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.
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