Next steps in Afghanistan

This requires three areas of increased focus to match the military effort. Briefly those are:

1. A regional diplomatic and economic effort that engages Afghanistan and Pakistan, and engages those nations with neighbors and potential partners such as China, India, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Gulf countries, Central Asia and other countries in the far east. 

2. Refocus the international community on building local capacity in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While billions are spent on foreign contractors and NGOs providing a multitude of local services, the Afghan budget for all vocational and secondary education for the entire country was $35m.

3. Emphasize economic investments that can make huge gains in domestic revenue collection for Afghanistan and Pakistan, allowing those nations more responsibility for their own costs and relieving U.S. and European taxpayers.

Clare Lockhart is director of the Institute for State Effectiveness.