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Focus Afghanistan

school recognizes the importance of NATO's mission to Afghanistan. Success is vital to the people of Afghanistan, the region and the transatlantic alliance. But what exactly constitutes success? How can it be brought about?

Our Focus Afghanistan enables an open debate on all issues ranging from Reconstruction to Civil Society and Diplomacy, to Military & Police Forces.

The best debates are then condensed into memos and sent to policymakers in Europe and North America, with direct access to NATO headquarters ensured. You can contribute to the debate by submitting your own op-eds and research papers and commenting on other articles. Your input is appreciated!

(Photo: the children of war, cc license)

December 3, 2012 | Failures of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Afghanistan

Ahmad Rashid Jamal: This research analyzes the role of Police and Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2012. It intends to answer two questions: How do international and local actors contribute to the success or failure of the Security Sector and Police Reform? How do actors, leadership, and policies within a synchronized mission fail to build professional police? …More

November 27, 2012 | Networked Politics at the High Peace Council of Afghanistan

Reza Kateb: This MSc dissertation at the Public Policy School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol examined the effects of networked politics at the High Peace Council (HPC) of Afghanistan by evaluating the related policies and experiences of political elites who were involved in the political and policy process of this institution. …More

November 15, 2012 | NATO Assistant Secretary General Responds to Member Questions

Editorial Team: Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović has answered ten questions from members and friends. Read her responses on NATO policy on women’s rights, UN resolution 1325, Afghanistan, Arab spring, and the Balkans. …More

October 29, 2012 | Exclusive Q&A with Ambassador Grabar-Kitarovic on Women, Peace and Security This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: In celebration of the 12th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, invites you to participate in our next Q&A session with NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She will be answering questions on “Women, Peace and Security”. …More

October 24, 2012 | Now it's Afghanistan's Turn Says Rasmussen

After returning from Afghanistan, NATO’s Secretary General Rasmussen stated that Afghans are prepared to take the lead in providing their own security by the end of 2014. ++ The process of transferring security responsibility is …More

August 2, 2012 | Afghanistan Needs Peace First, Money Later

The annual $4 billion in aid pledged to secure Afghanistan’s futures will not foment economic development until there is peace. ++ After 30 years of war, it is no wonder the country is so underdeveloped. ++ It has been …More

May 31, 2012 | Foreign Aid and Economic Development in Afghanistan

Mohammad Lateef Totakhail: This MA thesis is about Foreign Aid and Economic Development in Afghanistan. The research is narrowed down by focusing on Germany, one of the main donors to Afghanistan. The analysis of German assistance to Afghanistan is made with reference to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. …More

May 18, 2012 | Anti-Corruption in Afghanistan and Pakistan: What Works and What Doesn't

Ahmad Rashid Jamal: Corruption is a severe problem in many Asian countries, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This paper assesses the effectiveness of anti-corruption strategies and accountability in these two countries and asks: Can Anti-corruption Agencies turn into effective organizations? …More

May 16, 2012 | Hollande and Afghanistan: A Delicate Balance

Vivien Pertusot: Tensions are already emerging between France’s new President and key partners. The potential for early French withdrawal from Afghanistan is one of the issues at the heart of them and has caused concerns in Allied capitals and at NATO. But let’s not exaggerate the issue. …More

May 3, 2012 | Human Security, Peacebuilding, and the Hazara Minority of Afghanistan

Annika Frantzell: This thesis seeks to examine the lack of investment in the human security of the Hazara in the context of their astonishing gains following the fall of the Taliban from power and their increasing exodus from Afghanistan in the face of continued ethnic discrimination and severe economic hardships. …More

April 19, 2012 | Opium for the Masses

The annual opium harvest in Afghanistan is coming. ++ In 2011, opium farmers earned $1.4 billion, around 9% of Afghanistan’s GDP. ++ The Taliban use the opium trade to fund their attacks. ++ Opium is a a major source of corruption in the country. ++ …More

February 13, 2012 | Secret Talks Divide Taliban

Disclosure of the leadership’s secret talks in Qatar have divided the Taliban’s ranks. ++ The reclusive leader Mullah Omar has not issued a verifiable video or audio statement since late 2001 and the insurgency are waiting for guidance. ++ Peace …More

February 9, 2012 | Ethnic Conflict and Language Rights

Mohammad Saber: The Afghan conflict has ethnic and language roots. A long term resolution of the conflict requires recognition of the rights of minorities to their human right of speaking, educating and promoting their language and culture. …More

January 5, 2012 | Afghanistan's Uncertain Future

Reza Kateb: Ten years after the Afghanistan intervention, Afghani civil society and state infrastructure is still quite weak; significant challenges include imposing a rule of law, tackling the drug economy, and rampant government corruption. To stabilize Afghanistan, the US and its allies should encourage regional partnerships that form economic and political ties between Afghanistan and its neighbors. …More

December 23, 2011 | Afghan Army General Optimistic about the Future This Article contains Flash-Video

General Karimi: Transition is on track. We are confident that the end of 2014 goal for its completion will be met. Today, already 80% of security operations in Afghanistan are led by Afghan National Security Forces, with ISAF enabling support. Transition must be seen as a comprehensive process, not a one-off event. …More

December 15, 2011 | Understanding and Controlling Police Corruption in Afghanistan

Niamatullah Sayer Sharifi: The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index has ranked Afghanistan dead last two years in a low. This paper attempts to find out where all this corrupt practice occurs and what are the ways to reduce corrupt practices in Afghanistan, particularly in the Afghan National Police. …More

December 13, 2011 | 12 Ways NATO Helped Build a Better Afghanistan

Shafiq Hamdam: As an Afghan citizen I am grateful to NATO for the huge improvements in security, economic development, governance, democracy and human rights in the last ten years. Do you think the investment was worth the human and financial costs? Is the world safer compared to 2001? Here are twelve reasons why my answer is “Yes!” What is your answer? …More

December 5, 2011 | Bonn Agenda Misses the Important Issues

Even as NATO troops aim to leave Afghanistan in 2014, they are building an Afghan army to continuing fighting the war for them. ++ This is a misguided policy that will further empower a government that the Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s …More

December 5, 2011 | We Are on the Right Path

Ambassador Philip Murphy: Afghanistan is headed in the right direction: violence is down, the Afghan Army is growing in capacity, and the signs of community development are already visible. This has been made possible by the international commitment, and the ISAF soldiers and ordinary Afghans working to rebuild the country deserve our continuing support. …More

December 1, 2011 | Time to Force Pakistan's Hand

With time running out in Afghanistan, the current US strategy that waffles between placating Pakistan and being tough on insurgents will not succeed. ++ The US should go directly after militant sanctuaries, regardless of which side of the border …More

September 12, 2011 | Time to End the War This Article contains Flash-Video

Rory Stewart: The question today is not: Why did we invade Afghanistan? The question is: Why are we still in Afghanistan one decade later? Why are we spending 135 billion dollars? Why have we got 130,000 troops on the ground? …More

August 31, 2011 | Afghan Development Requires Inclusion of Women

Shabana Basij-Rasikh and Matiullah Amin : Women will play a key role in the development of Afghan communities, despite a culture of patriarchy that has long rendered them politically and economically powerless. It is time for women to realize their agency as role models for the next generation of Afghan leaders. …More

August 8, 2011 | The Intervention to End All Interventions? This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: Can NATO still succeed in Afghanistan before the ISAF mission is set to withdraw in 2014? If so, what will it take? NATO has undertaken a large number of interventions beyond its borders since the Berlin Wall came down; but is it likely to do the same in the future, and what are the lessons learned from Afghanistan that could make these interventions more successful and productive? …More

August 4, 2011 | China and US Must Cooperate in Afghanistan

Chinese and US interests in Afghanistan are unlikely to ever align perfectly, but both states have a stake in the stability of the region. ++ Beijing has long been wary of American troop presence near Chinese borders, and disagreements …More

