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Afghanistan

The United States is combating terrorism in Afghanistan to keep it from reverting to a safe haven for terrorists like those who struck on September 11, 2001. Efforts by the U.S. and its allies and partners in Afghanistan to facilitate and defend stable democratic governance are essential to reducing the terrorist threats to U.S. national security.

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Our Research & Offerings on Afghanistan
  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2014 by Olivia Enos Afghanistan Counternarcotics: A Cut and Run Strategy is No Strategy at All

    The opium business is booming in Afghanistan, despite a 12-year, $7.6 billion counternarcotics initiative by the U.S.  Last year, Afghans devoted a record 209,000 hectares of land to opium poppy cultivation, and those crops produced drug profits 50 percent higher than in 2012. Those startling numbers come from a recent report by the Office of the Special Inspector…

  • Commentary posted November 17, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Will Pakistan Accept Afghanistan's Olive Branch?

    Afghanistan's new President Ashraf Ghani will visit Islamabad later this week in a bid to shore up relations that foundered badly under the previous Karzai regime. Since taking office six weeks ago, Ghani has prioritized building better ties with Pakistan and is exploring ways to start peace negotiations with Taliban insurgents, many of whom shelter inside Pakistan.…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Afghanistan’s New Leaders Forge Steep Path to Security and Stability

    Ashraf Ghani was made President of Afghanistan and Abdullah Abdullah the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in a power-sharing deal in September 2014. The departure of former President Hamid Karzai and the installation of a national unity government is providing some optimism that long-term stability may be possible in Afghanistan. It demonstrates that Afghan leaders can come…

  • Issue Brief posted October 29, 2014 by Olivia Enos U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Afghanistan Fail to Deliver

    The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released a scathing report criticizing U.S. counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan.[1] Referencing an unprecedented spike in opium production in 2013, the report warned that the nearly $7.6 billion the U.S. government spent on counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan is failing to…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • Commentary posted July 22, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. American Diplomacy: Between a "Soft" and a "Hard" Place

    File it under “things you don’t see very often.” A press release from Republican Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declaring, “I appreciate the efforts of Secretary Kerry….” Accolades from across the aisle have been few and far between for an administration that has suffered an almost endless string of foreign-policy reversals since 2008. Indeed,…

  • Commentary posted June 16, 2014 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. When war-weariness leads to more war

    President Obama is fond of saying he was elected to “end” wars, not start them. He clearly is tapping into Americans’ well-known weariness of wars and sees himself as merely carrying out their will. But there’s a problem. Americans may indeed be war-weary (although how much may be exaggerated), but that only means they assume Mr. Obama’s policies will actually end the…

  • Commentary posted April 8, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Afghan election: After encouraging turnout, Obama must stick with support for war-torn country

    Afghans went to the polls Saturday, but results won’t be in for at least another two weeks. If none of the candidates wins a majority of votes (the most likely scenario), a run-off election will have to be held probably in late May or early June. The Taliban did their best to deter voting and undermine the electoral process in Afghanistan. In the weeks running up to…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learn from Iraq: don’t abandon Afghanistan

    Former secretary of state, national security adviser and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavy weight. At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood—stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-frame glasses—and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.” Whom could he have been talking…

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  • Lecture posted May 5, 2004 by The Honorable Frank J. Williams Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties in Wartime

    This month, several individuals detained as "enemy combatants" will make their appeals for freedom to the highest court in the land. Perhaps now, more than any other time in recent memory, the eyes of the world are intensely focused on the United States Supreme Court. In making their decisions, they must walk a fine line between protecting the civil liberties we all…

  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • WebMemo posted May 17, 2011 by Jena Baker McNeill, Jessica Zuckerman After bin Laden: Support the PATRIOT Act

    Osama bin Laden’s death was undoubtedly a major victory for the United States and civilized society. The War on Terrorism, however, is not over—al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups will continue to stage plots against the United States, as they have done at least 39 times since 9/11. Successful counterterrorism policies, capable of stopping these threats before they…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • WebMemo posted June 13, 2011 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Morgan Lorraine Roach Central Asian Terrorism: An Emerging Threat to U.S. Security

    Last month, Kazakhstan’s Parliament approved the sending of troops to Afghanistan. The Taliban immediately issued a threat, warning Kazakhstan that its willingness to participate in the war on terrorism would make the country a target for violence. Days later, Kazakh security services’ headquarters in the northwestern city of Aktobe and the capital city of Astana were…

  • Commentary posted July 4, 2011 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Know Your Enemy: Meet the Haqqani Network

    In Vietnam, the United States grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. As documented in Mark Woodruff's "Unheralded Victory: The Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, 1961-1973," the enemy were defeated in battle, the insurgency was crushed, and "Vietnamization" (building out the south's defense forces) was well under way. Then we abandoned our…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Learn from Iraq: don’t abandon Afghanistan

