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  • Author: Stephen Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In an important sense, emerging debates on the war's lessons are premature. The war in Afghanistan is not over; nor is it ending anytime soon. Nevertheless, before conventional wisdom consolidates, two observations on counterinsurgency are worth considering now: whether it can work and how to approach governance reform.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America
  • Author: Shashank Joshi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For India, the Western drawdown of forces in Afghanistan will represent the greatest adverse structural shift in its security environment for over a decade. Yet, a fundamental congruity of interests between Washington and New Delhi, and opportunities for cooperation, remain.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Environment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Washington, India
  • Author: Sandra Destradi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: If the West wants to harness the potential of cooperating with India in Afghanistan, it needs a better appreciation of India's engagement and motivations, as well as of New Delhi's assets and concerns about Afghanistan's future.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, India, New Delhi
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2001, this Iranian scholar argues, Iran has sought to establish security and stability, while advancing regional cooperation in Afghanistan. The only way to manage conflict in the post-exit era is for the West to accept the legitimacy of increased regional cooperation, including Iran's involvement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban
  • Author: Sumithra Narayanan Kutty
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When it comes to Afghanistan's future, the United States ironically has more in common with Iran than it does with Pakistan. As Western troops draw down, a look inside Iran's enduring interests, means to secure them, unique assets, and goals that may or not conflict with other regional actors.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Peter Bergen, Jennifer Rowland
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the National Defense University (NDU) on May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama gave a major speech about terrorism-arguing that the time has come to redefine the kind of conflict that the United States has been engaged in since the 9/11 attacks. Obama asserted that ''[w]e must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.'' Thus, the President focused part of his speech on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which Congress had passed days after 9/11 and which gave President George W. Bush the authority to go to war in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies. Few in Congress who voted for this authorization understood that they were voting for what has become the United States' longest war, one that has expanded in recent years to countries such as Pakistan and Yemen.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Yemen
  • Author: Ben Rowswell
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The international mission to reconstruct Afghanistan may be the most ambitious statebuilding exercise ever undertaken. Since 2009 at least, the country has been the focus of tremendous international political will, extensive development assistance, and overwhelming military power. While the effort has generated real progress in quadrupling GDP, increasing literacy rates, and building up the Afghan National Security Forces, the news coming out of Afghanistan is dominated by stories of corruption, electoral fraud, and the impunity of regional powerbrokers.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Haider Ali Hussein Mullick
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is America's longest war. Thousands of U.S. troops and those from nearly 50 other countries have fought in Afghanistan against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, but it was in nuclear-armed Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (the mastermind of 9/11) was captured, and Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar as well as the heads of the virulent Haqqani network reside. Pakistan's duplicity is a fact, yet it is often excessively characterized as a function of the India—Pakistan rivalry. Pakistani generals do fear India, but they have also recognized the threat from domestic insurgents. The height of this concern was reached in 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban were 60 miles from the country's capital and jeopardized U.S. as well as Pakistani goals in the region: interdicting al-Qaeda, protecting Pakistani nuclear weapons, and stabilizing (and in Pakistan's case, an anti-India) Afghanistan. At that point, Pakistani troops, unlike past attempts, fought back and prevailed against the insurgents. It can be done.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, America, India
  • Author: Bruce Riedel, Michael O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The strategy in Afghanistan, as outlined by President Obama in his December 2009 West Point speech and earlier March 2009 policy review, still has a good chance to succeed. Described here as ''Plan A,'' it is a relatively comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy, albeit one with a geographic focus on about one-third of Afghanistan's districts. Directed at defeating the insurgency or at least substantially weakening it, while building up Afghan institutions, it has reasonable prospects of achieving these goals well enough to hold together the Afghan state and prevent the establishment of major al Qaeda or other extremist sanctuaries on Afghan soil. Nevertheless, the strategy is not guaranteed to succeed, for reasons having little to do with its own flaws and more to do with the inherent challenge of the problem. Critics of the current strategy are right to begin a discussion of what a backup strategy, or a ''Plan B,'' might be. The most popular alternative to date emphasizes targeted counterterrorism operations, rather than comprehensive counterinsurgency—especially in the country's Pashtun south and east where the insurgencies are strongest. The United States should have a debate over Plan B, but the above version is highly problematic. Its proponents are serious people motivated by serious considerations—they worry that the current war is not winnable, or at least that it is not winnable at costs commensurate with the strategic stakes they perceive in Afghanistan. Yet, it would be troubling if the U.S. debate in 2011 was forced to choose effectively between this kind of backup plan and the current robust counterinsurgency approach. There is a better way if a fallback option is needed. Rather than conceding at least one-third of the country to extremists and reducing NATO forces quickly, the United States should tie its force drawdown to the growth and maturation of Afghan security forces. Under this plan, described here as ''Plan A-,'' U.S. and other foreign forces would have to keep fighting hard in Afghanistan for 2-4 more years, even as they gradually passed the baton to Afghan forces, but the United States would not need to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, and would not tie its downsizing to the stabilization of all key terrain.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Paul Stanilan
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Obama has placed Pakistan at the center of his administration's foreign policy agenda. Islamabad is a pivotal player in Afghanistan and its decisions will have much to do with whether and how U.S. forces can leave that country. Al Qaeda and linked militant groups have used Pakistan as a sanctuary and recruiting ground, with the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas becoming, in President Obama's words, ''the most dangerous place in the world.'' Recurrent tensions between India and Pakistan frustrate and complicate U.S. initiatives in the region, where nuclear proliferation, insurgency, terrorism, and grand strategic goals in Asia intersect.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, America, Asia