Op-Ed

The Afghan Surge Deserves a Chance to Work

Michael E. O’Hanlon

In recent weeks, many experts have made the case for minimizing the U.S. role in Afghanistan and falling back on a more modest strategy. This week’s WikiLeaks scandal exacerbated the situation, putting supporters of President Obama’s strategy on the defensive even though the leaked dispatches were unsurprising in content.

But it would not be sensible at this point to abandon the president’s Plan A: working to help forge a cohesive Afghan state strong enough to control its own territory and deprive terrorists of major sanctuaries on its soil.

There are many reasons to give Mr. Obama’s strategy—announced just eight months ago—another year or so before reaching a verdict.

For starters, the NATO military buildup is not even complete. Although the installment of troops announced in December has mostly arrived, up to 10,000 more NATO forces are still on their way, and most are heading for the strategic crucible of Kandahar. Until they have arrived, we can hardly know if the strategy, which emphasizes security in Kandahar, will succeed.

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