Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan War

Can There Be U.S.-Afghanistan Relations Beyond the Realm of Security?

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 2:02pm
Pundits who urge the U.S. to stay in Afghanistan argue national security interests and point out to threats emanating from Afghanistan. Indeed, 17 years ago, it was national security that took the U.S. military to Afghanistan. To date, the presence of more than 20 transnational terrorist groups in the region continue to justify the American military involvement in the country. However, a broader question that is rarely asked is whether counterterrorism is the only issue that brings the two nations together?

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Winning the Peace in Afghanistan

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:36am
It is too early to draw conclusions about an agreement that has not yet been reached, but it is not too early to think about how to wage war by other means against the Taliban once some kind of peace agreement has been reached. Helping the Afghan government win the peace should be our next role in that troubled nation.

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An Afghan’s Perspective: Why the US Should Not Withdraw from Afghanistan

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:02am
Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. and its allies have overthrown the totalitarian regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan and replaced it with a democratic government. Al-Qaida leader, Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan. Overall, Afghanistan is more prosperous than ever and there has not been a major terrorist attack in the U.S. So, does that mean the mission in Afghanistan is accomplished?

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Ending the War and Losing the Peace in Afghanistan

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 1:37pm
The United States is actively exploring options to end its engagement in Afghanistan and withdraw its troops from the country and at best keep a residual counter terrorism force. To this end, it has engaged with its seventeen-year adversary, the Taliban movement, to explore a peace deal - often termed by historians and experts as a troop withdrawal plan – in the absence of its partner and ally, the Afghan Government, undermining its legitimacy and further polarizing the Afghan polity.

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Levantistan and The Confederacy of Afghanistan: How Redrawing the Map Can End America’s Wars

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 1:02am
Nation-state borders are not sacrosanct. Exchanging land for peace is always a viable option, and this could provide a solution to America’s involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Although multiple solutions are available, we will focus on two: merging nations and fragmenting nations. Merging nations would entail merging Iraq with Syria, and merging Afghanistan with Pakistan. Fragmenting nations would break up the two nations into numerous smaller nations, as happened to Yugoslavia, albeit peacefully.

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The End of the Longest American War and the Uncertain Future of Afghanistan

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 4:52am
For years to come Afghanistan will need international and regional economic, political and military support to stand on its feet. As much as the international community need to support Afghanistan – Afghanistan will equally have to prove itself and equal and credible ally of its partners. Afghanistan will have no choice but to explore partnership and pursue one of the above options.

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A Game as Old as Empire: The Return of Proxy Wars in Afghanistan SWJED Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:30am
History is repeating itself in Afghanistan. Proxy wars and great power politics is returning to the country. It is putting Afghanistan once again at the center stage of regional and global rivalries over influence for a variety of geostrategic interests and the quest for resources. This time, unlike the past, there are many players including almost all of Afghanistan's neighbors - with the prominent players being Pakistan, Iran, China and India.

Taliban Unmasked: Afghan Taliban’s Continued Symbiotic Relationship with al Qaeda and International Terrorism

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 12:13pm
At a recent peace conference in Moscow, Taliban representatives sat in front of the Russian media and gave interviews to a select number of Russian women journalists. It was a message of change when compared to their brutal regime and their repressive policies toward Afghan women. The move was calculated and strategic; it was meant to send a message to the world that they have changed and are no longer a threat to regional and global security.

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Losing a Winnable War

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 9:52am
The Afghan government and its allies are winning battles in Afghanistan but not the war. The Afghan war started as the “good war” and as President Obama termed it later as “war of necessity” and was won in less than two months. Quickly the success of the Afghan war was termed as an international model for fighting global terrorism. It was hailed as a model of international cooperation but what has happened since then? Why is it now at worst a “lost war” and at best a “forgotten war”? Is this war winnable? Who is the enemy we are fighting? What are the costs of inaction and withdrawal and what are the costs of winning? What does victory look like? And finally, how we can achieve victory? Do we have the right means both on the Afghan side and on the side of the international community to win it and how long would it take to win this war?

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