Latest in 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

The ‘India Question’ in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Pakistan and the United States are not the only important outside actors in Afghanistan. India has long courted the government in Kabul, and Islamabad views this potential relationship with alarm. Avinash Paliwal of SOAS explains India’s policies regarding Afghanistan and discusses how this might shift in the years to come.

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

Drone Blowback: Much Ado about Nothing?

Editor’s Note: One of the most common, and seemingly convincing, critiques of the drone program is that it produces "blowback"—each miss that kills civilians, or even each hit that kills a militant, angers locals near the blast zone and inflames national sentiment against the United States in ways that aid militant recruitment. Such arguments are difficult to evaluate, but Aqil Shah of the University of Oklahoma did extensive survey and interview research on this question.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Art of Dealing with the Taliban

Editor’s Note: As the Trump administration weighs its options in Afghanistan, one of the biggest questions is whether to continue talks with the Taliban via its office in Doha—an office set up with strong U.S. support. Here the president's desire to reduce the U.S. role will crash into his goal of being perceived as tough on terrorists. Candace Rondeaux, the founding director of the RESOLVE Network and a long-time regional expert, believes Trump can learn from himself. By applying the steps in The Art of the Deal, she offers lessons for the administration.

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.

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Afghanistan/Pakistan

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.

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