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"Michael O'Hanlon and Hassina Sherjan have written a superb analysis of the current strategy in Afghanistan. It is an insightful work by two authors with exceptional knowledge and experience. It is a must-read for those who want a clear understanding of the situation, the strategy, and the path ahead in this crucial conflict."
—General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)
In this unique collaboration between an American scholar and an Afghan American entrepreneur, Toughing It Out in Afghanistan provides a succinct look at the current situation in Afghanistan with policy prescriptions for the future.
Drawing partly on personal experiences, O'Hanlon and Sherjan outline the tactics being used to protect the Afghan population and defeat the insurgents. They discuss ongoing efforts to reform the Afghan police, to run a better prison system for detainees, to enlist the help of more of Afghanistan's tribes, and to attack corruption. They also discuss the Afghan resistance, including an explanation of how the Taliban mounted a comeback and what it will take to defeat them.
The authors also seek to demolish common myths about Afghanistan, such as the notion that somehow its people hate foreigners. And they explain how to use metrics, such as those in the Brookings Afghanistan Index, to determine if the new strategy is succeeding in the course of 2010 and 2011. Included are policy suggestions to further increase the size and capabilities of the Afghan army and police, to facilitate Afghan businesses' involvement in economic recovery, to expand the role of other Muslim nations in the effort, and to create a strong international aid coordinator as a civilian counterpart to NATO's military leader.
Foreword Bruce Riedel ix
1 Introduction 1
2 The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of the Taliban 19
3 The Strategy 31
4 Responding to the Critics 61
5 Measuring Progress-and Figuring Out an Exit Plan 79
6 Improving the Strategy 89
Appendix Excerpts from Brookings Afghanistan Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction & Security in Post-9/11 Afghanistan, with contributions from Jason Campbell Ian Livingston Heather Messera Jeremy Shapiro 129