Afghanistan

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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.

Essay, Sept/Oct 2013
Stephen Biddle

The Obama administration should either spend the political capital needed for an actual deal with the Taliban or cut its losses and get all the way out of Afghanistan now. So far, the White House has chosen neither path, opting to muddle through instead.

Snapshot,
Michael Semple

As the United States prepares to leave Afghanistan, the Taliban is struggling to rally its supporters. Although the group will not lose every fighter, the leadership may nevertheless find itself unable to sustain a fight that has lost its raison d'être.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2013
Daniel Byman

The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2013
Audrey Kurth Cronin

Drones are not helping to defeat al Qaeda and may be creating sworn enemies out of a sea of local insurgents. Embracing them as the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism would be a mistake.

Snapshot,
Leonard S. Rubenstein

For the second time in less than six months, polio vaccine workers in Pakistan have come under fire. For the gunmen, killing health care workers has been seen as a legitimate response to a nefarious extension of Western power. And, for the CIA, faux vaccine campaigns have sometimes been justified as part of the war on terror. Both sides are wrong: denying or providing health care should never be an instrument of statecraft.

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