August 2, 2011 | Canada's Combat Mission Comes to an End

Kristian A. Kennedy: NATO’s burden-sharing problems have dampened Canada’s enthusiasm for the Alliance. After five years in southern Afghanistan, Canada now turns its area of responsibility in Kandahar over to a predominantly American contingent. …More

July 25, 2011 | Civil Society Has to be Strengthened Before Military Withdrawal

Tom Koenigs: We need a civilian development strategy that does not require the presence of foreign troops. Each project must be able to function without international assistance. Projects must be smaller, be less “hard” (infrastructure, economic development), and be “softer” (e.g., education, supporting civil society). …More

June 20, 2011 | Don't Let Taliban Negotiations Marginalize Democratic Forces

Heinrich Böll Foundation: Afghan civil society leaders are appealing to parliamentarians demanding transparency in negotiations with the Taliban. They are concerned that these negotiations are leading to the marginalization of democratic forces in their country. …More

June 12, 2011 | Europe's Contributions Should be Recognized

Joerg Wolf & Elias Gladstone: Despite significant popular opposition to the Afghanistan war, most European NATO member states continue to send troops into harms way. The US media and strategic community, however, often downplays Europe’s role in the country, case in point Professor Russell Berman from the Hoover Institution. …More

May 17, 2011 | Bin Laden's Death will Facilitate Afghan Peace Talks

Ahmed Rashid: Bin Laden’s death will facilitate peace talks between the Taliban, the Kabul government, and the Americans. NATO and Afghanistan’s neighbours will have to take swift military and political action in a way that will help President Hamid Karzai’s efforts to negotiate with the Taliban and end 33 years of war. …More

May 13, 2011 | How to Invest in Afghanistan's Long-Term Stability

Memo 31: The West should secure a positive legacy to its Afghanistan mission before the transition of responsibility in 2014 by strengthening the rule of law, promoting female education, smarter energy solutions and solidifying Afghan sovereignty. …More

May 12, 2011 | Afghanistan 2011: Last Call for a Smart Economic Policy

As the Obama Administration intends to begin the gradual withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan this year, time is running out on the international community in its efforts to pacify the rebellious country on the Hindu …More

April 7, 2011 | A Positive View on Afghanistan

Hayek, Hübers, Haack: This week, features the English edition of “ad hoc international.” Members of NefiA, the Alumni Network of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs and the former Postgraduate Program in International Affairs, share personal experiences and encounters as well as positive developments in Afghanistan. …More

April 7, 2011 | "There are Very Brave Women in Afghanistan"

Interview with Elke Jonigkeit: Since 1985 Elke Jonigkeit has traveled through Afghanistan and produced seven films about the country and the women that live there. In 2003, she founded the Nazo training center in Kabul. Elke Jonigkeit is a 2010 award winner of the “Women’s Worlds” film festival organized by “Terre des Femmes”. We met in a café in Berlin. …More

April 6, 2011 | Answering the Why

Florian Neutze: A closer look at the political discourse hints at an astonishing reluctance of German politicians to encourage a broad societal debate on Germany’s role and responsibility in Afghanistan. Political leaders across party lines will have to come up with an answer to the “Why?” of the German involvement, rather than focusing on the “When?” of the withdrawal. …More

April 4, 2011 | Energy: NATO's Tool for Success

Rachel A. Posner: A collaborative, strategic approach to energy will provide NATO the means for success in Afghanistan. A NATO-wide energy initiative can fundamentally enhance mission effectiveness at multiple levels, from overcoming enemy insurgents to improving human development for local communities. …More

April 4, 2011 | Countering Insurgency by Countering Narcotics

Amela C. Kraja: The security strategy in Afghanistan must increase counter-narcotics efforts and focus on reducing the financial means of development for the drug trade and the roots of the insurgency movement. It is crucial that the international community improve on the slow progress of the last decade. …More

April 1, 2011 | Making the Transition Sustainable

Eva Gross: Afghanistan and the international community need a civilian and a political strategy to ensure the sustainability of transition. But for that to happen, the planning and implementation of such a strategy has to start - now. …More

April 1, 2011 | Promoting Women's Education

Basia A Bubel: The education of Afghan women should become the central focus of US policy in the region. Increased female education in Afghanistan will create sustainable and long-term stability and development. …More

March 11, 2011 | Reshaping Pentagon Leadership

Donna M. McAleer: NATO and the US limit women’s involvement in top ranking military positions, but both would benefit from abolishing discriminatory rules. Including more experienced women can provide fresh thinking on waging war, creating peace and influencing international security. …More

February 14, 2011 | Voices Above the Noise This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: A 50-minute documentary film chronicling events and views in today’s Afghanistan from the people whose voices are too little heard these days: Afghans. It reaches across the generations to hear a wide variety of views from the people on whose behalf soldiers from NATO and beyond are fighting. They shine a light on complex issues. …More

February 4, 2011 | Rules of Disengagement

Elizabeth Royall: President Barack Obama and the NATO community must strengthen their resolve to South Asia and communicate their commitment to Afghanistan and its neighbors; otherwise, the regional players will continue to hedge their bets and problems will remain intractable. Guarantees on short term policy in Afghanistan need to be given to ensure future stability. …More

November 22, 2010 | NATO, Karzai and the Relics of Kabul

The US imprimatur on the NATO-Afghan declaration for transferring security responsibility to the government in Kabul by the end of 2014, and its resoluteness to weaken the Taliban is obvious. ++ Therefore, the period between now and July …More

November 9, 2010 | Australia Must Stay in Afghanistan

Australia’s role in Afghanistan is often questioned by “the progressive Left and hard-headed strategists”, who believe in an early withdrawal from Afghanistan. ++ However, they fail to realize that a stable Afghanistan is crucial …More

October 28, 2010 | Karzai and US Uncertainty in Afghanistan

America’s longest war in Afghanistan is now being waged with doubt and uncertainty. ++ The current Afghan government, considered to be pro-US, seems to have taken a new turn in its relationship with America. ++ Iran’s …More

October 25, 2010 | Talks with the Taliban Still Face Many Hurdles

Media reports these days are full of the news about negotiations with the Taliban. ++ For many, the USA’s decision of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, international support for dialogue and the recent establishment of the peace …More

October 21, 2010 | US Sees Iran as Friend and Foe

The United States and Iran are bound in a strange relationship. ++ On one hand, the US lauded Iran’s attendance at an international conference on Afghanistan, saying Tehran has a central role to play in that country’s stability, while on the …More

October 18, 2010 | Q&A with Ambassador Mark Sedwill: Part II This Article contains Flash-Video

UPDATE from Ambassador Sedwill: NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Mark Sedwill responds to questions and comments from Atlantic Community’s members regarding the outcomes of the International Conference on Afghanistan and related issues. …More

October 5, 2010 | Chinese and US Interests at Play in Pakistan

Despite military and aid funding, the US is reviled by a hawkish group of generals within Pakistan. ++ This manifested itself recently in the closure of the Khyber Pass, the main NATO supply route between Pakistan and Afghanistan. …More

October 4, 2010 | 'Winning' in Afghanistan Would Include Some Failure

Having spent $ 2 trillion already in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama’s policy to put a limit on more spending in Afghanistan is a rational decision. ++ It is not possible for the US to achieve complete …More

September 27, 2010 | US Can Learn from its History in "Af-Pak" Region

In order to stabilize the region, the US needs to realize that Pakistan is the driving source of regional insecurity, not its neighbor. ++ It should be treated the same way as South Korea in the 1960s, by encouraging bottom …More

September 21, 2010 | Bullets Trump Ballots in Deciding Afghanistan's Future

The latest Afghan elections saw the lowest turnout since 2001. ++ The rise of the Taliban followed by the worsening law and order situation are crucial issues for the future of the US-led NATO alliance in Afghanistan. ++ …More

