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Open Think Tank Articles

March 22, 2012 | International Conferences on Afghanistan: From Bonn '01 to Bonn '11

Javeed Ahwar: This thesis highlights the untouched aspects of Afghanistan that were not discussed or integrated into the process of the Bonn conferences 2001 to 2011. In particular, it discusses the agendas of these conferences in terms of what they meant on paper and in practice.

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December 13, 2011 | 12 Ways NATO Helped Build a Better Afghanistan

Shafiq Hamdam: As an Afghan citizen I am grateful to NATO for the huge improvements in security, economic development, governance, democracy and human rights in the last ten years. Do you think the investment was worth the human and financial costs? Is the world safer compared to 2001? Here are twelve reasons why my answer is “Yes!” What is your answer?

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September 12, 2011 | Time to End the War This Article contains Flash-Video

Rory Stewart: The question today is not: Why did we invade Afghanistan? The question is: Why are we still in Afghanistan one decade later? Why are we spending 135 billion dollars? Why have we got 130,000 troops on the ground?

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August 23, 2011 | Egypt's Future Lies in Empowering the Working Class

Reese Alan Neader: To establish a functioning democracy, those shaping the new political system in Egypt will have to engage and empower the working class. If the government does not provide its people with social services and defend their human rights, extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood could gain traction.

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October 22, 2010 | The Great Pakistani Floods: Crisis and Apathy

Sidra Tariq: The international media’s apathy in covering the 2010 Pakistan floods has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the crisis. With grossly exaggerated reports of Taliban involvement in the rescue efforts, it seems as if the international media and community have forgotten about the predicament of the innocent flood victims.

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September 7, 2010 | Parliamentary Elections and the Security Situation in Afghanistan

Niamatulla S. Sharifi: The outcome of the elections in Afghanistan will determine whether President Karzai will succeed in attaining his goals. However, the continued weakness of the Afghan police and military do not bode well for the safe conduct of the elections.

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July 16, 2010 | Exclusive Q&A with Ambassador Mark Sedwill This Article contains Flash-Video

UPDATE from Ambassador Sedwill: NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Mark Sedwill has answered your questions. Please find below the open dialogue between the Ambassador and members of

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January 7, 2010 | Terrorists Are Winning the Media War

Abbas Daiyar: The Taliban and al-Qaeda are achieving their goal of asserting a false sense of their strength, and are increasingly finding wider-outlets to disseminate their message. Furthermore, the US intelligence apparatus is failing to handle the situation. A strong local media campaign to counter that of the terrorists is urgently needed.

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November 27, 2009 | The New Killing Fields? This Article contains Flash-Video

Gretchen Peters: The drug trade in Afghanistan is benefiting the insurgency, begging the question: What do Taliban leaders intend to do with the profits? The international intelligence community would be wiser to focus its efforts on identifying and disrupting flows of money to insurgent, extremist, and terror groups.

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August 25, 2009 | Pakistan and the Taliban: Leaders Caught Betwixt and Between

Shuja Nawaz: Following the death of Baitullah Mehsud Pakistani leaders face a number of challenges. Will they be able to make an offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)? Will they be able to resist US pressure to “do more” against the Afghan Taliban? Will they muster the troop strength and the resolve to move against the TTP in South Waziristan?

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June 23, 2009 | Winning the War on Terrorism

Andreas Michael Bock: Terrorism is able to thrive when it has the support of local people. Therefore, in order to win the war on terror, it is vital to win the loyalties and convictions of the people. An initiative outlined by US President Barack Obama in his Cairo speech, intends to strike terrorism at its Achilles’ heel by removing the people’s voluntary support of terrorist groups.

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May 18, 2009 | Hard Road Ahead to Save Pakistan from Collapse

Urs Schrade: Pakistan could be weeks away from full-blown civil war and state collapse. To bring Pakistan back from the brink, international aid must urgently be spent on improving security and economic development. Many Taliban supporters have a financial - not religious - motive for backing the group.

