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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
  • Issue Brief posted July 7, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis, Lisa Curtis Eight Essential Issues for the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw

    The 2016 NATO Summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw. This is a critical time for the Alliance. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, forcefully changing the borders of Europe for the first time since 1945. This invasion jarred many in Western Europe and the U.S. who had viewed Russia through rose-colored glasses even after the invasion of Georgia in 2008. Today,…

  • Issue Brief posted June 20, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis The President Should Announce U.S. Troop Extension in Afghanistan Before the 2016 NATO Summit

    The 2016 NATO summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw, Poland. It will be the first summit since NATO ended its combat operations in Afghanistan in December 2014 and started its Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). President Barack Obama should announce—before the summit—that he will leave in…

  • Testimony posted March 17, 2016 by Lisa Curtis China’s South Asia Strategy

    Testimony Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission March 10, 2016 My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation. Introduction China’s major interests in South Asia include…

  • Commentary posted February 18, 2016 by Lisa Curtis Don’t Give Up on Afghanistan

    By all accounts, the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated sharply since U.S. and NATO troops ended combat operations in December 2014. The Taliban control more territory now than at any time in the last 14 years, and the group was able to temporarily capture a key Afghan city in the north last October. Yet some recent developments—including the fracturing…

  • Commentary posted January 5, 2016 by Lisa Curtis Afghanistan After America's War

    The dust hasn’t yet settled around the monumental changes that have taken place in Afghanistan over the last two years: the establishment of a National Unity Government, the ending of U.S. and NATO combat operations and the first-ever face-to-face (albeit short-lived) talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. But the most potentially game-changing development in…

  • Commentary posted October 27, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. O’s Afghan move a hopeful sign about America

    In response to what he called a “fragile” security situation in Afghanistan, President Obama recently announced plans to leave about 5,500 U.S. troops there when he leaves office. Yet more Americans paid attention to who was voted off “The Voice.” Many of us treat the battles in the birthplace of 9/11 like most other foreign policy issues — something for Washington to…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama makes the right call to tough it out in Afghanistan

    The president now plans to continue a U.S. ground force presence in Afghanistan to help hold off the Taliban until he leaves office. This is an uncommon turnaround for a president who hasn’t changed his mind on foreign policy since drawing his (much-ballyhooed and promptly ignored) “red line” in Syria. So what does this rare shift have to say about Obama’s foreign…

  • Backgrounder posted September 25, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Matthew Rolfes, Daniel Kochis, Dean Cheng, Lisa Curtis, Bruce Klingner Meager Ground Forces, Extensive Global Challenges: A Primer for the U.S. President in 2017

    Whoever occupies the Oval Office in 2017 will face challenges around the world, including a resurgent Russia, an increasingly assertive China, a metastasized Islamic State (ISIS), and an emboldened Iran. Addressing these and other foreign policy challenges in the wake of the Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” approach will require a fundamental change of…

  • Backgrounder posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Engagement Required: Afghanistan Must Avoid an Iraq-Style Breakdown

    This past year’s surprise success of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among U.S. policymakers that, as U.S. and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban. While Afghanistan does not face the same Sunni–Shia sectarian divisions that have fueled the fighting in Iraq, the…

  • Commentary posted July 20, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Must Avoid an Iraq-Like Meltdown in Afghanistan

    Two years ago, while commanding U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford convinced President Barack Obama to slow the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from that still-beleaguered nation. Now, Obama has named Dunford to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If, as expected, Congress confirms the nomination, the general will have to continue making the case for…

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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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted October 25, 1979 by James Phillips Afghanistan: The Soviet Quagmire

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 101 October 25, 1979 AFGHANISTAN: THE SOVIET QUAGMIRE INTRODUCTION Afghanistan has been convulsed for more than a year by a brutal civil war of steadily escalating scope and intensity which shows no si- of abatinu. The sro-Soviet Taraki r ecrime that seized power through a C&P dletk in April 1978 has-been shaken 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…

  • 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 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 June 29, 2010 by James Phillips Petraeus Hearing: Obama Needs a Victory Plan, Not an Exit Plan

    Gen. David Petraeus, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, demonstrated why he is a superb choice to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Petraeus gave a crisp, smooth, and tactful performance that exhibited the diplomatic skills that will serve him in good stead at his new job.General Petraeus told…

  • Commentary posted August 20, 2010 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Afghan Strategy Workable

    The Wikileaks “Afghan War Dairy” documents the problems encountered by Afghans and the allied forces in 2004-2009. The war effort was under-resourced. Troops were spread too thin. Intelligence officers within our supposed ally Pakistan were actively assisting the Taliban. But the Pentagon has since charted a new Afghan strategy to overcome these problems. It would be…

  • Commentary posted July 29, 2011 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Azerbaijan’s Afghan Contribution

    America has sacrificed a lot fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan - but we are not alone. The United States and our NATO allies are getting help from places many Americans can’t find on the map. Late on July 5, an Azerbaijani tanker plane crashed in Afghanistan en route to U.S.-NATO Bagram Air Base with a load of fuel. The United States and NATO should mourn the…

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  • Issue Brief posted July 7, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis, Lisa Curtis Eight Essential Issues for the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw

    The 2016 NATO Summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw. This is a critical time for the Alliance. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, forcefully changing the borders of Europe for the first time since 1945. This invasion jarred many in Western Europe and the U.S. who had viewed Russia through rose-colored glasses even after the invasion of Georgia in 2008. Today,…

  • Issue Brief posted June 20, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis The President Should Announce U.S. Troop Extension in Afghanistan Before the 2016 NATO Summit

    The 2016 NATO summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw, Poland. It will be the first summit since NATO ended its combat operations in Afghanistan in December 2014 and started its Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). President Barack Obama should announce—before the summit—that he will leave in…

  • Backgrounder posted September 25, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Matthew Rolfes, Daniel Kochis, Dean Cheng, Lisa Curtis, Bruce Klingner Meager Ground Forces, Extensive Global Challenges: A Primer for the U.S. President in 2017

    Whoever occupies the Oval Office in 2017 will face challenges around the world, including a resurgent Russia, an increasingly assertive China, a metastasized Islamic State (ISIS), and an emboldened Iran. Addressing these and other foreign policy challenges in the wake of the Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” approach will require a fundamental change of…

  • Backgrounder posted July 23, 2015 by Lisa Curtis U.S. Engagement Required: Afghanistan Must Avoid an Iraq-Style Breakdown

    This past year’s surprise success of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among U.S. policymakers that, as U.S. and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban. While Afghanistan does not face the same Sunni–Shia sectarian divisions that have fueled the fighting in Iraq, the…

  • 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 serve its…

  • 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,…

Find more work on Afghanistan
Find more work on Afghanistan