    Former secretary of state, national security adviser and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavy weight. At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood—stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-frame glasses—and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.” Whom could he have been talking…

  • Issue Brief posted February 11, 2014 by Lisa Curtis How to Ensure That a U.S. Troop Drawdown Does Not Destabilize Afghanistan

    The Obama Administration has lost confidence in the government in Afghanistan, and it is easy to understand why. After the loss of nearly 2,300 U.S. troops in 12 years of military operations and the investment of over $90 billion in U.S. reconstruction aid, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a security pact allowing for a residual U.S. force presence…

  • Testimony posted September 14, 2012 by Lisa Curtis Combating the Haqqani Terrorist Network

    Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, United States House of Representatives September 13, 2012 My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow on South Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own and should not…

  • WebMemo posted September 24, 2011 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Should React Strongly to Pakistan’s Involvement in Attack on U.S. Embassy

    Credible U.S. press reports yesterday revealed that cell phones found on the attackers in the September 13 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul were linked to Pakistani intelligence officials. The U.S. has long known that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), works closely with the Haqqani insurgent network, which has been…

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  • Backgrounder posted February 26, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Combating Human Trafficking in Asia Requires U.S. Leadership

    Despite increased U.S. foreign policy attention over the past decade, human trafficking remains widespread and deeply entrenched in many Asian countries. The precise number of people being trafficked is difficult to estimate, but new studies suggest nearly 36 million victims worldwide. Of those 36 million, nearly two-thirds are from Asia.[1] Total profits from worldwide…

  • Issue Brief posted October 29, 2014 by Olivia Enos U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Afghanistan Fail to Deliver

    The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released a scathing report criticizing U.S. counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan.[1] Referencing an unprecedented spike in opium production in 2013, the report warned that the nearly $7.6 billion the U.S. government spent on counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan is failing to…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Afghanistan–Pakistan: U.S. Must Ensure that Its Military Gear Does Not Exacerbate Regional Tensions

    After 12 years of fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan and failing to convince Pakistani leaders to crack down decisively on terrorist bases on their side of the border, American military planners are considering providing Pakistan with billions in leftover equipment from the war. A Washington Post story from last weekend indicates that U.S. military planners are…

  • Issue Brief posted February 11, 2014 by Lisa Curtis How to Ensure That a U.S. Troop Drawdown Does Not Destabilize Afghanistan

    The Obama Administration has lost confidence in the government in Afghanistan, and it is easy to understand why. After the loss of nearly 2,300 U.S. troops in 12 years of military operations and the investment of over $90 billion in U.S. reconstruction aid, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a security pact allowing for a residual U.S. force presence…

  • Backgrounder posted September 30, 2013 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Counternarcotics Policy: Essential to Fighting Terrorism in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan is the number one producer of opium (the raw material for heroin), producing over 90 percent of the world total.[1] Gross revenue from drugs is equal to about 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). When Pakistan transitioned from a drug-producing country to a drug-transit country and the Soviets occupied Afghanistan during the 1980s,…

  • Issue Brief posted July 23, 2013 by Luke Coffey Mi-17 Helicopters: The Best Choice for the Afghan Air Force and the U.S. Taxpayer

    As part of an ongoing process to ensure that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are ready and capable to take over the lead for security in Afghanistan by 2015, the U.S. has agreed to purchase up to 86 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters for future service in the Afghan Air Force (AAF). Many on Capitol Hill are questioning why the Department of Defense is buying…

  • Issue Brief posted July 10, 2013 by Lisa Curtis Afghanistan: Zero Troops Should Not Be an Option

    The Obama Administration is considering leaving no U.S. troops behind in Afghanistan after it ends its combat mission there in 2014. This would undermine U.S. security interests, as it would pave the way for the Taliban to regain influence in Afghanistan and cripple the U.S. ability to conduct counterterrorism missions in the region. President Obama instead should commit…

  • Issue Brief posted February 22, 2013 by Luke Coffey U.S. Should Back a Robust Afghan National Security Force

    Overshadowed by the announcement in President Obama’s State of the Union address that 34,000 U.S. troops will be brought home from Afghanistan was an acknowledgement that the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) need to improve. The U.S. should argue that the ANSF should not be reduced in numbers as currently planned, and the White House should press…

  • Issue Brief posted October 5, 2012 by Luke Coffey NATO Must Refocus on Afghanistan

    On October 9–11, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 defense ministers will meet in Brussels. The top priority for the United States at this ministerial meeting should be ensuring that NATO demonstrates resolve and commitment to Afghanistan—especially in light of the recent “green on blue” attacks. The Alliance needs to realize that reforms such as Smart Defense…

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Find more work on Afghanistan