A lack of education, infrastructure, and governmental accountability paint a bleak picture for a modernizing country where fewer than a third of the population can read and write, according to the most recent CIA data. The U.S. Special Investigator for Afghanistan Reconstruction believes these are among the reasons why local forces will not be able to maintain security.
A remaining allied force of 10,000 troops or fewer, combined with 21st-century warfighting tactics, could arguably still maintain security.
"With these plans the U.S. has, they do have a lot of bandwidth to respond to transnational threats," Lamrani says, referring to foreign fighters who may be able to enter the country. "The mission is much less about defeating the Taliban as it is having the capability to respond to transnational threats from Afghanistan."
That is a "considerable infrastructure" to accommodate a surge in fighting, he says, though after 2014 would also yield significant domestic issues.
- Female Marines Will Have to do Pull-Ups by 2014
- Indian Ambassador Downplays Chinese Passports Map
- Will Egypt's Army Defy Morsi?
Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at email@example.com