September 6, 2010 | The Next Afghan Elections

With the upcoming Afghan elections the security challenge has increased for the present state government. ++ With the growing insurgency and suicide bombings, a successful election outcome is unlikely. ++ The United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints …More

August 20, 2010 | Five Lessons to be Learned From Afghanistan

Felix F. Seidler: NATO’s expected withdrawal from Afghanistan is the result of a loss in focus. The country will hardly be stable in 2014 and beyond. The aims proclaimed by the international community were not realistic in the first place. Decision makers have to take the long view, if they wish to succeed. …More

August 18, 2010 | Running for Women's Rights in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: Robina Jalali sprinted for Afghanistan in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. She is now running toward a different finish line, as she attempts to secure political victory in the September elections as a candidate for Parliament. …More

August 13, 2010 | Spokesperson Expresses Support

Editorial Team: The Defense Policy Spokesperson of the FDP Parliamentary Group Elke Hoff sends the letter below to the German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as part of the campaign launched by Atlantische Initiative e.V. and to boost the troops’ morale. …More

August 13, 2010 | German Soldier Responds to Letters of Encouragement

Editorial Team: A German soldier stationed in Afghanistan shares his thoughts on the “Feldpost” campaign launched by Atlantische Initiative e.V. and He comments on the political debate in Germany surrounding the ISAF mission and what it means to the soldiers in the field. …More

August 12, 2010 | Germans to Get More Aggressive in Afghanistan

Starting in October, Berlin wants its troops to go on the offensive in northern Afghanistan in order to clear the area of insurgents. ++ This operation is intended to help make the handover next year go more smoothly. ++ This plan …More

August 9, 2010 | Building Civil Society in Afghanistan

Darrell Calvin Brown: President Hamid Karzai and the Government of Afghanistan must continue to give the assessment of the needs of their country’s citizens top priority as they prepare for total independence and self-governance by the year 2014. …More

August 2, 2010 | Success Remains Possible in Afghanistan

Karsten M. Jung: If little substantial progress was made in Afghanistan under General McChrystal’s command, then that is not primarily due to any significant conceptual shortcomings of the ‘comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign’, but to a lack of political commitment on the part of the Afghans and the coalition. …More

July 30, 2010 | Wiki Leaks Illustrate Pakistani Double-Dealing

The documents posted by Wiki Leaks show that Pakistan continues to double deal the West. ++ While accepting aid money, Islamabad persists in “using militant Islamists to further its ideological and strategic goals.” ++ …More

July 28, 2010 | Germans Express Solidarity with the Troops

From the Editorial Team: The Atlantic Initiative has teamed up with Germany’s best-selling daily newspaper BILD to encourage readers to write personal messages of support to German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan in an effort to boost morale. …More

July 26, 2010 | Progressing Toward a Responsible Transition in Afghanistan

Editorial Team: Reactions to the International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul highlight the deep divisions in German society regarding the mission. Germany is the third-largest contributor to ISAF and fields over 4,000 soldiers. With material and human costs rising, the German public is growing increasingly wary of the war. Not surprisingly, the announcement of the 2014 withdrawal has spawned renewed debate on the future of the mission. German politicians face tough choices: on the one hand, they must pay heed to the public’s concerns, while on the other hand they cannot risk losing sight of Germany’s security interests. …More

July 23, 2010 | Pakistan and India: The Keys to Kabul

Even though the Afghanistan Conference resolved to withdraw troops by 2014, the Kabul government has little incentive to take on the responsibility “as long as NATO remains the guarantor of Kabul’s security.” ++ However, the handover …More

July 22, 2010 | Feldpost für unsere Soldaten

Die Atlantic Community Redaktion: In einer gemeinsamen Kampagne setzen sich und für die über 4.000 Soldaten der Bundeswehr in Afghanistan ein. Damit sie für ihren riskanten Einsatz mehr moralische Unterstützung erfahren, können Sie ihnen jetzt elektronische Feldpost senden. …More

July 20, 2010 | Don't Abandon Women's Role in Afghanistan

Shabana Basij-Rasikh and Zohra Safi: Promoting the active participation of Afghan women at the Kabul Conference and beyond is a vital step towards securing a successful outcome in Afghanistan. Women must play an important role in shaping the country’s democratic future. …More

July 16, 2010 | Exclusive Q&A with Ambassador Mark Sedwill This Article contains Flash-Video

UPDATE from Ambassador Sedwill: NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Mark Sedwill has answered your questions. Please find below the open dialogue between the Ambassador and members of …More

July 9, 2010 | Counter-insurgency Can Win in Afghanistan

Successes achieved by the US Marines and their Afghan counterparts in Helmand Province show that the war is far from a lost cause. ++ A bottom-up counter-insurgency strategy has provided local populations with security and allowed for …More

July 8, 2010 | Canadian Power and Purpose from Suez to Afghanistan

Karsten M. Jung: The goals Canada pursued at Suez in 1956 were not all too different from those it seeks to achieve in Afghanistan. Due to variations along the four dimensions of context, crisis, capabilities, and commitment, however, Canada was significantly more successful in their pursuit then than it is now. …More

July 8, 2010 | Mission Impossible in Afghanistan

There is a disconnect between the limited policy objectives pursued by Washington and the methods employed by the US military that attempt to reshape societies throughout the world. ++ In Afghanistan, the premise of the mission itself must be …More

July 2, 2010 | A Counter-insurgency Quagmire in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan costs $100 billion annually and requires the deployment of 100,000 NATO troops – but why must it be fought? ++ The West is trapped in an incomprehensible war, justified by a counter-insurgency theory that …More

June 28, 2010 | McChrystal: Post-Vietnam Political Press

General McChrystal’s ouster reveals a problem in political culture post-Vietnam: “the exposure ethos…has chased good people from public life [and] undermined public faith in institutions.” ++ Kvetching within …More

June 26, 2010 | General McChrystal: Repeat Offender

Ulf Gartzke: General McChrystal’s “Rolling Stone” controversy may have caused shock, disbelief, and outrage across the United States, but to those following the former top US commander in Afghanistan since the beginning of his tenure, his downfall should not be a complete surprise. After all, in terms of mishandling the media, McChrystal is a repeat offender. …More

June 23, 2010 | Afghanistan: Rags to Riches or Resource Curse?

The recent discoveries of mineral riches in Afghanistan raise more questions than they answer. ++ Knowledge of the mineral deposits predates the war and lends a “sinister” interpretation to the “many years of …More

June 14, 2010 | Time Running Short in Afghanistan

Three factors are currently hindering US strategy in Afghanistan. ++ The first is a lack of commitment from European governments and the failure to figure out how to replace Canadian and Dutch combat troops withdrawing from Afghanistan this …More

June 14, 2010 | NATO Needs the Mediterranean in Afghanistan

Ulf Gartzke: NATO seeks to cooperate with countries in the Mediterranean region. However, the cooperation up to now lacks substance and would benefit from the identification of a common goal such as the involvement of a greater number of Muslim countries in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. …More

June 10, 2010 | Afghanistan: Misreading the Fields - Again

Olga Kolesnichenko: The Afghan economy is failing. As the international community and NATO strive to rescue the country, they should focus on developing agriculture. Outlawing poppy will solve nothing. New plants need to be introduced in the country, perhaps even genetically modified plants. …More

June 3, 2010 | Violence Between Kuchi-Taliban and Hazara a New Cause for Concern

Timor Sharan: The violence in Afghanistan has taken a new dangerous dimension with Taliban using nomad Pashtun-Kuchi as part of their plain to aggravate ethnic tensions between the former and the Hazara community. This issue needs urgent attention from the Afhgan goverment and international community lest open conflict between the two groups develop. …More

May 27, 2010 | NATO's Center of Gravity: Political Will

Jorge Benitez: If NATO starts to lose the battle for the political will of its people, it will slowly fade into history. A major public diplomacy effort is needed to convince the democratic constituencies in NATO countries of the alliance’s salience. This is essential to the funding of military efforts in difficult economic times. …More

May 21, 2010 | International Peacebuilding: An Analysis of Peacemaking in Afghanistan

Timor Sharan: This paper is a critique of recent Liberal Peace inquiries on international peacebuilding. It shows how the failure of the Bonn political settlement in Afghanistan produced negative outcomes that have come to shape the nature of statebuilding in the country. …More

May 19, 2010 | Afghan Business First This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: The Afghan Business Conference in Helmland aims to bring together local Afghan businessmen from throughout Helmland province with international contractors so that Afghans can bid directly for reconstruction projects. …More

May 17, 2010 | Nation Building is a Luxury in Afghanistan

Funnelling money for infrastructure is a luxury that the necessarily long-term US military presence in Afghanistan cannot afford. ++ “Our objective is not to remake Afghanistan. That is the Afghans’ job.” ++ Moreover, …More

May 4, 2010 | Investigate Possible Iranian Support for the Insurgency!

