Robert E. HunterThe NATO allies are now being required to face the possibility that they may not prevail in Afghanistan. Facing new challenges from Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, the Afghan government and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are by no means certain of success. Equally at risk are economic, political, and social developments to give the average Afghan a sense that supporting the government in Kabul and its ISAF allies is the best bet for the long haul. Militarily, NATO commanders have made it clear that they need more troops – at least two more combat brigades – and more helicopters. But they also need greater flexibility in the use of those forces that are available, and limitations here are posing difficulties at least as troubling as shortfalls in numbers.

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