How did the state-building project in Afghanistan, once at the forefront of international engagement in the country, lose focus and support? As the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan marks 10 years, USIP hosted a discussion on this question with political and development experts.

Read the event coverage, ‘Worrying Fragility' Marks Afghan Nation-Building

Ten years after the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan initiated a new, post-Taliban order, the success and sustainability of the international community's ambitious state-building project is being questioned. Though billed as transformative, it is unclear whether the state-building investments and reforms of the past decade can be sustained, or will represent a job half-done.

With the Afghan engagement now at a critical juncture, marked by the convening of another Bonn conference in early December, international donor assistance budgets to Afghanistan are declining, prompting a need to look back as well as forward. Why has deeper and broader engagement been repeatedly attempted despite concern that many efforts have had limited and sometimes counter-productive effects? How can lessons from the past help to identify reasonable ways forward? On November 17, 2011 USIP convened a discussion with a panel of leading experts who examined this important topic at a critical juncture in the state-building history of Afghanistan.

  • Astri Suhrke, panelist
    Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute
    Author, When More is Less: the International Project in Afghanistan
  • Mohammad Haneef Atmar, panelist
    former Minister of Interior
    Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  • J. Alexander Thier, panelist
    Assistant to the Administrator and Director, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs
    U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Michael Semple, panelist
    2011-2012 Carr Center Fellow
    Harvard Kennedy School
  • Andrew Wilder, moderator
    Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs
    United States Institute of Peace

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