Abbas Daiyar: Despite a wealth of evidence, the US and NATO have abstained from formally investigating Iran’s supporting role in the Afghan insurgency. The UN Security Council has also remained silent even as a huge shipment of weapons has been ferried to Afghanistan by Iran in preparation for the planned US military offensive in Kandahar. The US should address Iran’s funding of militants in order to prevent a strengthening of the insurgency in the region. …More

May 4, 2010 | Training Locals So Troops Can Go Home

The way to expedite the removal of American troops in Afghanistan is to train locals to assume peacekeeping responsibilities. ++ “A smaller number [of troops] would mold Afghan recruits into an indigenous Army
and National Police …More

April 30, 2010 | Vicious Cycle: An Analysis of the Role of Narcotics in Insurgent Violence

Jared D. Stancombe: In the absence of a formal economy and political stability, Afghans have turned to growing highly profitable narcotics. This narcotics economy, focused around opium, whose derivatives heroin and morphine that are sold in global black markets, allow the insurgents to create economic relationships with actors inside the opium economy. These relationships allow the neo-Taliban insurgency to create localized “shadow governments” and capture political space. …More

April 27, 2010 | The Future of Peace Operations

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: A comprehensive approach is needed in Afghanistan and other areas of conflict. NATO and the EU, which work separately for political reasons, need to coordinate their efforts and share resources and information. NGOs should also collaborate with military forces. …More

April 27, 2010 | NATO Ministers Launch Afghan First Policy

NATO: The Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Tallinn marked the launch of the NATO Afghan First Policy aimed at increasing NATO-ISAF’s support for the local economy in Afghanistan. The policy aims at facilitating the procurement of local goods and services through simplified bidding and contracting procedures in Afghanistan. This will allow qualified and certified Afghan firms to run as prime competitors for NATO-ISAF contracts. …More

April 23, 2010 | War in Afghanistan, Rift in the Bundestag

The politics of partisanship have emerged in German parliament over the war in Afghanistan.++ Recent political scandals, such as the death of civilians in the Kunduz affair, have turned the electorate overwhelmingly against the …More

April 13, 2010 | Get Karzai Out of the Line of Fire

Hubertus Hoffman: President Karzai should be removed from the line of fire by going into exile in Europe. His inability to reconcile with the Taliban, 2009’s fraudulent election, and his poor reputation in Pakistan all indicate why he should be leave his position. Afghanistan needs a fresh start with a new government. …More

April 6, 2010 | Using Cultural Cues to Guide an Afghan Exit Strategy

The US is trying to implement its “reconciliation and reintegration” strategy to start to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close. ++ This will involve dialogues between the US, Pakistan, and various Afghan parties including …More

March 17, 2010 | NATO Tensions No Cause for Alarm

Olaf Theiler: The war in Afghanistan has exposed strains among NATO members, but these tensions do not threaten the stability of the alliance in a fundamental way. Rather, they can lead to better cohesion by showing how NATO’s role in a 21st century security context can be better defined. …More

March 16, 2010 | Corruption is Afghanistan's Greatest Problem

According to nearly 60% of Afghans, corruption is their country’s greatest problem, and not the precarious security situation. Hours spent waiting in lines, weeklong delays in obtaining necessary licenses from local bureaucrats …More

March 2, 2010 | Dutch Exodus a Game Changer

Julian Lindley-French & Kurt Volker: The departure of the highly-acclaimed Dutch force from Uruzghan has ramifications for both regional security and transatlantic relations in a broader sense. If no other European power fills the void, regional security could deteriorate and NATO cohesion will be strained. …More

February 24, 2010 | Spain's War in Afghanistan

Ed Burke: Spain cannot avoid the incoming fight in its Area of Responsibility in Afghanistan and should resource the mission properly. The Spanish responsibility to link the southern and western parts of Afghanistan to the north remains essential in the fight against the insurgency. …More

February 23, 2010 | Afghanistan is the Straw that Broke Holland's Back

The Dutch gov’t. has unraveled over how to proceed in Afghanistan. ++ PM Jan Peter Balkenende was hoping to find a compromise between a promise to the Dutch people of troop withdrawal by the end of 2010 and American …More

February 23, 2010 | Is Obama Reading the Soviet Guidebook?

Osama Bin Javaid: The current Western involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan is only embedding deeper extremism. Let real democracy develop, as opposed to Karzai’s version, allow the Taliban to run and win elections. Empowering and educating the Afghan masses are the only ways out of NATO’s disarray. …More

February 17, 2010 | Two Steps Back For the Taliban

Officials have confirmed the capture of the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. ++ “It may indicate a shift in co-operation between American and Pakistani intelligence services, reflecting a change in policy by the government in …More

February 15, 2010 | NATO Provides Alternatives to Insurgents This Article contains Flash-Video

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: After the London conference, NATO was accused of trying to achieve peace by bribing the Taliban. In this video, the NATO Secretary General says that this is not the case, and that reconciliation and re-integration efforts will provide an alternative path to the Afghan people. …More

February 12, 2010 | Problems with Intelligence Gathering in Afghanistan

According to a recent complaint by General McChrystal, senior decision-makers are being forced to turn to the mass media in search of the information they need on Afghanistan. The intelligence community is preoccupied with …More

February 12, 2010 | Germans Need to Support Their Troops

German troops are doing great work in Afghanistan but are not getting the support they deserve. ++ Despite the ongoing debate in Germany over whether troops are actually needed, they are a key partner and complement to the ISAF and US …More

February 8, 2010 | Supporting Better Governance

Memo 22: has developed several policy recommendations regarding the international mission in Afghanistan. Members agree that improving the functioning of the state is necessary and that better governance, empowering local institutions must be one of ISAF’s primary goals. …More

February 4, 2010 | Thomas E. Gouttierre, Dean of the Center for Afghan Studies

The Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska is the only institutional base in the US specifically concerned with Afghan affairs. As director of the center, he plays an integral role in …More

February 3, 2010 | London Conference Exposes Contradictions

Last week’s London conference has reached two major consensuses: there needs to be a 5 year plan to shift security responsibilities to the Afghan people and Taliban members need to be lured out their ranks and into the mainstream. …More

January 29, 2010 | Civil Projects Need to Play a Greater Role This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Bente Aika Scheller: Following yesterday’s London Conference, and reflecting the debate currently running on, we interviewed the Director of the Boell Foundation’s Kabul office. Dr. Scheller states that along side security, the international community also needs to strengthen Afghan civil society. …More

January 27, 2010 | Taliban to Be Part of the Post-war Government

The international coalition involved in Afghanistan is seriously considering negotiating a peace process with the Taliban in the next international conference in London. ++ The deal is the following one: “renounce violence in …More

January 26, 2010 | Add to the Debate!

Editorial Team: In preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Memo, the editorial staff would like to invite members to participate in an analysis of the mission in Afghanistan. Please contribute by answering the highlighted questions and giving concrete recommendations and/or policy suggestions. We welcome your input! …More

January 25, 2010 | Afghan Elections Postponed: Great News

Afghanistan’s electoral commission has postponed elections. ++ If “regrettable,” it is yet a positive sign that realism has finally won over idealism. ++ Afghan leaders acknowledge security issues and shortage of money …More

January 21, 2010 | Recasting the Bundeswehr

General Stanley McChrystal is set to announce a new strategy for Afghanistan at the Munich Security Conference in February; and in the process, he will shake up the Bundeswehr’s operations within ISAF. ++ The Commander of all international …More

January 18, 2010 | Support for Foreign Troops is Up This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: Though there have already been 15 NATO casualties in January 2010, the outlook on the ground is improving. According to a recent poll conducted by BBC and its affiliates throughout Afghanistan, support for foreign troops is on the rise; and the number of Taliban supporters has drastically fallen. Is the ISAF mission moving in the right direction? …More

January 13, 2010 | Balancing Power Politics

Timor Sharan: Seventeen out of twenty-four proposed Afghan cabinet ministers were rejected by parliament in a clear reaction to Karzai’s capitulation to international pressure. How will the President balance his commitments to local power-brokers as well as international demands to stem corruption? …More

January 4, 2010 | Germany's Peace Party

Ulf Gartzke: The new leadership of the SPD is strengthening its pacifist position on the Afghan war. Party Chair Gabriel’s plans to solicit policy input from the party base is a thinly veiled attempt to gain convenient political cover to orchestrate a volte-face on Afghanistan. …More

December 22, 2009 | Undercutting the Taliban

The new Commander Emergency Response Program (CERP) aims to counter the corruption of predecessor programs in Afghanistan by awarding aid funds for ‘village development,’ avoiding direct cash payments. ++ NATO hopes that by “siphoning …More

December 22, 2009 | The Battle for Public Opinion

Jerzy S Deren: ISAF consists of a huge number of actors constrained by limited political will, with unequal combat roles, making forces more vulnerable. A holistic approach is required to counter the unique challenges of the Afghan war. Furthermore, a successful conclusion to this complex process is the only way to prove NATO’s credibility to an increasingly skeptical public. …More

December 21, 2009 | A New Dimension to the ISAF Mission This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: In order to meet the ambitious growth targets for 2010, NATO has launched a new mission to put the training of all security and police forces under one roof. …More

December 17, 2009 | The Consequences of 'Victory' This Article contains Flash-Video

Bernhard Lucke: With no political solution for Afghanistan in reach, NATO is heading towards disaster. The frequent speeches of exhortation rarely consider the risks of the military escalation and the failure of the political process. It is time to re-evaluate the war. …More

December 15, 2009 | Rome in the Ranks

Bernhard Lucke: Of the 7,000 NATO soldiers that will support the US surge in Afghanistan, the highest contingent will be sent by the Italian Government. With this decision Rome confirms its own support for the transatlantic alliance, and underscores Italy’s important role in international security.

December 10, 2009 | Razzle Dazzle at the Hindu Kush

Jerome Grossman: Obama’s new strategy underscored the United States’ primary objectives, but failed to shed light on some rather dubious dealings between the US, the CIA, and key players in Afghanistan and China. If transparency is the name of the game, answers must be given on key issues of America’s international relationships. …More

December 3, 2009 | Fighting for Hopes or Dreams?

After the surge, there will be as many troops in Afghanistan as there are in Iraq. ++ Obama’s new strategy is nothing more than the obvious result of a war by committee. ++ Unconventional wars are won by earning and keeping the loyalty of …More

December 2, 2009 | And 30,000 it is This Article contains Flash-Video

Thomas Rausch: President Obama’s West Point speech heralds the next transatlantic rift. The American president is in a tight spot: he needs his transatlantic allies to support this new strategic endeavor. All the while, the German government must decide if it will go along with the plan or develop its own way forward to do right by Afghanistan. …More

December 2, 2009 | Bite the Hand that Bleeds

The planned surge of American troops will have tragic consequences for the people of Afghanistan. ++ After eight years of war, the situation on the ground is dismal for the poor, and especially for women. ++ The people are “squashed between two …More

November 27, 2009 | "Quitting Afghanistan"

As in Iraq, there is no victory to be found in Afghanistan. ++ Only when foreign troops leave will the conflict come to an end. ++ Whether there will be an increase in troops or not, the question still remains: will the new Afghanistan strategy look …More

November 27, 2009 | The New Killing Fields? This Article contains Flash-Video

Gretchen Peters: The drug trade in Afghanistan is benefiting the insurgency, begging the question: What do Taliban leaders intend to do with the profits? The international intelligence community would be wiser to focus its efforts on identifying and disrupting flows of money to insurgent, extremist, and terror groups. …More

November 26, 2009 | Police Force is Afghanistan's Weak Spot

The planned expansion of the Afghan police force from 80,000 to 160,000 officers will make infiltration by Taliban insurgents easier. ++ Recent reports note that the Afghan police force is still suffering from weak leadership, …More

November 17, 2009 | Obama and Karzai: Endlessly Entwined

Obama and Karzai may be “hopelessly at odds” but they are “condemned to the mutual pursuit of success in Afghanistan.” ++ US policy now depends on how well Karzai can stabilize his country and not only on military …More

November 16, 2009 | Obama Needs to Show Commitment

Obama’s prolonged deliberation about Afghanistan risks undermining his commitment to whichever decision he ends up making. ++ As there is unanimity in the Pentagon and considerable agreement in Congress and among NATO allies about the need for …More

November 12, 2009 | Maintain Strategic Flexibility

Greg Randolph Lawson: Obama needs to maintain military flexibility by repositioning its “Af-Pak” policy. The US can encourage lasting stability in the region, and indeed protect its own strategic sustainability, by rethinking its nation building efforts and allowing regional actors to grow into a more effective anti-Taliban force. …More

November 9, 2009 | Keeping our Allies on our Side

L. Michel & R. Hunter: To succeed in Afghanistan, the US needs its allies’ support. Therefore the US needs to start listening to those nations sharing the risks and incorporate their input into its new game plan. …More

November 4, 2009 | Clock is Ticking for Obama

Since Afghan elections have ended with Mr Karzai securing another five-year term, the doubts about his legitimacy should be put to rest. ++ The key problem now isn’t Afghanistan’s President but the uncertainty about Mr. Obama’s commitment to his own …More

November 3, 2009 | Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't

With Abdullah Abdullah stepping out of the presidential running in Afghanistan, the American position has become increasingly uneasy. ++ Having insisted upon a democratic mandate “beyond reasonable question” as a …More

October 29, 2009 | US in Desperate Need of Domestic Nation Building

The US needs to reduce its footprint in Afghanistan and start focussing on nation-building at home. ++ The US “does not have the Afghan partners, the NATO allies, the domestic support, the financial resources or the national …More

October 27, 2009 | Obama, Make Up Your Mind

Mr Obama must choose a strategy on the war with Afghanistan and persist with it, as delay and indecision will prove dangerous in the face of public opinion. ++ The latest excuse for delay, namely that a decision cannot be made without a legitimate …More

October 21, 2009 | US Must "Soldier On" in Afghanistan

The early victory, coupled with key mistakes and the over use of air support at the start of the conflict has led to the present, dire security situation. ++ The “pacification of a country needs boots on the ground [and] the …More

October 21, 2009 | Afghanistan is not Vietnam and the US is not the USSR

Abbas Daiyar: Comparisons between the Afghanistan conflict and the Vietnam war are completely unfounded as they have little in common. Obama has no choice but to agree to General McChrystal’s request of sending more troops into Afghanistan. …More

