At first glance, the Afghan state seems to be badly flailing, if not outright failing. Kabul’s politics are as divisive and paralyzed as at any time since 2001, while the Taliban presence is growing in the countryside. But beneath the turbulent surface, a widespread and abiding commitment to the survival of the Afghan state has emerged that merits recognition and support.
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Editor’s Note: Afghanistan was once the poster child for the war on terrorism but, almost 15 years after the fall of the Taliban, many Americans see it as yet another failed intervention in the greater Middle East. However, Stephen Watts and Sean Mann of RAND argue that the glass is half full. The United States and its allies have achieved several notable successes and can, for a modest investment, preserve some of the gains made in Afghanistan and keep the door open for even greater long-term success there.