Political and Economic Transition in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced the start of a security transition in Afghanistan earlier this summer that will give lead responsibility to the Afghan government by 2014. But the United States still lacks a fully integrated plan for the political and economic transition to complement the security transition.

Based on four days of meetings in Kabul, Afghanistan from July 27-30, 2011, with top Afghan, U.S., and international officials, we found that the Afghan state is in crisis, with a broad range of Afghans warning that their country’s fragile democratic institutions are crumbling.

Based on our findings, we recommend that U.S. policymakers take the following steps:

  • Reset the relationship with President Hamid Karzai while still using leverage to advance reforms.
  • Clarify the message.
  • Support and invest in democratic institutions and forces.
  • Support a more inclusive peace process.
  • Shift from a development strategy to a sustainable economic strategy.

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