Toughing It Out in Afghanistan

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Brookings Institution Press, Jun 1, 2010 - Political Science - 164 pages
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"Michael O'Hanlon and Hassina Sherjan have written a superb analysis of the current strategy in Afghanistan. It is an insightful work by two authors with exceptional knowledge and experience. It is a must-read for those who want a clear understanding of the situation, the strategy, and the path ahead in this crucial conflict."
—General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)

In this unique collaboration between an American scholar and an Afghan American entrepreneur, Toughing It Out in Afghanistan provides a succinct look at the current situation in Afghanistan with policy prescriptions for the future.

Drawing partly on personal experiences, O'Hanlon and Sherjan outline the tactics being used to protect the Afghan population and defeat the insurgents. They discuss ongoing efforts to reform the Afghan police, to run a better prison system for detainees, to enlist the help of more of Afghanistan's tribes, and to attack corruption. They also discuss the Afghan resistance, including an explanation of how the Taliban mounted a comeback and what it will take to defeat them.

The authors also seek to demolish common myths about Afghanistan, such as the notion that somehow its people hate foreigners. And they explain how to use metrics, such as those in the Brookings Afghanistan Index, to determine if the new strategy is succeeding in the course of 2010 and 2011. Included are policy suggestions to further increase the size and capabilities of the Afghan army and police, to facilitate Afghan businesses' involvement in economic recovery, to expand the role of other Muslim nations in the effort, and to create a strong international aid coordinator as a civilian counterpart to NATO's military leader.


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The Rise Fall and Resurgence of the Taliban
The Strategy
Responding to the Critics
Measuring Progressand Figuring Out an Exit Plan
Improving the Strategy
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About the author (2010)

Michael O'Hanlon is senior fellow and director of research in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Sydney Stein Jr. Chair. He is author of The Science of War and is senior author of the Brookings Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan indexes.

Hassina Sherjan is the president of Aid Afghanistan for Education, a nonprofit group that has educated more than 3,000 Afghan girls. She also heads Boumi, a Kabul-based home decor company using Afghan-based cotton. Born in Afghanistan and raised there and in California, Sherjan began returning to her native land during Taliban rule and has lived there since 2001.

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