A group of U.S. Army soldiers from First Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division leaves for a foot patrol in Panjwai district, Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Nov. 26, 2010.
"Bait and Switch in Afghanistan: How 2011 Became 2014 and Beyond"
Op-Ed, The Huffington Post
November 29, 2010
Author: Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
"To paraphrase Wikipedia, bait and switch is a term of commerce whereby the customer is lured into buying a low-price item only to be told when he comes to the store that the item is not available at the original price. Wikipedia concludes with the observation that "the use of this term was extended to similar situations outside the marketing sense."
And so it is with Afghanistan. On December 1, 2009, President Obama told West Point cadets that "in eighteen months our troops will begin to come home." That was part of the dialectical formulation that accompanied the President's second surge in Afghanistan: the 30,000 additional troops would be sent in, but the withdrawal of the troops would begin in July 2011.
In the November 19th communiqué of the summit meeting of NATO in Lisbon, the idea that American troops will begin to come home in July 2011 seems to have gone away. Instead there is mention of a "transition" to Afghan forces which is going to begin in some provinces at the start of 2011. The transition involving all the provinces is to be completed by the end of 2014, at which time the US-NATO mission presumably is to be terminated...."
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
Full text of this publication is available at:
For Academic Citation: