Declining Expectations: Report Frets Loss of Something That ‘Resembles Victory’ in Afghanistan

Insists Troops Need to Stay to Maintain Illusion of Success

Nearly 12 years after the initial invasion, it is long past time that US officials can seriously talk about the Afghan occupation as a real success, but an illusionary victory could still be within reach.

That’s the message of a new report penned by retired Gen. John Allen and former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, who are advising against significant withdrawals of military forces from Afghanistan specifically because it risks costing the US “something that could still resemble victory.

Instead, the report argues for an open-ended military and financial commitment to aim for a “reasonable plan B” that falls well short of their initial victory criteria, but at least keeps a pro-Western regime in power (or something that could still resemble power).

Though the report doesn’t offer specific numbers for the open-ended occupation force, it does support adding several thousand more US troops, at least temporarily, to help prop up the struggling Afghan military.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of