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April 21, 2009 | Fall Out of Afghanistan War Brings Lingering Tension in Pakistan to Boil

Tanvir Orakzai: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered from radicalization of the population, in part due to the Afghanistan invasion by US and NATO forces. Resolving many of the tensions there could go a long way to solving the bigger problems in the surrounding region. Any strategy has to take into the account the unique political and geographical landscape of the FATA.

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February 5, 2009 | Playing With Fire: Arming Tribal Militias Won't Work

Abbas Daiyar: The US’ latest program to arm tribal groups in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban is based on flawed comparisons with Iraq. Prominent ethnic and tribal tensions will only flourish, entrenching instability and increasing bloodshed. The US and NATO must understand these realities and rethink the plan.

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January 21, 2009 | Afghan Media War: A Failure to Communicate

Memo 11: The war in Afghanistan is as much about winning militarily and politically as it is about winning the media battle against the Taliban. What it takes is an effective communication strategy that reaches Afghans in their daily life and respects conditions on the ground.

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January 12, 2009 | A New Strategy for Afghanistan

Assem Akram: It is time for strategy overhaul in Afghanistan. The size of the Afghan army must be dramatically increased; foreign troops should lock down borders; Pakistan must become a partner in providing solutions in Afghanistan; and the Afghan government needs top-to-bottom reform. Progress can only come with security.

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January 5, 2009 | How To Take the Media Battle to the Taliban

Tim Foxley: Too little time, effort and analytical resources are dedicated to understanding what the Taliban are saying - and that a change in this approach could lead to a change in the war.

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December 22, 2008 | Afghanistan's Latest Security Challenge This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Channel: Afghanistan’s symbolic Highway 1 is coming under increased attacks from insurgents placing explosives in bridges and culverts. These attempts to disrupt this important route for both commerce and the movement of people can only be countered through coordinated efforts from ISAF and the Afghan people.

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December 8, 2008 | Overcoming Mistrust is the Key to Afghan-Pakistani Partnership This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Abdul Naeemi & Imtiaz Gul: Afghanistan and Pakistan have been close allies, but their current relationship is driven by mutual mistrust. The international community should help open diplomatic channels and promote Afghan-Pakistani negotiations to collectively succeed in fighting terrorism.

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November 26, 2008 | Taliban Propaganda and Local Media in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Review: Nick Grono, Deputy President of the International Crisis Group, outlines elements of the Taliban’s media war in Afghanistan, including its strengths, weaknesses, and how to fight back.

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November 19, 2008 | Is the Taliban a Terrorist or an Insurgent Organization? This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Review: Ahmed Rashid, author of the seminal book ‘Taliban,’ talks to NATO Review’s Paul King about how terror, tribalism and the Taliban fit together in present-day Afghanistan.

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November 11, 2008 | Afghan Police and Economy: Lynchpins for Success

Memo 9: Afghanistan needs a continued international commitment to ensure its security and assist in economic and social development. The US, EU and Germany must focus on training local authorities. Cooperating with Iran and the Taliban remains a point of debate.

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October 27, 2008 | Negotiating with Taliban is Admitting Defeat

Abbas Daiyar: The Afghan Foreign Minister’s statement opposing talks with insurgents emphasizes existing divisions within government circles in Afghanistan and abroad. The US and NATO must win the war in Afghanistan. Involving regional countries like Russia, China and India may prevent history from repeating itself.

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October 10, 2008 | How the US and Germany Can Win in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

David Neil Lebhar: Ahmed Rashid argues that the conflict in Afghanistan needs a regional solution, including US-Iranian cooperation. The German military must intensify operations in northern Afghanistan, and the government has to educate the public about the mission’s importance.

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October 9, 2007 | Afghanistan Mission: A Hard Sell in Germany

Memo 3: Members of the Atlantic Community question German participation in OEF, support ISAF and want increased emphasis on social issues in Afghanistan. In this Executive Summary, Annette Poelking of the Atlantic Initiative has more on members’ ideas for Afghanistan and an update on the ongoing debate.

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October 2, 2007 | Divide And Conquer Through Negotiations

Niklas Keller: of the Atlantic Initiative recommends transparent negotiations with the Taliban and local pro-Taliban groups, in order to help curb insurgent violence in Afghanistan.

