Failing Transition: The New 1230 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan

  • Aug 6, 2013

    A new Burke Chair report entitled “Failing Transition: The New 1230 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan” updates a shorter analysis issued last week and expands and integrates the text and graphics. The report can be found on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/files/publication/130805_failingtransition_afghanistan.pdf.

    The report uses combination of narrative and graphic analysis to examine the new Department of Defense 1230 report on the Afghan War issued late in July 2013, along with new SIGAR and UN reporting. It shows that the level of insurgent activity is rising, and demonstrates rising levels of violence and casualties. The Afghan surge may have succeeded in halting insurgent momentum in terms of territorial gains but fell far short of the impact of the surge in Iraq.

    The report shows that ISAF and the Department of Defense have withdrawn past claims that the number of enemy initiated attacks were dropping. The data also show that Afghan military and civilian casualties increased during and after the surge, and the insurgent are becoming far more effective at targeted killings. Total Afghan military casualties have increased far more rapidly than civilian casualties, and total ISAF and ANSF casualties are now far higher than at any previous time in the war, in spite of the fact that the ISAF share of casualties is now negligible.

    At the same time, some trends do favor Transition. The data on Afghan force development are mixed, but indicates that Afghan forces may still be able to succeed if -- as the latest DoD, ISAF, and SIGAR data show -- they receive major outside finding and large numbers of US and allied advisors, partners, and trainers well beyond 2016.

    At the same time, the new DoD and SIGAR reports make it clear that problems with leadership, the 2014 election, corruption, power brokers, and poor governance all pose critical threats to Transition. So does the lack of any clear plan to help Afghanistan transition out of levels of aid and military spending larger than its domestic GDP and aid roughly equal to seven times its domestic budget.

    It is also clear from the new Department of Defense and SIGAR reports, as well as earlier GAO reporting, that that the US still has no real Transition plan for the period after 2014. The US military has some elements of a plan for the ANSF, but no funding or level of advisors and enablers has yet been approved, and the lead time necessary to budget and plan for the future and ensure continuity for those who stay is elapsing.

    The US Department of State and USAID do not seem to have clears plans for the civil side of the war. They continue to make exaggerated claims of progress, understate the risks, and focusing on project aid rather than the war and need for stability.

    Table of Contents

    No One Follows Where No One Leads 4
    Figure 1: Real World Aid: Declare Victory and Leave? Development Assistance Levels Before and After Troop Reductions 5
    Figure 2: 67% of Americans Day Afghan War Not Worth fighting 6
    Examining Afghanistan’s Strategic Priority 7
    Honest and Forthright Conditionality 7
    Putting the New 1230 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan in Perspective 9
    Recent Military Developments 10
    Figure 3: Formal Transfers of Security Do Not Mean Real ANSF Security Capability: Each Tranche Gave ANSF responsibility for Higher Risk Areas With Less Overall Ability to Ensure Security 13
    Figure 4: Regional Patterns in Deaths and Injuries: 2009 – 2013 14
    Figure 5: Perceptions of Security Seem to be Improving on a National Average Level 16
    Figure 6: Perceptions of ANSF Seem to be Improving on a National Average Level 17
    Worsening Levels of Violence 18
    Figure 7: What is the Real Security Situation? Impact of Surge in Iraq vs. Surge in Afghanistan 20
    Figure 8: Number of Enemy Initiated Attacks Has Recovered Since the “Surge”: No Progress in reducing Enemy Initiated Attacks in First Six Months of 2013 versus First Six Months of 2012 21
    Sharply Rising Casualty Levels 22
    Figure 9: Military Casualties Are Rising Very Sharply and Are Now Largely Afghan Driven: ANSF and ISAF KIAs, January 2010 – March, 2013 23
    Figure 10: UNAMA: Civilian Deaths and Injuries: January to June: 2009 – 2013 24
    Figure 11: UNAMA: Civilian Deaths by Parties to the Conflict: January to June: 2009 – 2013 25
    Figure 12: UNAMA: Insurgents Shift to Targeted Killings: 2009 – 2013 26
    Figure 13: UNAMA: Civilian Deaths and Injuries by Anti-Government Elements: January to June: 2009 – 2013 27
    Figure 14: UNAMA: Civilian Deaths and Injuries by Anti-Government Elements: January to June: 2009 – 2013 28
    Figure 15: US/ISAF Civilian Casualty Data Broadly Track with UNAMA’s: Show Total Casualties Rising but Insurgent Driven 29
    Mixed Progress in the ANSF 30
    Figure 16: The Slow – Taliban Enabling – Build Up or US Forces in Afghanistan versus the Initial Withdrawal and Surge in Iraq: US Boots on the Ground 2001-2010 33
    Source: Congressional Research Service 33
    Figure 17: the Slow and Erratic Funding of US Aid to the ANSF 34
    Figure 18: ANSF Manning is Up, But Only Half is a Fighting Force 35
    Figure 19: The Burden of Fighting and Casualties Has Shifted to the ANSF 36
    Figure 20: Real Progress in ANSF-Led Operations 37
    Figure 21: But, ANA Attrition and Need for Enablers Remain Critical Problems 38
    Figure 22: Continued ANSF Dependence on Advisors and Partners through at Least 2016 39
    Figure 23: The Afghan Local Police: A Critical Force Element Outside the 352,000 Total for the ANSF and Evidently Outside the Chicago Conference Agreement on Transition and Post 2014 Funding for the ANSF 40
    Figure 24: $2.7 Billion in Annual Operating Expenses: Funding Execution for the ANA and ANP 41
    Figure 25: Projected Afghan Self-Financing and Donor Support for ANSF 2005-2012 42
    Oversight Questions 42
    Non-Reporting on Governance, Rule of Law, and Economic Stability 43
    Figure 26: Trend in Total Cost and Annual Turbulence in Overall US Aid Appropriations 48
    Figure 28: Slow Build Up and Annual Turbulence in US Economic Aid Appropriations (ESF and CERP) 49
    Figure 28: Afghan Public Expenditure Crisis: Recent Spending More than 8 Times Domestic Revenues 50
    Figure 30: World Bank Estimate of Transition Financing Gap as Percent of GDP: Financial Need 2012-2025 53
    Figure 31: Repeating a Warning: Declare Victory and Leave? Development Assistance Levels Before and After Troop Reductions 54
    Summing Up 55

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Anthony H. Cordesman