"Roy Gutman, a tireless reporter, has written a deeply researched and fascinating account of the various U.S. foreign policy failures that helped account for the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. Gutman also explains how so many institutions in the United States, from the media to the national security establishment, largely missed what would turn out to be one of the most important stories of our time."

Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

 
"In a detailed account and analysis of Afghanistan events after the Soviet military left in 1989, Roy Gutman shows how the world’s abandonment of interest in the country led not only to horrors there but also to the spread of terrorism worldwide. His book provides graphic and valuable background to today’s problems and a warning of tomorrow’s dangers from ignoring such troubled areas. A most impressive and interesting read."

Henry Bradsher, author of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union
 
 
"This well-written, on-the-mark book is an informative and entertaining read. No other study that examines the events leading up to 9/11 is as persuasive in placing the blame where it belongs—on the failure of three successive U.S. presidents to provide the foreign policy leadership and direction needed to address the politics, philosophy, and disposition to violence of Islamist extremism."

Thomas E. Gouttierre, University of Nebraska, Omaha
 
 
"In the early 1990s, the United States turned a blind eye to the civil strife in Afghanistan. In How We Missed the Story, Roy Gutman traces U.S. inaction amidst civil war, the Taliban’s ascension, and Osama bin Laden’s rise in riveting detail. To truly understand and combat the threat we face, Gutman’s exploration of missed opportunities and lessons learned is essential reading."

Lee Hamilton, President and Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission
 
 
"Roy Gutman has succeeded admirably in exposing the missed opportunities and serious errors of U.S. policymakers that led them to misjudge the threat that became all too real on September 11, 2001. Writing in a highly informative and readable style, he explores many of the intelligence failures and policy predispositions that are not so clearly or so thoroughly examined elsewhere. Additionally, his extensive and well-chosen interviews offer new insights and convey scholarly objectivity."

Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute 

Latest Publications

The Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

The Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

Friday, August 12, 2022

By: Brian Harding;  Camilla Pohle-Anderson

Now that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has been reelected, the stage is set for him to settle what he has called the biggest issue facing the country — the future political status of Bougainville, an autonomous region seeking independence by 2027. Papua New Guinea is unlikely to let it secede, but Bougainville is unlikely to settle for anything less than full independence, and positive relations between the two governments will be of paramount importance in the coming years. Meanwhile, intensifying U.S.-China competition in the South Pacific creates wider implications for Bougainville’s potential independence.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyPeace Processes

The New U.S. Africa Strategy Is a Moment We Must Seize

The New U.S. Africa Strategy Is a Moment We Must Seize

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

America’s new strategy toward Africa, released this week amid Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to the continent, offers promise for a newly productive relationship, and not a moment too soon. Global crises such as food insecurity, pandemic diseases and climate change—and Africa’s inevitable move in this generation to the world’s center stage—make a first real U.S.-Africa partnership vital. Yet a strategy is not a solution. Both American and African peoples and governments now face urgent tasks to seize this moment and jointly frame concrete milestones for the implementation of a new transatlantic partnership, ideally by December’s U.S.-African Leaders’ Summit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Before and since President Biden took office, debates have proliferated around an American “retrenchment” from the Middle East. The administration has consistently asserted that it is not withdrawing from the region, only aligning strategy and resources — “right-sizing” in the parlance of the moment. Still, most of the region remains unconvinced.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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

Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Parties Split, Rebels Rise, and the Junta Schemes

Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Parties Split, Rebels Rise, and the Junta Schemes

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

By: Kyaw Hsan Hlaing

Myanmar’s military regime has a plan for trying to establish its governing legitimacy next year: In August of 2023, the dictatorship, which overthrew a democratically elected government in early 2021, intends to hold sham elections. A critical piece of this strategy involves maneuvering Myanmar’s welter of small ethnic parties into taking part in the electoral process. Nowhere are the risks and uncertainties inherent in the generals’ plan more evident than in poor but economically strategic Rakhine State on Myanmar’s western border with Bangladesh and India.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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