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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.

HIGHLIGHTS

Our Research & Offerings on Afghanistan
  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted December 8, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Easter Seals has long served disabled veterans

    Christmas fast approaches. What better time, then, to write of Easter Seals. And veterans. Say what? The combination is not nearly as odd as it may sound. Let’s start with Easter Seals. It has long been one of America’s most well-known charities. The organization started in 1919 as a charity to help children with disabilities. In the early days, it was known…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's Afghanistan Soap Opera

    It sounds like a soap opera… and it might be nothing but theatrics after all. The very public back and forth over whether Afghanistan will adopt a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) allowing U.S. and NATO troops to remain in the country after 2014 has been dramatic, to say the least. After months of wrangling between Kabul and Washington, the pact was dumped on the Loya…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. America will pay for leaving the Haqqani devil in Afghanistan's den

    Jalaluddin Haqqani left a horrible legacy before he gave up active leadership of the Pakistan-based network of Islamist extremists he founded. Haqqani believed Muslims across the world had a duty to “offer themselves” to the cause of fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. And many answered his call. Was Haqqani's call the real seed of today's global Islamist…

  • Testimony posted November 7, 2013 by Lisa Curtis After the Withdrawal: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Part II)

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives October 29, 2013 Lisa Curtis Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center The Heritage Foundation My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow on South Asia in the Asian Studies…

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  • Testimony posted November 7, 2013 by Lisa Curtis After the Withdrawal: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Part II)

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives October 29, 2013 Lisa Curtis Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center The Heritage Foundation My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow on South Asia in the Asian Studies…

  • Center for Data Analysis Report posted November 7, 2005 by Tim Kane, Ph.D. Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11

    A few Members of Congress, motivated by American combat in the Middle East, have called for the reinstatement of a compulsory military draft. The case for coercing young citizens to join the military is supposedly based on social jus­tice?that all should serve?and seems to be but­tressed by reports of shortfalls in voluntary enlistment. In a New York Times op-ed…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted March 16, 2012 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Mission in Afghanistan Can Still Succeed

    The U.S. has experienced undeniable setbacks in Afghanistan over the last three weeks. While it is tempting to view these troubles as reason to cut and run, such a course would be irresponsible and lead to greater dangers for both the U.S. and Afghans. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan—preventing it from reverting to a safe haven for international terrorists—is still…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted January 9, 1980 by James Phillips The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

    (Archived document, may contain errors) THE SOVIET INVAS./ON OF AFGHANISTAN INTRODUCTION On December 27, 1979, under cover cf an ongoing Soviet military buildup, heavily-armed elements of a Soviet airborne brigade were airlifted into Kabul, Afghanistan, to violently overthrow the regime of President Hafizollah Amin. Within hours after the beginning of…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted August 21, 2012 by Peter Brookes Afghanistan Mission's New Woes

    The recent string of “green-on-blue” (Afghan on US/Coalition troops) attacks in Afghanistan are cause for real worry: Not only might the Coalition’s vital mission to provide security training to the Afghan police and army be in trouble, but the country’s entire future might be in question, too. Without the high-quality training the Afghan security forces desperately…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2012 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Is the U.S. Pursuing the Right Strategy in Afghanistan?

    When President Obama undertook his strategic review of Afghanistan policy he chose a strategy that matched his chosen narrative of a decisive leader whose moves on the battlefield conveniently coincided with his political calendar.  That may have served his reelection campaign well...not so much the war on the ground. The president gave commanders on the ground half…

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  • 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…

  • White Paper posted July 17, 2012 by Walter Lohman, John Fleming, Robert Warshaw Key Asian Indicators: A Book of Charts

    America’s Enduring Leadership in Asia America has been engaged in Asia since a few decades after securing its independence. Its early interest is documented in the 1833 Treaty on Amity and Commerce between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Siam Thailand), and later in the market-opening 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan. The U.S. has, in fact, been a “resident…

  • Issue Brief posted May 22, 2012 by Lisa Curtis Pakistan Missed Opportunity to Repair Ties with U.S.

    Pakistan missed a valuable opportunity to create goodwill with the U.S. and other NATO members when it failed to announce a reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan at the summit held Sunday and Monday in Chicago. Not only has Pakistan’s closure of the supply routes over the past six months made the war effort more expensive for NATO members, but its failure to…

  • Backgrounder posted May 16, 2012 by Luke Coffey The 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago: NATO in Need of American Leadership

    Abstract: The 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago is an opportunity for the U.S. to provide much-needed leadership for NATO. The United States should push NATO members to keep their current commitments to Afghanistan and commit to supporting Afghanistan after NATO forces withdraw. At the Chicago Summit, the Obama Administration also needs to make the cases for transition,…

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Find more work on Afghanistan