As the election crisis in Afghanistan comes to a head, all eyes—or some of them, anyway—are once again on the future of Afghan democracy. But the United States’s history in the region extends back much further than its nation-building efforts there since September 2001. On Tuesday, at a Brookings Institution launch event for his newest book entitled, “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989,” Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow and Director of the Intelligence Project at Brookings, discussed lessons the United States can learn from its successful efforts in the 1970s and 1980s in Afghanistan. In his talk, Riedel discusses why the American intelligence operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s was so successful, and what, if any lessons, the United States can apply to its ongoing operations in the country. Riedel also explored the complex personalities and individuals who shaped the war, and explained how their influence still affects the region today. Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks and moderated the conversation.
The full event video is below: