Official Washington often exacerbates foreign conflicts by shoving them into misshapen narratives or treating them as good-guy-vs.-bad-guy morality plays, rather than political disputes that require mediation. The problem is particularly tricky with “terrorist” groups, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.
For years, the Afghan Taliban have said they would negotiate with the U.S. once it was clear the Americans were committed to leaving, making their sudden commitment to talk less “surprising.” But Official Washington could learn other important lessons from the long Afghan War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Many of the U.S. problems in Afghanistan stem from a misguided relationship with pro-Islamist elements of Pakistani intelligence dating back to the 1980s. But Pakistan’s recent election offers new hope if Official Washington can step back and see the bigger picture, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The U.S. government and media are outraged over the Taliban assassination of the Afghan High Peace Council’s chairman, but the attack should have been expected once the Obama administration and the Afghan government signaled a U.S. occupation extending more than a decade, reports Gareth Porter.
Holdovers from the Bush administration helped sell President Barack Obama on a “surge” for Afghanistan, arguing that a counterinsurgency strategy could still work. However, two years later, the Taliban continues high-profile attacks almost anywhere in the country, reports Gareth Porter.
In a little-noticed policy shift, the Obama administration renounced “permanent” U.S. bases in Afghanistan, addressing a central demand of the Taliban. Its leaders have signaled that peace talks are possible if the United States agrees to pull out its troops, as Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service.