Tag Archive for Taliban

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Touchy Issue: Talking with ‘Terrorists’

Afghan commandos demonstrate their skills for U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Camp Morehead, Afghanistan, April 23, 2012. (Defense Department photo by D. Myles Cullen)

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.

Fallout from Reagan’s Afghan War

Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President

In the 1980s, President Reagan funded and armed Islamic fundamentalists to defeat a Soviet-backed secular regime in Afghanistan. Now, one of those ex-U.S. clients is throwing his support behind the brutal Islamic State, a lesson about geopolitical expediency, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

‘War on Terror’ and the Bergdahl Swap

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed from Taliban captivity in a swap for five former Taliban leaders.

After the 9/11 attacks, narrow “counterterrorism” operations gave way to the blunderbuss “war on terror,” opening the way to more traditional practices of war including prisoner exchanges, like the one for Sgt. Bergdahl, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.

An Open Door to Leave Afghanistan

President Barack Obama and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan participate in a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama has promised to end America’s combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 but is haggling with Afghan President Karzai over how to keep soldiers there for another decade, a dispute that Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland says is a good excuse to leave.

A Possible Path Out of Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai greeting U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry in Kabul, Afghanistan, in March 2013.

The unpredictable Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has issued new demands for the U.S. to meet if it wants to keep a smaller military force in Afghanistan after 2014, creating a possible route for the U.S. to finally end its longest war, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Hard Lessons from the Afghan War

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.

New Hope from Pakistan’s Vote

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.

Will Rabbani Hit Derail Afghan Peace?

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.

Taliban Narrative in Afghan War

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.

Glimmer of Hope for Afghan Peace

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.