Issue Brief: The Biden Administration’s Plans for Post-Withdrawal Security Assistance in Afghanistan

Post-Withdrawal Security Aid Plans for Afghanistan, Arms Sale Policy Revamp, Mexico Sues US Arms Makers and more



August 9, 2021

Issue Brief: The Biden Administration’s Plans for Post-Withdrawal Security Assistance in Afghanistan

Security Assistance Monitor, August 2021

A new brief from SAM examines the FY2022 budget request for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF), offering an analysis of the Biden Administrastraions’s plans and vision for U.S. security assistance to Kabul in the first year after a full U.S. withdrawal. 

With a full drawdown of U.S. forces nearly complete, the Biden Administration is increasingly looking at security assistance to shore up a faltering Afghan defense sector. The request specifically notes that as “Afghan forces now have to operate without complementary kinetic activity by U.S. forces, making continued provision of security assistance via the ASFF even more important than previously to maintain the viability of the Afghan forces.” 

But despite the new centrality of security assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), the request is historically small, totally $3.3 billion, the smallest request of the past decade, and just slightly more than what was appropriated in FY2020 and FY2021. 

The request, which must still be authorized and appropriated by lawmakers, does offer some insights into the strategic planning of Afghan and American defense planners. Though a numerically smaller portion of the ANDSF, the Afghan Air Force and Afghan Special Security forces would enjoy an outsize share of the ASFF budget, and an indication of the importance of airpower and elite troops in U.S. and Afghan efforts to prevent further losses to the Taliban in the coming year. 

The request comes amidst a withering national-wide Taliban offensive that has seen government forces steadily losing ground to insurgents. Key cities, including provincial capitals, are now contested, raising questions about the ability of the ANDSF to prevent further Taliban offensives. 

To read the full issue brief, click here

Security Assistance News & Research Roundup

News & Blog Post

Reuters, August 4

President Biden “is preparing an overhaul of arms export policy to increase the emphasis on human rights” in what will be a “robust” change of U.S. policy — this includes getting more input from the State Dept’s human rights bureau on weapons sales.

Times of Israel, August 5

D.C.’s largest pro-Israel lobbying groups are split on whether new legislation would impose meaningful conditions on security assistance to Israel. The Department of State’s Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, which passed the House last week, would require the Secretary of State to “promptly inform the appropriate congressional committees of any instance in which… assistance was used in a manner contrary” to “United States national security policy.”

First Taiwan Arms Sale in Biden Administration Is Approved

Bloomberg, August 4

Bloomberg News reports that the Biden administration approved its first $750 million arms sale to U.S. security partner Taiwan. Taiwan argues that the sale will ensure continued peace, while Beijing resorted that it would respond with countermeasures.

El País, August 5

Mexico’s government opened a lawsuit against 10 U.S. gun companies in a U.S. federal court, arguing that the U.S. arms industry has caused massive damage in Mexico, with weapons often ending up in the hands of drug cartels.

Politico, August 4

A Senate committee on Wednesday voted to repeal two Iraq AUMFs (1991 and 2002 legislations), marking “a significant step toward Congress reasserting its constitutional authority over matters of war and peace.”

Wall Street Journal, August 2

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited the Philippines last week, to discuss future security cooperation with the island nation. The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board reports that despite President Duterte’s courting of Beijing, China’s recent aggressiveness in the South China Sea led to the restoration of the Visiting Forces Agreement and with it the presence of U.S. troops in-country. 

Haaretz, July 30

The State Department announced Friday that it has authorized the sale of 18 CH-53K helicopters from Lockheed and General Electric to Israel for $3.4 billion. The sale would also include associated components, weaponry, and maintenance support, although it’s not clear whether a formal contract has been signed yet.

Research, Analysis, and Opinion

IntelBrief: The Limitations of Security Force Assistance in Countering al-Qaeda in Africa

The Soufan Center, August 2

New analysis from The Soufan Center reveals that U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Africa have “prioritized security force assistance despite its lack of effectiveness in reducing terrorism.” The United States’ current approach also fails to address local political problems, which al-Qaeda affiliates, in turn, capitalize on.

What Does Iraq Want From America?

19FortyFive, August 2

James Jay Carafano writes that President Biden’s announcement of his joint agreement to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq is a political move that does not represent a substantive tactical shift. Instead, it is political cover for an Iraqi government seeking to manage the influence of Iran and the West.

Why Is America Cooperating With Militaries Running Criminal Rackets?

Foreign Policy, August 3

In an opinion piece for Foreign Policy, Michael Paarlburg argues that U.S. security cooperation urgently needs an overhaul to prevent the U.S. military from working with partners committing international crimes.

Data Fact of the Week:

Afghan Security Force Fund by ANDSF Element, FY2020-FY2022

The graphic above shows the breakdown of the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) between FY2020 and the FY2022 request by ANDSF elements – the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Aghan Air Force, and the Afghan Special Security Forces, 

A new SAM issue brief takes a deep dive into the FY2022 request for the ASFF. Check out the full piece here

From the U.S. Government


Department of Defense


August 2, 2021

Estimated value of $82 million.

August 3, 2021

Estimated value of $30 million.


August 3, 2021

Estimated value of $270 million.

August 4, 2021


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