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Afghanistan Study Group

Afghanistan_Study_Group_release_1On Wednesday, January 30, 2008, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) released the Afghanistan Study Group Report in a special event on Capitol Hill. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, hosted a joint release of this report, as well as two others.

Afghanistan Study Group (ASG) Background

"It is critical for the United States to provide additional political, economic and military support for Afghanistan, including resources that might become available as combat forces are moved from Iraq."

- Iraq Study Group Report, Recommendation 18

The Center was closely engaged in the work of the Iraq Study Group. During the discussions of that group it became more and more evident that Afghanistan was at great risk of becoming "the forgotten war". Participants and witnesses pointed to the danger of losing the war in Afghanistan unless a reassessment took place of the effort being undertaken in that country by the United States, NATO and the international community.

In the spring of 2007, recognizing the importance of increasing awareness by policy makers of the deepening crisis in Afghanistan, Center President Ambassador David M. Abshire decided to establish a smaller-scale study group. The Afghanistan Study Group’s work was conducted on a voluntary pro-bono basis under the auspices of CSPC. With the Iraq Study Group experience in mind, this group attempted to work on a flexible and agile basis to ensure that its work bears results as soon as possible. For more focused work, the group also decided to center its analysis on several key issues that its members identified as both urgent and crucial for future success.

The group, co-chaired by Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and General James L. Jones, included prominent experts on the region and on foreign policy. In addition to its working sessions, the group held consultative sessions with: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher; former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General to Afghanistan, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi; Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Mahmud Durrani; Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States, Said Tayeb Jawad; and United States Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland (via video-teleconference). (The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of any or all of these individuals.)

The goal of the Afghanistan Study Group was to provide policy makers with key recommendations that will lead to a re-vitalization and re-doubling of the United States and international community commitment and effort in Afghanistan. The study group’s findings and proposals were shared with U.S. government officials, Members of Congress, key officials in NATO and at the United Nations, and representatives of the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other interested governments and parties. The Center hopes that, taken together, the work and commitment of these parties will ensure that the current war in Afghanistan is not forgotten, but won for the safety and well-being of the people of Afghanistan, the region and the world community.