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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 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…

  • Commentary posted June 5, 2015 by Lisa Curtis China, India and Pakistan - the power players in South Asia

    Relationship dynamics between China, India, and Pakistan will shape the future of the region's security, writes World Review expert Lisa Curtis. China’s increasing political, economic, and military influence in South Asia may have a negative impact on democratic development trends but could help stabilise the long-running Indo-Pakistani conflict. Indian Prime Minister…

  • Commentary posted June 4, 2015 by Luke Coffey What we learn from Osama bin Laden's bookshelf

    This week the Chairman and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on social media that he is currently reading "The Muqaddimah" - a book written in 1377 by the Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun about the history of the world. In less than 20 hours after posting this information, he had nearly 58,000 "likes". Obviously, Mark Zuckerberg is a very successful person, so it…

  • 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 January 14, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Strange 'How We Lost Iraq and Afghanistan' Debate

    Post-mortems on “How We Lost Iraq and Afghanistan” seem to be proliferating—even though there’s a lot of “mors” still happening in those battlegrounds. Of course, criticizing the conduct of war, even as bullets fly, is nothing new. Even “the Good War” had its share of cranky complaints about how the war was being won. One of the more distasteful examples came via Major…

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  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

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  • 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,…

  • 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…

Find more work on Afghanistan
Find more work on Afghanistan