October 20, 2009 | "Afghanistan Needs a Legitimate Government"

Pressure is mounting for President Hamid Karzai as his country is awaiting the results of the investigation by the Electoral Complaints Commission, following widespread accusations of voting fraud. ++ Afghanistan’s Western …More

October 16, 2009 | "To Beat the Taliban, Fight From Afar"

The priority in Afghanistan should not be to send more soldiers, but to alter the image of the US and its allies as foreign occupiers. ++ Statistics show that increasing troops in Afghanistan, has in the past directly led to a rise …More

October 14, 2009 | Japan's Transition Into Modernisation - Parallels in Afghanistan

Birgit Hütten: Japan, like no other country, has been successful in implementing enormous changes to its political and social structure. The way to modernization and its impact on Afghanistan are vital factors for the development of other Asian countries. …More

October 13, 2009 | Rule of Law: Crucial for Security

Sari Kouvo: An increased focus on the technical aspects of rule of law reform will not break the negative spiral of the Afghan public’s declining trust in the state and increased insecurity without a political will to tackle institutionalized impunity. …More

October 13, 2009 | More Troops Won't Solve Afghanistan

Although the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated considerably, largely due to Hamid Karzai’s ineffective and corrupt government, injecting more troops could provoke an antigovernment or nationalist backlash. ++ Instead, “the …More

October 9, 2009 | Afghanistan: Decision Time Has Come for Obama

After only nine months in office, it is time for President Obama to make some tough decisions on ‘his war’ in Afghanistan. ++ His options are shifting the focus from Afghanistan to a targeted anti-terrorist campaign, or …More

October 8, 2009 | Remember Afghanistan?

Nadia Claudine Boegli: The US and the wider global community must change their strategy towards Afghanistan. Their aim should be to establish a stable Afghan state not mired by corruption and based on the full engagement of the domestic population. …More

October 7, 2009 | Extra Troops Needed in Afghanistan

General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, should get the additional 40,000 troops he requires. ++ Although polls show that the American public has no interest in staying in Afghanistan, the costs of losing the …More

September 29, 2009 | Upgrading Support for Afghanistan

Marco Vicenzino: The deployment of international troops in Afghanistan must be transitional. Thus, the further strengthening of the Afghan National Army (ANA) has to be a crucial task for NATO. Amongst others, important issues are to increase the army’s manpower, to better train the security forces, and to modernize ANA’s weaponry. …More

September 25, 2009 | Road to Stability This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: As the insurgency persists the message from NATO is clear: although lasting longer than anticipated, ISAF’s aims will be achieved and prove sustainable in the long term. …More

September 17, 2009 | Strengthening the Non-Aggression Norm within NATO

Ian Davis: Criticism of Germany as an unreliable military ally is widespread and growing. But rather than deregulating the rules of German military engagement, we should be looking to include similar non-aggression clauses in the national legislation of other NATO member states. …More

September 14, 2009 | Counter-Insurgency 4.0 is Needed in Northern Afghanistan

Péter Marton: Euro-discourse often derides Americans for not recognizing “complexity” around them. The opposite is true in Afghanistan. The European countries present in the North are not particularly interested in learning a lot about the social context they are operating in, and they are generally slow to adapt to changes in their area of operations. …More

September 14, 2009 | Foreign Forces Must Stay in Afghanistan!

It is too early for US troops to leave Afghanistan. ++ Withdrawal now would make Afghanistan again a safe haven for terrorists. ++ Relying only on the growth of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is not enough to deal with the …More

September 8, 2009 | Germany is ISAF's Weakest Link

Joshua Foust: The Bundeswehr has evolved from refusing to kill known militants to calling in air strikes based on flimsy evidence. The German deployment has been a complete failure. The Bundeswehr is consistently undermining the allied tasks in Afghanistan and should either reevaluate or withdraw. …More

September 7, 2009 | The Afghanistan Abyss

President Obama must not add to the 21,000 troops that he has sent to Afghanistan recently as this would be an historic mistake. ++ This will only serve to “galvanize local people to back the Taliban in repelling the infidels.” ++ Leading …More

September 2, 2009 | Five Steps for Success in Afghanistan

Christopher Lee Davis: NATO’s near-term priority in Afghanistan must be the implementation of the new strategy to which member-states agreed at their last summit. Time is of the essence since the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. The alliance-wide agreement offers new momentum to focus on five critical areas. …More

August 21, 2009 | Afghan Elections: Let the Geopolitical Games Begin

At present, the power struggle in Kabul is reaching its apex. ++ After years of US hegemony, now, Russia, Iran and China push for influence in Afghanistan. ++ Both, Kabul and Washington depend on Moscow’s benevolence in …More

August 17, 2009 | Where the Taliban Strength Is Rooted

US stabilization plans for Afghanistan miss the main reason for the ongoing Talib insurgency, ethnic conflicts. ++ The largest ethnic group, the Pashtun tribe, support the Taliban because their rivals, the Tajiks, have all the political …More

August 12, 2009 | Kunduz Calling: How Uzbek Al-Qaeda Threatens ISAF

Abbas Daiyar: The recent insurgency in Kunduz province is due to the arrival of Tahir Yaldosh, the Uzbek Al-Qaeda leader. A lack of allied forces is a major concern and NATO should pay more attention to Kunduz, which is slowly falling under the control of groups linked to Al-Qaeda. …More

July 27, 2009 | Afghan Occupation Accomplishes Nothing

After 8 years, Afghanistan is not independent or democratic, and women are as bad off as ever. ++ This will not improve until Western soldiers leave, as “history teaches that we always reject occupation and foreign domination.” ++ “It is …More

July 24, 2009 | Germany Goes on the Offensive This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: The Bundeswehr pursues insurgents in Northern Afghanistan with heavy firepower. Members of, will this more assertive approach lead to more stability in Afghanistan? Has a “psychological threshold” been crossed in Germany? …More

July 22, 2009 | Afghanistan Is Not Iraq- Germany Must Stay!

German military deployment in Afghanistan is the only way to establish long-lasting stability in the region. ++ The international community is not at war with Afghanistan but supporting the fragile government. ++ “After 30 years of …More

July 17, 2009 | Anti-Terror War in Afghanistan Must End

The UK and other countries must pull out most of their forces from Afghanistan. ++ More troops will not lead to less military casualties. ++ Al-Quaeda does not need Afghanistan as a training ground, as it can count on affiliates in many …More

July 14, 2009 | Taliban Will Let the Guns Talk

Britain and the US seek dialogue with the Taliban but the Taliban are not in the mood to talk. ++ Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s wants military victory and nothing can stop the war in Afghanistan except a clear defeat of the occupation armies. ++ He …More

July 13, 2009 | War in Afghanistan Is Senseless Folly

Ridding Afghanistan of al-Qaida is not worth our soldiers’ lives, as “the world is full of places where [they] can hide and operate.” ++ The true war on terror “is about hearts and minds, not soldiers dead in a ditch… The hearts and the …More

June 30, 2009 | Haroon Rashid, Independent Directorate of Local Governance

Haroon Rashid graduated from Ohio University’s College of Communication with a master’s degree in media management. He is currently employed as a strategic communication manager at the Independent Directorate of …More

June 30, 2009 | Afghan Balance Sheets Will Show Western Mistakes

The international community is taking inventory of their expenditure in Afghanistan. ++ The results will reveal a wide range of shortfalls, especially on behalf of the EU. ++ In spite of the existing realization that the Afghan …More

June 26, 2009 | Germany in Afghanistan: Go Big, or Go Home

German politicians must address public questions about NATO involvement in Afghanistan. ++ They must recognize that the war entails risks, and costs - including German lives - and communicate to Germans that they owe their soldiers …More

May 22, 2009 | Cheney Security Rant an Attack on Bush, Not Obama

When Dick Cheney lambasted the change in US security policy under President Obama, he was not really attacking the current administration,
but the previous one. ++ The changes to policy - such as a push to close Guantanamo …More

