Afghanistan

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Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

On Sunday, Ashraf Ghani was declared the victor in a contest to determine Afghanistan’s next president. The process has been infuriating. But the end result was the best possible outcome: best for Afghanistan, best for the region, and best for the United States.

Letter From,
Dorn Townsend

Afghanistan seems to be holding its breath. Business has ground to a halt and middle-class Afghans are eyeing foreign escape routes as they send their money out of the country. The sense of uncertainly is not just about who will be the next president, or whether the loser will accept the result. It’s about the precarious economy.

Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

If Afghanistan’s politics were a stock market, one could make easy money with an investment strategy consisting of only one word: “sell.” Bad news is the norm, and good news is often a lie. And that is why the nation’s election to decide who should replace Hamid Karzai as president was so confusing.

Snapshot,
Jere Van Dyk

Although the identity of Afghanistan's next president is uncertain, Afghans know for sure that it will not be Hamid Karzai, who has held power for 12 years. In keeping with his country’s 2004 constitution, he agreed to step down after his second term was up. That has never happened before in Afghanistan, and it marks the true introduction of democracy in this shattered land.

Snapshot,
Paul D. Miller

Due in large part to the massive investment of U.S. time, money, and resources in the Afghan military since 2001, and to Washington’s relative neglect of the civilian government, Afghanistan is facing a very real risk of military coup. There is still time to forestall that outcome. But if it happens, no policymaker should be surprised.

Letter From,
Dorn Townsend

For the past four years, Afghan television stations have been flooding the country’s airwaves with a steady stream of crime dramas and courtroom documentaries. Backed by foreign donors, the series have two benefits: they offer a valuable education in civil procedure and help develop popular expectations of equality before the law.

Postscript,
Jennifer Lind

During negotiations over a new security pact, Kabul demanded that Washington apologize for its military’s bad behavior. Such apologies are generally unnecessary and sometimes even counterproductive. Still, reconciliation requires some acknowledgement of past harm.

Snapshot,
Malcolm Beith

In reshaping the war on drugs to support the war on terrorism, the United States has found a better way to fight both.

Essay, Sept/Oct 2013
Karl W. Eikenberry

Counterinsurgency strategy, as applied in Afghanistan, rested on the assumption that it was feasible for the U.S. military to protect the Afghan population, that foreign aid could make the Afghan government more accountable, and that the Karzai administration shared U.S. goals. But all three assumptions turned out to be spectacularly incorrect.

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