CNAS: U.S. should cede lead role in many Afghanistan ops

With American forces on pace to be out of Afghanistan by 2014, U.S. commanders should begin a shift toward “security force assistance” missions where American troops would advise, assist and “enable” their Afghan counterparts, the report states.

If U.S. forces are kept in the lead for these missions, CNAS writes, it will work against Washington’s long-term goals there

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That's because indigenous forces would lack the requisite experience and expertise to carry out counterinsurgency operations once U.S. and allied forces are long gone.

“Afghan forces must move more rapidly to take the lead in Afghanistan while the United States and its coalition allies still have significant numbers of troops and enablers in the country,” according to a CNAS summary of the report. “U.S. commanders need to assume greater risk in the near-term if the Afghan forces are to succeed in this task.”

The Hill reported last month that U.S. Marines soon would begin winding down counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, said then his Leathernecks soon would begin working to “set the conditions” for Afghan government officials and security forces to assume control of key provinces by next fall as American troops begin to exit.

The think tank has ties to the Obama administration's Pentagon and State Department.