ISW Senior Research Analyst Jeffrey Dressler discusses the possibility of French withdrawal from Afghanistan following the deadly shooting.
On Saturday, June 14, Afghanistan held its second round, run-off presidential election since no presidential candidate was able to secure at least 50 percent of the votes in the first-round election on April 5. In that first contest, the two front-runners, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani, won 45 percent and 31.56 percent of the vote, respectively.
The Taliban’s annual summer offensive in Afghanistan in 2014 can be characterized by waves of violence across the country and, in particular, a string of attacks ringing the capital, Kabul. The attacks appear mainly to target Afghanistan’s infrastructure, particularly its airports. Although the Taliban attempted to focus its efforts in June on the 2014 presidential election runoff, it was unsuccessful in derailing the elections or disrupting them to a notable degree. That period of concentrated effort lasted less than two weeks.
The White House is dropping strong hints that the number of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014 may fall below 10,000, possibly even below 5,000. Unnamed White House officials suggested to the press that lower levels of U.S. support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will be sufficient to contain future Taliban threats.
If America's experience in Iraq offers any single, unambiguous lesson, it is the folly of just walking away. The United States must not repeat this mistake in Afghanistan. Isolation and disengagement have severely damaged American credibility and security, as can be seen most dramatically in Ukraine today.