new administration will need to make the case for continued commitment, including troop deployment at responsible, effective levels, and spending, to a U.S. public fatigued by war and distracted by other domestic and global issues. It will be important for the next administration, amid many competing foreign policy priorities, to continue prioritizing Afghanistan engagement.