Afghanistan

Latest in Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Islamic State Affiliate Seeks to Expand in Afghanistan

Afghan intelligence officials reportedly captured a deputy leader of the Islamic State-Khorasan (the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, also referred to as ISK) near the city of Herat in September. Herat is more than 1,000 kilometers west of ISK’s stronghold in Nangarhar province, and much of Herat province and the surrounding region is contested by the Taliban.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Logic of Staying in Afghanistan and the Logic of Getting Out

Editor’s Note: Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and recent attempts to negotiate an end with the Taliban appear to have failed, at least for now. Many Americans are asking whether it is worth staying in Afghanistan as the war drags on. Carter Malkasian, one of America’s premier Afghanistan experts, examines the most important argument for staying—that Afghanistan might again be a haven for anti-American terrorist groups—and from there raises questions that should guide policymakers considering a withdrawal.

Daniel Byman

Foreign Policy Essay

Al-Qaeda’s Continuing Challenge to the United States

Editor’s Note: To the surprise of many observers, the al-Qaeda core under Ayman al-Zawahiri has not launched a major terrorist attack in the West for years, and the rise of the Islamic State seemed to signal the group’s further decline. Asfandyar Mir of Stanford argues that this lack of focus is a mistake. He contends that al-Qaeda remains resilient and that the group continues to pose a major terrorism threat.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Unintended Consequences of U.S.-Taliban Talks

Editor’s Note: Americans are weary of the war in Afghanistan, and peace talks between the United States and the Taliban are raising hopes that this forever war might finally end. Jessie Durrett, a graduate student at Princeton University, argues that the current structure of negotiations is a mistake. She contends the Taliban are not likely to make good on many promises, and excluding the Afghan government further weakens a key U.S. partner.

Daniel Byman

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Afghanistan

The Afghan Stag Hunt

The heated debate about the possibility of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, prompted by recent negotiations between the U.S. government and the Taliban, has focused understandably on the military value of security assistance.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan: Getting History Right

Editor’s Note: President Trump's justification of his foreign policy often draws on bizarre theories and bad history. One of the worst recent instances was his claim that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan because of terrorism. This is wrong, but it raises the question of why Moscow did invade. Seth Jones of CSIS dissects Trump's claim and, drawing on Soviet archives, lays out the rationale behind Moscow's decisions.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

How to Respond When the International Criminal Court Goes after America

Editor’s Note: The International Criminal Court (ICC) is about to investigate U.S. actions in Afghanistan and controversial interrogation practices—a decision the United States has long quietly opposed. What to do about the investigation, however, is complex, as open defiance of the ICC may have significant costs. David Bosco of Indiana University proposes a compromise: The United States would affirm its support for the ICC's general goals but stress that it should only include member states, not America or other non-members.

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