Afghanistan: "we cannot allow ourselves to fail".

Author:McCaffrey, Barry

Editor's Note: We are pleased to offer our readers this report on Afghanistan by retired Army General Barry McCaffrey, based on his visit there in late July. He finds the situation difficult and likely to get worse, with 2009 shaping up as "the year of decision." He identifies critical problems, including dysfunctional and corrupt local government, lack of unity of command, insufficient international support, limited Pakistani control of its frontier region, burgeoning narcotics production, and "crippling political restrictions" on the employment of many non-U.S. NATO forces. The "central effort to win the war," he believes, must focus on strengthening the Afghan security forces.--Ed.

July 30, 2008

MEMORANDUM FOR: Colonel Michael Meese

Professor and Head Dept of Social Sciences

CC: Colonel Cindy Jebb

Professor and Deputy Head Dept of Social Sciences

SUBJECT: After Action Report--General Barry R McCaffrey USA (Ret)



    This memo provides a strategic and operational assessment of security operations in Afghanistan in support of US European Command. Be glad to conduct a Faculty Seminar and Cadet Class lectures based on this report during this fall semester.


    1. SHAPE Headquarters--NATO--Mons, Belgium:

  3. ) One-on-one multi-hour session, General John Craddock, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR).

  4. ) NATO Strategic Overview Briefing. SHAPE Headquarters--Mons, Belgium. MG Rudy Wright, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations:

    1. BG Turgay Bakkal, TUR A, Assistant Chief of Staff, J3

    2. BG Jesus Diaz del Rio Espanol, ESP MC, Assistant Chief of Staff, J6

    3. RADM Stefan Tandecki, POL N, Assistant Chief of Staff, J4 (Acting DCOS Spt)

    4. Andrew Brentnall, Special Advisor to SACEUR

    5. COL Paul Shewry, GBR A, Director Strategic Direction Centre (SDC)

    6. Commander Ostilio de Majo, ITA N, Military Assistant to SACEUR

    7. LTC Kevin Marcus, USA A, Office of Director of Staff

  5. ) Working Lunch. General Karl-Heinz Lather (German Army), Chief of Staff; SACEUR:

    1. MG Rudy Wright, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations

    2. Stephen Covington, International Affairs Advisor to SACEUR

    3. COL Tucker Mansager, USA, Executive Officer to SACEUR

    4. COL Paul Shewry, UK Army, Director SDC

    5. COL Roderich Kiesewetter, German Army, Executive Officer to Chief of Staff

    6. COL Stuart Bradin, USA, Chief of Staff, NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC)

    7. Commander Ostilio de Majo, Italian Navy, MA to SACEUR

  6. ) Working Dinner--Chateau Gendebien. SACEUR; General Karl-Heinz Lather; other senior military and civilian officials:

    1. Ambassador Larry Butler, Political Advisor to SACEUR

    2. MG Rudy Wright, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations

    3. Stephen Covington, International Affairs Advisor to SACEUR

    4. COL Patrick Warren, Senior MA to SACEUR

  7. ) Discussion, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, C-17 en route and return from Afghanistan.

  8. ) One-on-one discussions, POLAD, Ambassador Larry Butler.

    1. Afghanistan:

  9. ) Private Briefing. MG Dutch Remkes, USAF and COL Mark Kelly, USAF.

  10. ) Opium and Heroin--The Afghanistan Challenge--Vincent M. Balbo, DEA Country Attache.

  11. ) The Military Situation Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, USA, Commander, International Security Assistance Force; senior staff:

    1. LTG Jonathan Riley (UK Army). Briefing: "The Information Operations Campaign".

    2. COL Pat McNiece, Deputy J2. Intelligence Briefing.

    3. LTC Damian Marsh, Chief Ops. Operations Briefing.

  12. ) Private strategic update--General McKiernan; LTG Riley (UK); SACEUR.

  13. ) Afghanistan Minister of Defense, General Abdul Rahim Wardak; senior staff. Update on the Afghan National Security Situation.

  14. ) The Afghan Economic Situation. Meeting with World Bank President and CEO, Robert B. Zoellick; SACEUR.

  15. ) The Economics, Politics, and Culture of Afghanistan. ISAF Headquarters.

    1. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Chairman, The Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE). Former finance minister of Afghanistan.

    2. Mr. Christopher Alexander, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of Afghanistan, UNAMA.

    3. Ambassador Bill Wood, U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    4. Mrs. Hedvig Boserup, Deputy Managing Director & Director of Business Development, Turquoise Mountain Foundation.

  16. ) Khyber Pass. Border Coordination Element. Khyber Border Coordination Center. Update briefings:

    1. BG Mark Milley, Deputy Commanding General (Operations) CJTF-101 and Regional Command East.

    2. MAJ Robert Brown, Khyber Border Coordination Center, OIC

    3. COL Chris Pearce, CJTF-101

    4. LTC Pierre Gervaise, CJ2

    5. LTC Patrick Quinn, D/CJ5

    6. MAJ David Spensop, TF KING

    7. Afghan and Pakistan military officials.

  17. ) Working Dinner--The Economics, Politics, and Culture of Afghanistan. Hotel Serena--Kabul, Afghanistan.

    1. SACEUR.

    2. Ambassador Christopher Dell, Deputy Chief of Mission to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    3. Mr. Patrick Hamilton, Deputy Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    4. Hashmat Khan, Rahimi Films International, Kabul Afghanistan.

    5. Mrs. Hassina Sherjan, President, Boumi Fashion, Aid Afghanistan for Education.

    6. Mr. Jahid Mohseni, Moby Media.

  18. ) Kandahar Air Field. Operations and Intelligence Briefing. COL Peter Petronzio, 24th MEU Commanding Officer; LTC Trollinger, S3 24th MEU. Headquarters, 24th MEU.

  19. ) Visit 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. Field Location FOB Dwyer. LTC Anthony Henderson, Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines.

  20. ) One-on-one session, MG Robert W. Cone, Commanding General, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.

  21. CONTEXT:

    This report is based on a series of briefings and conversations at SHAPE Headquarters in Mons, Belgium and then subsequent field observations in Afghanistan while accompanying...

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