May 21, 2009 | There Is No Moderate Taliban

The claim it is possible to divide Taliban moderates from radicals is based on desperation for a strategic response and not historical reflection and hard analysis. ++ The Taliban are the fiercest and most inflexible Sunni-based extremists with …More

May 14, 2009 | Let's Not Kid Ourselves: Afghanistan Is Not Iraq

Gen. Petraeus faces a tougher fight in Afghanistan then Iraq in applying his counterinsurgency tactics; to first hit the insurgency hard to then strip away the moderates.++ His asset of strong diplomatic …More

May 12, 2009 | Do Not Ignore Risks of Wars in Afghanistan & Pakistan

Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, have evolved into wars of attrition.++ There are truly four wars- the western war in Afghanistan, war in the border region, war between Islamist and weak Pakistani government, and a US war …More

May 4, 2009 | World Falls Short on Aid to Afghanistan

The international community is falling “woefully short” of financing Afghanistan’s needs. ++ Security is better funded than any other sector including economic and social development. ++ If this continues, “the suffering of a very poor …More

May 1, 2009 | World Needs to Help Pakistan and Afghanistan

The global community is slowly realizing the magnitude of the dangers the current problems Pakistan and Afghanistan carry for the world. ++ France has taken an active role, “committed to contributing its full weight to help …More

April 21, 2009 | Fall Out of Afghanistan War Brings Lingering Tension in Pakistan to Boil

Tanvir Orakzai: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered from radicalization of the population, in part due to the Afghanistan invasion by US and NATO forces. Resolving many of the tensions there could go a long way to solving the bigger problems in the surrounding region. Any strategy has to take into the account the unique political and geographical landscape of the FATA. …More

April 19, 2009 | Her Excellency Maliha Zulfacar, Afghan Ambassador to Germany This Article contains Flash-Video

Ambassador Maliha Zulfacar taught sociology as a professor at California Polytechnic State University before her current position representing Afghanistan in Germany. In our interview she speaks about the wishes, …More

April 3, 2009 | Afghanistan Deployment: Supplies in Danger

Future strategy in Afghanistan is being debated more strongly than before: more money, more soldiers, stronger European involvement, and negotiations with moderate Taliban. But the allied troops on site have to solve completely …More

April 3, 2009 | Defending Human Rights Isn't Neo-Colonialism

Silence often prevails over the denouncing of atrocities that take place in the Muslim world because the fear of compromising dialogue is huge. ++ Yet, there is a limit to the threshold of acceptance. ++ Even if communication …More

March 30, 2009 | Obama's Promising New Afghan Strategy

Obama’s long awaited new strategy in Afghanistan has finally been presented by the President last Friday March, 27th. ++ The delivered strategy has proven to be comprehensive in understanding the wide dimension of the challenge — for …More

March 10, 2009 | Rethinking Strategy In Afghanistan

According to US envoy Holbrooke, Afghanistan is tougher than Vietnam. ++ The Taliban have the advantage of operating on their terrain and have a network of supporters providing them superior intelligence. ++ Thus, the mechanism of operation …More

March 6, 2009 | Time is Running Out

Jordan Michael Smith: In yesterday’s speech, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Afghanistan as “NATO’s biggest challenge”. NATO has agreed to resume high-level contacts with Russia on this issue, but President Obama also has a key role in ensuring that Afghanistan is transformed into a liberal democracy. …More

February 18, 2009 | Afghanistan: Achilles Heel of Transatlantic Alliance

The pledge for a new era of cooperation made by Joe Biden during the Security Conference in Munich has been received with great enthusiasm worldwide. ++ Europe is, however, slowly realizing that the cost of Obama’s …More

February 10, 2009 | Invest In Locals, Not New Soldiers

The long-term solution to Afghanistan’s security does not lie in sending in new soldiers but in the Afghan army. ++ This army is basic but innovative; its greatest strength is the sense of national identity which governs it. ++ …More

February 6, 2009 | Welcome to the Quagmire, al Qaeda

No-one in their right mind would go up against the combined forces of Gen. Petraeus, Amb. Holbrooke, Defence Sec. Gates, Sec. of State Clinton and the Iraq-hardened US military. ++ But a US victory still needs coherence of military and …More

February 5, 2009 | 2009 - A Decisive Year in the Afghan Anti-Drug Campaign

This year the international community could achieve a major breakthrough in the anti-drug war being waged in Afghanistan. The last two years have witnessed large surpluses in drug production resulting in falling prices …More

February 5, 2009 | Russia As New Supply Line to Afghanistan? No Thanks

A recent Taliban bridge bombing in Pakistan which cut off supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan has once again highlighted the vulnerability of passing through Pakistan. ++The US is, however, running out of luring …More

February 5, 2009 | Playing With Fire: Arming Tribal Militias Won't Work

Abbas Daiyar: The US’ latest program to arm tribal groups in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban is based on flawed comparisons with Iraq. Prominent ethnic and tribal tensions will only flourish, entrenching instability and increasing bloodshed. The US and NATO must understand these realities and rethink the plan. …More

January 21, 2009 | Afghan Media War: A Failure to Communicate

Memo 11: The war in Afghanistan is as much about winning militarily and politically as it is about winning the media battle against the Taliban. What it takes is an effective communication strategy that reaches Afghans in their daily life and respects conditions on the ground. …More

January 16, 2009 | HOT ISSUE: UK Slams Poor European Committment in Afghanistan

From the Editorial Team: British Defence Secretary John Hutton has called upon NATO allies to pull their weight and share the burden in Afghanistan. In one of the most outspoken speeches from a British defence minister in years, Hutton reprimands some EU members for a lack of commitment to global security interests. …More

January 12, 2009 | A New Strategy for Afghanistan

Assem Akram: It is time for strategy overhaul in Afghanistan. The size of the Afghan army must be dramatically increased; foreign troops should lock down borders; Pakistan must become a partner in providing solutions in Afghanistan; and the Afghan government needs top-to-bottom reform. Progress can only come with security. …More

January 7, 2009 | What Should be the Priorities in Afghanistan in 2009? Vote Here

From the Editorial Team: During 2008 Afghanistan was among the most explosive political issues. The unstable state of the country will continue to affect the whole region. What are your recommendations for 2009? What is the most urgent action that needs to be taken in Afghanistan this year? …More

January 6, 2009 | Obama Should End US Involvement In Afghanistan

Analysts and scholars warn that the problems that the US faces in Afghanistan - continued insurgencies, opium production, a US army demoralized and drained of resources given the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - will compromise …More

January 5, 2009 | How To Take the Media Battle to the Taliban

Tim Foxley: Too little time, effort and analytical resources are dedicated to understanding what the Taliban are saying - and that a change in this approach could lead to a change in the war.