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September 20, 2007 | Putting the Squeeze on Corruption in Afghanistan

Niklas Keller: of the Atlantic Initiative calls corruption one of the greatest obstacles to development in Afghanistan. The international community must create an incentive structure at both the governmental and local levels which is more attractive than corrupt activities.

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July 23, 2007 | Germany Belongs in Afghanistan

GM Roper: If Germany expects US help in the future, it must stay the course in Afghanistan now. The Bundeswehr should carry its share of the coalition burden without complaint as part of OEF.

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July 20, 2007 | Germany Should Reconsider Position in Afghanistan

Niels Annen: I question the sustainability of Operation Enduring Freedom. And I see deteriorating coordination between ISAF and OEF and asks whether it is time to choose between the two.

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Global Must Read Articles

March 2, 2012 | Afghan Nation-building Failed; Now Choose Sides

The US must stop fantasizing that it can simply transfer power to the government in Afghanistan. ++ Pashtuns, a large segment of the population, do not support the government. ++ The Afghan army is in essence the old Northern Alliance composed of Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras that battled the Taliban. ++ The US should support these groups in their fight against the Taliban. ++ Instead of stubbornly

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January 20, 2012 | Speak with the Taliban

The Afghanistan conflict is moving into a complex period and the US must make greater diplomatic efforts. ++ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described US strategy as “fight, talk, and build.” ++ A bipartisan statement from US leaders must include all elements of society, including opposition groups, non-Taliban Pashtuns and ethnic minorities. ++ As part of a full diplomatic effort the

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October 25, 2010 | Talks with the Taliban Still Face Many Hurdles

Media reports these days are full of the news about negotiations with the Taliban. ++ For many, the USA’s decision of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, international support for dialogue and the recent establishment of the peace council by president Karzai, indicate that something is brewing. ++ Nevertheless, there is little evidence to back these claims. ++ If the Taliban were serious for a

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September 21, 2010 | Bullets Trump Ballots in Deciding Afghanistan's Future

The latest Afghan elections saw the lowest turnout since 2001. ++ The rise of the Taliban followed by the worsening law and order situation are crucial issues for the future of the US-led NATO alliance in Afghanistan. ++ In addition, issues like managing corruption and revising US political goals will be decisive factors in the coming years. ++ There is a  likelihood of a settlement which

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July 30, 2010 | Wiki Leaks Illustrate Pakistani Double-Dealing

The documents posted by Wiki Leaks show that Pakistan continues to double deal the West. ++ While accepting aid money, Islamabad persists in “using militant Islamists to further its ideological and strategic goals.” ++ The United States needs to increase pressure on the Pakistani military to sever its ties to the Taliban. ++ In the long term, however, the destabilizing role Islamabad

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June 23, 2010 | Afghanistan: Rags to Riches or Resource Curse?

The recent discoveries of mineral riches in Afghanistan raise more questions than they answer. ++ Knowledge of the mineral deposits predates the war and lends a “sinister” interpretation to the “many years of frenzied fighting.” ++ A recent peace offer to the Taliban also appears in a new light, for it seems to offer the insurgents the opportunity “to continue

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April 6, 2010 | Using Cultural Cues to Guide an Afghan Exit Strategy

The US is trying to implement its “reconciliation and reintegration” strategy to start to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close. ++ This will involve dialogues between the US, Pakistan, and various Afghan parties including Karzai and the Taliban. ++ Recent military successes should not distract the US from its ultimate goal of transferring power to Afghan security forces. ++ The US is trying

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March 16, 2010 | Corruption is Afghanistan's Greatest Problem

According to nearly 60% of Afghans, corruption is their country’s greatest problem, and not the precarious security situation. Hours spent waiting in lines, weeklong delays in obtaining necessary licenses from local bureaucrats have led to every second Afghani paying a bribe at least once a year. But the Afghans do not only feel their own government is corrupt: 54% think that international NGOs

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March 16, 2010 | Obama's Pakistan Policy a Success

Obama’s foreign policy approach is bearing fruit in Pakistan. ++ The Pakistani military is engaging Taliban havens in the North of the country and increased intelligence-sharing with Washington has led to the capture of several Taliban figures. ++ Including Pakistan in the war against the Taliban, increased economic aid, and greater cooperation between the US and Pakistani government at

