USIP experts convened on June 16 to discuss that question, offer updates from a just-concluded visit to Afghanistan, and explore how to help Afghans seize what may be missed opportunities to stabilize their country.

can
Pictured from left to right, Andrew Wilder, Ali Jalali, Scott Smith

The United States’ current policy in Afghanistan mandates a “responsible withdrawal” of U.S. forces by January 2017, when President Obama leaves office. With 18 months to go, a sense of crisis is mounting in Afghanistan as the economy sags, Taliban attacks increase, and the eight-month-old unity government remains deadlocked. Afghanistan’s instability has led policy specialists, commentators and other public voices to question whether enough progress can be made to let Afghanistan succeed if the U.S. withdrawal is conducted as planned.

Neither the international community nor Afghanistan’s divided political elites want to see the Afghan government fail. And the government has made some promising—if unfulfilled—initiatives, such as stronger anti-corruption efforts and an attempt to work with Pakistan against insurgents in both countries.

USIP’s experts on the region discussed both the perils of the situation and opportunities for improving it that have not been fully grasped.

USIP’s Dr. Andrew Wilder, moderated the discussion, having just returned from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Former Afghan Minister of the Interior Ali Jalali addressed security issues. Dr. William Byrd, former Afghanistan Country Director at the World Bank, spoke on the economic and fiscal issues. Scott Smith analyzed the function and dysfunction of the national unity government, and Moeed Yusuf discussed at the prospects of President Ghani’s outreach to Pakistan and his attempt to reach a peace deal with the Taliban. Continue the conversation on Twitter with #AfgStabilization.

Speakers

  • Dr. William Byrd
    Senior Expert in Residence, USIP
     
  • Ali Jalali
    Former Minister of the Interior of Afghanistan 
    Senior Expert in Residence, USIP
    Distinguished Professor, NESA, NDU
     
  • Scott Smith
    Director, Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, USIP
     
  • Dr. Moeed Yusuf
    Director, South Asia Programs, USIP
     
  • Dr. Andrew Wilder, Moderator
    Vice President, Center for South and Central Asia, USIP

Related Publications

The Taliban Are Stuck in the Past — But Afghan Youth Can Create a Better Future

The Taliban Are Stuck in the Past — But Afghan Youth Can Create a Better Future

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Abdul Basit Amal

When pressed on the future of girls’ education in Afghanistan, Taliban Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai stated that their government law requires education for “both men and women” and signaled the former insurgent group would reopen girls’ schools once the Taliban government developed “some sort of solution.”

Type: Blog

GenderYouth

A Year After the Taliban Takeover: What’s Next for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

A Year After the Taliban Takeover: What’s Next for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Kate Bateman

A year ago this month, the United States’ longest war ended, punctuated by the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul. In the year since, U.S. policy on Afghanistan has focused on evacuating remaining U.S. citizens and partners in the country and addressing the country’s deteriorating humanitarian and economic crises. U.S. engagement with the Taliban has been limited and Washington has premised normalizing relations on the Taliban upholding counterterrorism commitments, respecting human rights and establishing an inclusive political system. There has been little indication that the Taliban are interested in following through on the latter two issues and the recent killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul demonstrates that the regime has not met its pledge to cut ties with transnational terrorist groups.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

The Latest on al-Qaida after al-Zawahiri: 3 Things You Need to Know

The Latest on al-Qaida after al-Zawahiri: 3 Things You Need to Know

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

It's been about 10 years since the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden. In July, his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. In this episode of The Latest, Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert in USIP's Asia Center, describes where this leaves al-Qaida, what it means for U.S. counterterrorism policy, and who the next leader of al-Qaida might be.

Type: Blog

Violent Extremism

View All Publications