Defining and Achieving U.S. Objectives in Afghanistan
Recorded on February 20, 2009
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
As numerous Afghanistan strategy reviews circulate in Washington
and U.S. officials sound discordant notes on the way forward in the
war-torn country, it is time to get back to the basics in defining
our objectives and identifying the resources necessary to achieve
those objectives. Last year saw the highest number of Afghan
civilian casualties and coalition forces deaths to date, which has
led to wavering support for the Afghanistan mission both at home
and abroad and opened the door for some muddled and obscure
thinking on the objectives and direction of U.S. policy in the
But securing and stabilizing Afghanistan is a vital U.S.
national security interest. And in the words of U.S. Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates, it is possible to attain "our strategic
objectives of: an Afghan people who do not provide safe haven for
al Qaeda, reject the rule of the Taliban, and support the
legitimate government they elected and in which they have a stake."
Please join us as our panel of experts examines what constitutes
success in Afghanistan, how do we achieve it, and what the stakes
are for the United States.