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December 22, 2009 | Undercutting the Taliban

The new Commander Emergency Response Program (CERP) aims to counter the corruption of predecessor programs in Afghanistan by awarding aid funds for ‘village development,’ avoiding direct cash payments. ++ NATO hopes that by “siphoning off low-level recruits it can force the Taliban to negotiate from a weaker position.” ++ Right now, more than their Western counterparts,

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November 23, 2009 | Obama, Don't Neglect India

Whilst Obama has been busy developing strong relationships with China and Russia, India, seems to have been lost out of focus. ++ The Obama administration’s focus on South Asia, has led to a disproportionate reliance on Pakistan. ++ Whilst India’s objectives in Afghanistan are aligned with those of the US, Pakistan has not made any efforts to disrupt the leadership of the Afghan Taliban. ++

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October 9, 2009 | Afghanistan: Decision Time Has Come for Obama

After only nine months in office, it is time for President Obama to make some tough decisions on ‘his war’ in Afghanistan. ++ His options are shifting the focus from Afghanistan to a targeted anti-terrorist campaign, or alternatively, calling for a full-scale counter insurgency-war to take down the Taliban. ++ Obama should not seek the middle way as that would risk the worst of both worlds:

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August 17, 2009 | Where the Taliban Strength Is Rooted

US stabilization plans for Afghanistan miss the main reason for the ongoing Talib insurgency, ethnic conflicts. ++ The largest ethnic group, the Pashtun tribe, support the Taliban because their rivals, the Tajiks, have all the political power. ++ “‘They get the dollars, and we get the bullets,’ is the common refrain among Pashtuns critical of the government.” ++ To achieve

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July 27, 2009 | How to Defeat Taliban Insurgency

The international community must show Afghans that they will not be deserted to Taliban retribution. ++ The weaknesses of the insurgency must be considered: “It
is a… shallow coalition of convenience… [and] deeply unpopular.” ++ “Success against Taliban requires legitimate local politics.” ++ Successful elections and the decisions of the future Afghan government are vital. ++ The Taliban

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July 22, 2009 | Afghanistan Is Not Iraq- Germany Must Stay!

German military deployment in Afghanistan is the only way to establish long-lasting stability in the region. ++ The international community is not at war with Afghanistan but supporting the fragile government. ++ “After 30 years of war, the country is too weak…. to pull itself out” of this deep crisis. ++ Only an integrated civil-military strategy including German troops will lead to peace. ++

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June 22, 2009 | History Shows Abandoning Pakistan Not an Option

The US cannot abandon Pakistan and Afghanistan. ++ If the Taliban and al-Qaeda are allowed to triumph, their destabilizing alliance will spread. ++ To ensure that the forces of fanaticism are defeated, we have to succeed not only militarily but politically, economically and socially. ++ “The West, most notably the US, has been all too willing to dance with dictators in pursuit of perceived

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June 4, 2009 | No Distinction Among Taliban Tyrants

The opposition from the Taliban to the Pakistani and US troops is increasing. ++ “The support of mainstream political parties and, increasingly, of the civil society” as well as from India, for Pakistan’s military operations means the international community can trust that Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal will be secure. ++ There is a “basic misconception” in the US in regards to their failure to

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May 21, 2009 | There Is No Moderate Taliban

The claim it is possible to divide Taliban moderates from radicals is based on desperation for a strategic response and not historical reflection and hard analysis. ++ The Taliban are the fiercest and most inflexible Sunni-based extremists with intolerance for differences in Islam. ++ Their genocide against the Hazara epitomizes their brutality. ++ Unlike other Muslim extremists, they lack

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May 20, 2009 | Pakistan: Yes You Can

Aid alone will not solve the situation in Pakistan. ++ Pakistan is ripe for large-scale public rejection of oppression increasingly popular globally. ++ Its recent democratic movements and the increase in highly organized local civil society groups competing with the Taliban show that the West can mobilize a responsible public outcry for change. ++ The expansion of television

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April 29, 2009 | Taliban Deal Poses Threat to Pakistan

