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  • 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…

  • 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…