Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Trump’s ‘Maintenance’ Strategy Unlikely to Break Afghan Stalemate

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The Globe Post, 1 July 2017

This article in The Globe Post – a project run by exiled Turkish journalists – quotes, among others, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the US’ (so far, non-) strategy for Afghanistan:

Thomas Ruttig, Co-Director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said the CIA and other U.S. special forces may pursue a “parallel strategy” to stem the Taliban tide by leveraging auxiliary and semi-governmental factions – such as Afghan local police, militias, and other groups that operate “outside of any Afghan chain of command.”

Mr. Ruttig, a former German diplomat and UN political officer, warned that such a strategy comes with significant risks because U.S. forces may end up working with and rewarding malign actors such as warlords which can exacerbate local conflicts.


Overall, however, as Mr. Ruttig underscored, “the Afghan problem is not primarily a military one.” The number of soldiers is irrelevant when the government is incapable of solving fundamental political and socio-economic issues, he maintained.

“These troops, and even 30,000 more… will not win the war,” he warned. “The Taliban have survived 16 years of military onslaught and proven resilient. They make more progress than the government… [and] still have the initiative.”