After signing the Swat peace deal, Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari will go down in history as the man who succumbed to threats from terrorists, legitimized the Taliban’s activities and handed over a part of the country to them. ++ The Swat Taliban have been “granted amnesty for murder, rape, pillage and other crimes.” ++ A newly claimed Taliban region, Buner, poses a bigger threat, being

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April 21, 2009 | The Taliban Will Be Defeated in Pakistan

The love Pakistanis have for their country will mean that the Taliban can never be victorious there. ++ There is a “real and irresistible agenda for reform and renewal in Pakistan’s cities.” ++ The religious right is tone-deaf, and politically irrelevant. ++ Pakistani Muslims will not remain hostage to their sense of religious inferiority to the mullah. ++ “Violent extremists can flog the odd

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April 14, 2009 | Pakistan Needs India's Help to Defeat Taliban

The latest strategy to deal with the Taliban has drawn praise from NATO but the lack of infrastructure in Pakistan casts doubt on its chances of success. ++ Indians welcomed the announcement from Richard Holbrooke that India “is the absolutely critical leader in the region” in relation to its role in Afghanistan. ++ They also have a significant role to play in Islamabad. ++ The instability in

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March 11, 2009 | Talks with the Taliban Possible in New US Approach

Sober assessment of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has prompted a recasting of policy from President Obama. ++ Reconciliation with moderate aspects of the Taliban should be considered. ++ The need exists to combine “force with talks” while also working toward economic development. ++ Peace with the Taliban must not mean that they are allowed to enforce extreme measures, such as the

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March 4, 2009 | Pakistan in Chaos Following Latest Attacks

The threat of extremists is growing day by day, and at the same time the grip of the current government is slipping. ++ The economy is weakening, prompting concerns
for the future of the country. ++ The latest victims were the touring Sri Lankan cricket team. ++ Initial suspicions are that the Tamil Tigers are responsible. ++ Islamist extremists or members of the Taliban based in Pakistan could

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March 2, 2009 | A New "Hot" Spot in the Middle East.

Pakistan is the place where the US should concentrate, given the Taliban’s dominance in the Swat region and the recent ceasefire based on the adoption of sharia law. ++ Similar past agreements did little to prevent extreme Taliban regimes and risk the creation of a “haven” for Al Qaeda. ++ Obama now has a chance to be influential. ++ He should provide Pakistan with the

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February 27, 2009 | Court Bars Pakistani Presidential Candidate

The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared ex-Prime Minister Sharif unfit to rule due to having fought a military coup in 1999. ++ He tried to prevent the return of Gen. Musharraf, who succeeded in the coup and instituted the court which has now declared Sharif unfit. ++ Sharif does not consider the court legitimate, unlike current president Zardari. ++ Unrest followed throughout Punjab, where

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February 26, 2009 | Understanding the Afghan Challenge

The deployment of an additional 17,000 US troops in Afghanistan is a welcome response to the enduring threat of the Taliban. ++ Military might alone, however, is no solution: “defeating the insurgency means understanding it.” ++ State-building and incentives to deter opportunistic insurgents are needed. ++ Pakistani talebanization must also be urgently addressed and the government’s

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February 6, 2009 | Welcome to the Quagmire, al Qaeda

No-one in their right mind would go up against the combined forces of Gen. Petraeus, Amb. Holbrooke, Defence Sec. Gates, Sec. of State Clinton and the Iraq-hardened US military. ++ But a US victory still needs coherence of military and regional strategy, increased civilian capacity and improved cooperation with allies. ++ Add Afghani hatred for Taliban-imposed tyranny and poverty and Obama’s

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February 5, 2009 | Russia As New Supply Line to Afghanistan? No Thanks

A recent Taliban bridge bombing in Pakistan which cut off supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan has once again highlighted the vulnerability of passing through Pakistan. ++The US is, however, running out of luring alternatives; considering Russia as a substitute would require the US “to pledge that it will respect the Russian sphere of influence in the former USSR,” a guarantee Obama is

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January 28, 2009 | Fighting Talibanization of Pakistan

