USIP's Andrew Wilder appeared on NewsHour last night to discuss events unfolding in Afghanistan. He was asked a number of questions about perceptions of Afghans toward the U.S. in the aftermath of the burning of Korans by U.S. military personnel, and the killing of two American officers inside the Afghan Ministry of the Interior.

Read a transcript of the whole segment here: http://to.pbs.org/wKUXen.

Highlights...

JUDY WOODRUFF: Andrew Wilder, how do you read this? How wide, how deep is this feeling?

ANDREW WILDER, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs, United States Institute of Peace: I think Afghan attitudes towards international forces is really ambivalent.

On the one hand, incidents like this Quran-burning incidents or the videos of troops urinating on dead Taliban or civilian casualties certainly don't do a lot to win Afghan hearts and minds. On the other hand, I don't think that translates into Afghans wanting international forces to head for the exits right away, because if there's one thing Afghans fear more than anything else, it's a return to anarchy and civil war like they had in the 1990s.

I was recently talking in Kabul, and I talked to one cabinet member there who said, if you took a poll today and asked the majority of Afghans do you want the international forces to stay, they said no. But if you turn around the next day and ask them do you want them to leave, they would also say no. So there's a real ambivalence about international presence in Afghanistan.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Andrew Wilder, it sounds like you're occupying somewhat of a middle ground here between -- between our other two guests. Given what both of them are saying and given what you see and you've learned about what's happening over there, how does the U.S. thread and NATO thread this needle right now?

ANDREW WILDER: Well, I also don't think we should just rush for the exits and based on the events of the last few days dramatically shift our strategy.

However, I have long also been critical of the strategy of basing -- pinning too much hopes on the Afghan national security forces as our exit strategy. We have a lot of questions about their capability, a lot of questions about sustainability, who's going to pay for them in the long term, and now questions about, with the new strategy of embedded trainers, is there going to be sufficient trust for that strategy to work?

But that's where I feel that the security piece really needs to be matched by a much more robust political strategy and a diplomatic strategy to push forward on a political negotiating front, which is also going to be extremely difficult. But we need to complement the security strategy with a more robust political strategy.

andrew wilder on PBS

Related News

In Memoriam: Frank C. Carlucci III

In Memoriam: Frank C. Carlucci III

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace is deeply saddened by the loss of Frank C. Carlucci III, who died on June 3 at the age of 87. A former secretary of defense, Carlucci, together with his wife Marcia, was an early and steadfast supporter of the U.S. Institute of Peace and its mission to prevent violent conflict around the world.

In Memoriam: Barbara Bush

In Memoriam: Barbara Bush

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace is saddened by the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who served America and the global community as an exemplar of the diplomacy, honest dialogue and compassion that are central to building peace. During the administration of her husband, President George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush lent her active support to USIP’s educational mission, notably among U.S. high school students.

In Memoriam: Senator Daniel Akaka

In Memoriam: Senator Daniel Akaka

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The United States Institute of Peace is deeply saddened by the loss of former Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka, who died on April 6 at the age of 93. He was a longtime champion of the United States Institute of Peace, supporting its annual funding from Congress and his advocacy for USIP enabled the Institute to sustain its global peacebuilding efforts and establish its permanent headquarters.

Introducing the USIP Podcast Network

Introducing the USIP Podcast Network

Thursday, February 22, 2018

News Type: Announcement

Experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace provide the latest analysis and perspective on the world’s critical hot spots, U.S. and global security and issues involved in violent conflict, based on the Institute’s work on the ground and with key individuals, governments and organizations. They give interviews and background briefings to journalists and write for news outlets around the world.

In Memoriam: Landrum Bolling

In Memoriam: Landrum Bolling

Friday, January 19, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace mourns the loss Landrum Bolling, a Quaker educator, journalist, philanthropist, author and activist for Middle East peace. Bolling, who died on January 17 at age 104, and served on the Institute’s International Advisory Council. “Landrum Bolling was a peace legend,” said USIP President Nancy Lindborg.

View All News