Afghanistan: The Best Way to Peace

Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan

US Department of Defense
October 2011, 138 pp., available at www.defense.gov

An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban/Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970–2010

by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn
Oxford University Press (to be published in September 2012)

The United States and its allies today find themselves in a position in Afghanistan similar to that of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, after Mikhail Gorbachev decided on military withdrawal by a fixed deadline. They are in a race against the clock to build up a regime and army that will survive their withdrawal, while either seeking a peace agreement with the leaders of the insurgent forces or splitting off their more moderate, pragmatic, and mercenary elements and making an agreement with them. The Soviets succeeded at least partially in some of these objectives, while failing utterly to achieve a peace settlement. To date, that is just about true of the West as well.

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Letters

Afghanistan & Money March 8, 2012