A ban on educating girls: one of the latest atrocities imposed by the Taliban in Pakistan. ++ “Radio announcements warned girls that they could be attacked with acid if they dared to attend school, and teachers have been threatened and killed.” ++ As a nation topping Obama’s war on terror, generous monetary concessions are scheduled to flow into the country. ++ These much needed moral and

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November 25, 2008 | Too Much of a Good Thing is Disaster in Afghanistan

Terrorism is not the key strategic threat facing the US and Obama’s focus on Afghanistan is misguided. ++ NATO’s overemphasis in 2005 destroyed the stable situation of 2004 and the more focus Afghanistan gets now, the harder it will fall after an inevitable withdrawal. ++ Troop increases distract attention from other pressing issues: monetary aid is wasteful and counterproductive,

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November 24, 2008 | How to Repress the Pakistani Threat

President-elect Obama’s toughest international challenge will be Pakistan. ++ To avert rising threats, financial support for Pakistan’s government and military should be limited. ++ Cutting tariffs on agricultural products would be an effective measure to strengthen the economy and provide new jobs. ++ The peace process in Kashmir must be advanced, with more pressure placed on India.

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November 20, 2008 | Losing Hearts and Minds

The lessons, as well as the history of Iraq, have been ignored and are now being repeated in Afghanistan. ++ The US and the UK have only succeeded to “reduce what should be one of the world’s richest countries to shambles.” ++ If there is one lesson from Iraq it is that “foreign expeditions undertaken in a spirit of jingoist revenge, with a crazed optimism and no strategic plan,

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November 19, 2008 | Flight Paths out of Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been at war for almost 30 years. ++ The possibility of US exit strategies hovers on the horizon but winning the war would require carpet-bombing of southern Afghanistan. ++ Many Afghans hostile to the Taliban still support the resistance. ++ The British ambassador to Kabul considers the war lost. ++ General Petraeus will not be able to work miracles in Afghanistan. ++ The main

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October 29, 2008 | Talks with Taliban Are Productive and Plausible

NATO countries disagree about the floundering mission in Afghanistan, but it is obvious the hardwearing Taliban cannot be crushed by military means alone. ++ More troops would not help keep control in rural areas, where the insurgency is strong. ++ This would prolong the use of air-to-ground bombing to target high-ranking insurgents, resulting in high numbers of civilian casualties. ++ Because

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October 27, 2008 | "Tea with the Taliban?"

The US and EU must use an unexpected exit strategy in Afghanistan: negotiate a truce with the Taliban. ++ Though the Bush administration is still vying for a better position, it has learned it is better to “take an enemy off the battlefield through negotiations, [than to get] pinned down in protracted combat.” ++ The US suspects Saudi Arabia to have gotten the ball prematurely rolling

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October 22, 2008 | Restrained Reactions to Death of German Soldiers

More German soldiers were killed by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. ++ The German people’s reaction towards the extension of the German mandate, as well as on the killings, seems to be restrained. ++ Once more the attacks have proven that military protection is a prerequisite for reconstruction efforts. ++ By withdrawing their troops, Germany would have played into the Taliban’s

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October 15, 2008 | Afghanistan in a Downward Spiral

Even President Bush has now come to realize that Afghanistan is “the real frontline in the war on terror.” ++ America’s sixteen intelligence agencies agree that Afghanistan is on a “downward spiral.” ++ Sobering estimates say it will be five to ten years before Afghanistan is stabilized. ++ More troops are needed and if NATO allies are unwilling to send them, they should contribute monetarily.

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October 13, 2008 | Hope for Warlordism in Afghanistan, Not Democracy

The Taliban are losing battles in Afghanistan but are winning the war. ++ The situation looks grimmer now than ever before. ++ The war looks it can’t be won, but we must keep trying. ++ NATO can’t win alone, but it should help the Afghan army defend its government - if it’s willing. ++ A civil war could possibly be a key step before being able to reach any kind of agreement

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October 10, 2008 | Negotiating With the Taliban

The British commander admitted that winning in Afghanistan is unlikely - reducing the Taliban insurgency to a manageable level may be the only realizable goal. ++ Northern ethnic groups, which account for 60% of the population, are backed by the US, but the Taliban are still the major political force for the Pashtuns constituting 40% of the people. ++ Foreign forces are fighting Pashtun

