Latest in Afghanistan

Foreign Policy Essay

Avengers in Wrath: Moral Agency and Trauma Prevention for Remote Warriors

Editor’s Note: Drone warfare is often caricatured as remote-control fighting, more akin to playing a video game than real warfare. In an unusual Foreign Policy Essay, Dave Blair and Karen House ​take on this myth, detailing the costs to the operators and the conditions that increase the risks to their well-being. They offer important recommendations for how to make drone warfare less morally and psychologically hazardous for the operators.


Understanding Life and Death between War and Peace

Foreign Policy Essay

Afghanistan: Another Victory for Tehran?

Editor’s Note: Iran's support for Syria, presence in Iraq, and enmity toward Irael and U.S. Arab allies is the focus of most U.S. attention. Afghanistan, where Iran plays a major role, is often neglected. As the Trump administration weighs its options there, it would do well to recognize Tehran's ability to do harm. Ariane Tabatabai, my Georgetown colleague, explains Iran's complex calculus in Afghanistan and why the United States might find opportunities as well as dangers.


Targeted Killing

President Trump Ponders Changes to the Lethal Force Policy Constraints: What You Need to Know

Are we about to see a significant shift in U.S. government policy relating to the use of targeted lethal force for counterterrorism purposes?

Maybe, according to an important article by Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt in the New York Times. Here’s what you need to know:


Part II: The Case Against Involvement in Afghanistan

In my previous essay, I laid out arguments for continued involvement in Afghanistan. In this essay, I present the opposing view.

The Case Against Involvement

The case for involvement prioritizes future risk; the case against involvement focuses on the considerable cost of past U.S. efforts and the seeming futility of attempts to improve the situation.


Toward a Redefinition of ‘Winning’ in Afghanistan

There has been no shortage of editorial commentary on the potential impact of having military officers occupy so many senior positions in the Trump Administration. Whether the development is good or bad, they have certainly influenced the re-crafted policy in Afghanistan set forth in President Trump’s speech on Monday.


Is the War Model of Counterterrorism a Failure? A Response to Micah Zenko

In a scathing New York Times op-ed today, Micah Zenko lays into the Trump administration both for maintaining the “counterproductive” and “immoral” counterterrorism policies of its predecessors (particularly those involving the use of military force), and for making the situation worse for noncombatants.

International Law

International Law’s Irrelevance to President Trump’s ‘Winning in Afghanistan’ Strategy

President Trump’s remarks on his administration’s “winning in Afghanistan” strategy were thin on details. In particular, Trump said little to resolve the nearly 16-year debate about the United States’ proper goals in Afghanistan.


Why Are We Losing in Afghanistan?

After much soul-searching, President Donald Trump intends to order the deployment of more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Although he avoided giving a specific number of troops in his speech to the nation Monday night, the president laid out the case for renewing the U.S. involvement in that country, citing the legacy of 9/11, the dangers of premature withdrawal and the range of security threats in the region.


The State of State-Building in Afghanistan

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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