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October 8, 2008 | Iraqi-Style Surge Will Not Fit Afghanistan

John McCain wants to bring an Iraqi-style surge to Afghanistan to “turn around the war,” but the inability to differentiate between the two countries will ensure failure in Afghanistan. ++ There, there is no sectarian civil war, no “Sons of Afghanistan,” and the proposed surge would not compare with Iraq’s. ++ Most importantly, Afghans want peace at “any cost, even

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October 3, 2008 | The Fog of War, The Fog of Memory

US incursions into Cambodia, which led to its destabilization and the rise of the Khmer Rouge, should be remembered. ++ The same mistake is being made in Pakistan, where the dangers are far greater. ++ Undermining Pakistan does not help Afghanistan. ++ A new soft power approach is needed, as “Afghanistan cannot be transformed along Western lines” - a major factor, along with increased bombing

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September 23, 2008 | Mission Impossible: Victory in Afghanistan

NATO is facing a wily and pitiless enemy in Afghanistan. ++ Taliban forces have reconstituted themselves into a formidable foe. ++ The transfer of nearly 5,000 troops from Iraq - where the situation is more dire than the Bush administration admits - to Afghanistan is “too few, too late, too slow.” ++ The British were unable to control Afghanistan in the 19th century, the Russians in

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September 22, 2008 | Pakistan: "Running Out of Time"

President Bush’s decision to allow US military operations within Pakistan shows how desperate the situation is becoming. ++ But, if the Taliban and other extremists are to be permanently subdued, it must be done by Pakistan itself. ++ The US must convince Pakistan that the fight against extremism is their fight, not just America’s; Pakistan’s leaders must persuade their citizens of the same. ++

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September 17, 2008 | Victory Possible in Afghanistan

Military victory in Afghanistan is achievable, but are we “willing to pay the high cost?” ++ Chura Valley in Uruzgan province is secure thanks to a Dutch reconstruction team, while in a nearby valley snipers reign. ++ This is a microcosm of Afghanistan. ++ ISAF is facing a new, resilient Taliban, drawn from diverse sources. ++ A military surge is needed to quell restive regions,

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September 15, 2008 | US Attacks in Pakistan Must Continue

In July President Bush decided to increase attacks by US forces against the Taliban in tribal areas. ++ This increase is in response to the Taliban’s growing strength in Pakistan, more attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan, and an increase in terrorist threats. ++ The US must find a way to balance its relations with President Zardari of Pakistan, and also continue its attacks against the Taliban

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September 15, 2008 | Moscow Carefully Eyeing Afghanistan

Russia is convinced that it can deal with the West, but worries about the dangerous Afghanistan. ++ The well-being of the Russian economy and a good relationship with its domestic Muslim population depend on a stable Afghanistan. ++ Therefore, the announcement to conduct military maneuvers with Kazakhstan could be a sign that Russia is deciding to take responsibility there. ++ The US was not able

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August 5, 2008 | Opium Trade Finances Extremism in Afghanistan

The Taliban are the most prominent security threat in Afghanistan, but they are not the only one we should worry about. ++ Over the last few years Afghanistan has become a narco-state: it supplies 93 percent of the world’s heroin and drug trade accounts for a half of the country’s GDP. ++ Afghan opium not only floods European market; it undermines the government in Kabul and finances

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March 4, 2008 | Stronger Role for EU in Afghanistan

As Afghanistan moves from a transitional to a long-term development framework, an outside authority is needed to direct reconstruction. ++ The Afghan government cannot manage this alone. ++ The country is slipping back into terrorism reminiscent of Taliban rule. ++ The European Union would be the ideal candidate to coordinate between the government, international organisations and the NGOs.

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November 30, 2007 | More US Marines for a 'Surge' in Afghanistan?

General James Conway of the US Marine Corps advocates the re-deployment of a large contingent of his men into Afghanistan, which would be extracted from the Marine presence in Iraq’s Anbar province, writes Gordon Lubald for the Christian Science Monitor.
In the absence of prospective troops from other countries, Gen. Conway argues it is necessary to improve the standing of the United States in

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