December 31, 2008 | Islamic Morality In The Battle for Afghan Hearts and Minds

Florian Broschk: The Western effort to conquer “hearts and minds” in Afghanistan is being hindered by a failure to recognize the core role of religion in Afghan society. The West must integrate the language of Islamic morality into its counterinsurgency mission. …More

December 22, 2008 | Afghanistan's Latest Security Challenge This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Channel: Afghanistan’s symbolic Highway 1 is coming under increased attacks from insurgents placing explosives in bridges and culverts. These attempts to disrupt this important route for both commerce and the movement of people can only be countered through coordinated efforts from ISAF and the Afghan people. …More

December 19, 2008 | America's Future Place in the World

Global power is increasingly spread-out and is tipping towards Asia. ++ This shift will shape Obama’s political agenda, forcing him to distance himself from unilateralism. ++ Asia is planning an alternative to the IMF and the US …More

December 15, 2008 | Education is the Hope of Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Amb. Zulfacar: One hundred thousand young Afghans with a high school diploma will not have a place at university in 2010. This is both a humanitarian catastrophe and a threat to security. The Afghan ambassador to Germany H. E. Maliha Zulfacar, speaks about the wishes, hopes and fears of the men and women of her country. …More

December 11, 2008 | NATO Transforms for Civil-Military Cooperation

David S. Yost : In order to deal with new security challenges, NATO is developing its concept for cooperation with civilian organizations. Since the early 1990’s, the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations have been the closest partners. Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan are showing how crucial it is to expand this work. …More

December 10, 2008 | British Military Frustrated in Afghanistan

The British military are increasingly angered by the poor international effort to win over hearts and minds in Afghanistan. ++ British generals have been arguing for years that getting the population on side is the key to success. ++ …More

December 8, 2008 | A Survey of the Afghan People

Irrespective of slow gains in basic services
as well as little success in reconstruction, the conflict in Afghanistan is
still in full swing. High civilian and military casualties, severe food
shortages, millions of Afghans facing starvation and …More

December 8, 2008 | Overcoming Mistrust is the Key to Afghan-Pakistani Partnership This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Abdul Naeemi & Imtiaz Gul: Afghanistan and Pakistan have been close allies, but their current relationship is driven by mutual mistrust. The international community should help open diplomatic channels and promote Afghan-Pakistani negotiations to collectively succeed in fighting terrorism. …More

December 4, 2008 | A Significant Milestone for Afghan Security This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Channel: Two video reports give an insight into the encouraging development of Afghanistan’s security forces as the take-over from foreign forces begins to be consolidated. …More

December 1, 2008 | Elections in Afghanistan - a Potential Tipping Point

Daoud Sultanzoy: Daoud Sultanzoy, an Afghan member of Parliament, gives his impression of the risks that his country runs if it does not connect with its people during the coming elections. A growing list of tribulations the common Afghan faces is enumerated - concerns that military might alone would be hard-pressed to mitigate. …More

November 26, 2008 | Taliban Propaganda and Local Media in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Review: Nick Grono, Deputy President of the International Crisis Group, outlines elements of the Taliban’s media war in Afghanistan, including its strengths, weaknesses, and how to fight back. …More

November 25, 2008 | Winning Over Tribes is the Way Out

Bernhard Lucke: The US and NATO should develop exit strategies instead of increasing their military presence in Afghanistan. Winning back tribal leaders’ allegiance is the key to successfully drawing down troops. Western policy makers can learn many valuable lessons from the Soviet failure in Afghanistan. …More

November 20, 2008 | Losing Hearts and Minds

The lessons, as well as the history of Iraq, have been ignored and are now being repeated in Afghanistan. ++ The US and the UK have only succeeded to “reduce what should be one of the world’s richest countries to shambles.” ++ If there is one …More

November 19, 2008 | Is the Taliban a Terrorist or an Insurgent Organization? This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Review: Ahmed Rashid, author of the seminal book ‘Taliban,’ talks to NATO Review’s Paul King about how terror, tribalism and the Taliban fit together in present-day Afghanistan. …More

November 18, 2008 | "The Remaking of NATO"

One of Obama’s most trying tasks as president will be to redefine NATO, which lacks “a clear mission” and has “outlived its original purpose.” ++ The thorny issue of Ukrainian and Georgian accession will need to be …More

November 17, 2008 | Saving Afghanistan Even Means Talking to Enemies

Seven years after the advent of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban, al- Qaeda and various insurgents have regained strength particularly on Afghan and Pakistani soil. The fight for
security in the Middle East has spiralled …More

November 17, 2008 | Train Afghan Strategic Communicators

Nicholas Lunt: ISAF and NATO have tried to speak to Afghans directly in their own language. Previous communication, even when assisted by locals, has led to misunderstandings and conflict. The solution would be to empower locals to speak for ISAF and NATO directly. …More

November 14, 2008 | Fighting Afghanistan's Drug Economy

Sepideh Parsa: Despite efforts to combat the drug production in Afghanistan, figures continue to rise. To avert the threat which arises from the resurgence of terrorist groups, and to ensure international security, the international community has to make a long- term commitment. This paper aims to outline the dynamics of the Afghan drug economy, focusing on the effectiveness of measures carried out under international law. …More

November 14, 2008 | Robert Gates: Coordination Needed in Afghanistan

Operations in Afghanistan are hamstrung by limitations placed on forces from different nations. ++ Many willing to provide troops lack money or have political constraints. ++ Soldiers are needed not only on the battlefield but …More

November 14, 2008 | Reconstructing Kabul: The EU's Task

Daniel Korski: EU engagement in Afghanistan will affect Washington’s perception of its strategic partnership. The best way for the EU to stay a strong partner is to extend the aid-and-security approach of its Provincial Reconstruction Teams and take the concept to Kabul. Diplomacy with Pakistan will remain important. …More

November 12, 2008 | Famine Greater Threat than Insurgents

Royal United Services Institute (RUSI): Bringing food to millions of Afghans can have both strategic and humanitarian results. An operation styled on the Berlin Airlift could also bring new actors to Afghanistan. Likewise, it might be a necessity for keeping the Afghan government afloat, since access to food during famine can determine political allegiances. …More

November 11, 2008 | Afghan Police and Economy: Lynchpins for Success

Memo 9: Afghanistan needs a continued international commitment to ensure its security and assist in economic and social development. The US, EU and Germany must focus on training local authorities. Cooperating with Iran and the Taliban remains a point of debate. …More

November 10, 2008 | Samiullah Wardak, EC Delegation to Afghanistan

Mr. Samiullah Wardak was born in Kabul in 1976 and migrated to Pakistan at the age of five. In 2002 he returned to Afghanistan where he had been engaged in reintegration and refugee issues. Mr. Wardak has worked as a program …More

November 10, 2008 | What if President Obama Asks for German Combat Troops? This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Andrew Hammel: US calls for German troops in southern Afghanistan primarily have a “symbolic meaning,” says Andrew Hammel, who teaches Anglo-American Law at Heinrich Heine University and runs the popular blog “German Joys.” …More

November 10, 2008 | Strengthening US-Indo relations

The next administration might find itself entangled in a dispute over Kashmir as Obama wants Pakistan to cooperate in Afghanistan. ++ Obama strongly acknowledges the importance of a Indo-US partnership, but what “Indians fear is that they …More

November 7, 2008 | How to Make a Grand Bargain for Afghanistan

“The ‘Great Game’ is no fun anymore.” ++ A timeout is needed in Afghanistan so that the players, including Obama, can draught a new deal. ++ A global effort to secure Afghanistan’s stability should be above other …More

October 31, 2008 | Afghanistan's Need for European Expertise

Morgan Sheeran: Europe can contribute to progress in Afghanistan outside of the military arena: mentoring Afghan ministry officials, instilling policies of good governance, and developing the Afghan economy could ultimately provide as much security as any troop contribution. …More

October 28, 2008 | Kickstarting a New Debate on Afghanistan

Florian Broschk: Extending the German ISAF mandate requires a broad public debate on the mission’s goals and strategies in Afghanistan. Germany must recognize the importance of counterinsurgency and improve a variety of its tactics - human intelligence, language training, and a greater troop presence. …More

October 27, 2008 | Obama Will Win Back Europe's Support This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Charles Kupchan: Europe is the United States’ best partner. An Obama administration will work hard towards a renewal of transatlantic relations and pursue a more liberal internationalist agenda, but also ask Europe for greater assistance. …More

October 27, 2008 | "Tea with the Taliban?"

The US and EU must use an unexpected exit strategy in Afghanistan: negotiate a truce with the Taliban. ++ Though the Bush administration is still vying for a better position, it has learned it is better to “take an enemy off the battlefield …More

October 27, 2008 | Negotiating with Taliban is Admitting Defeat

Abbas Daiyar: The Afghan Foreign Minister’s statement opposing talks with insurgents emphasizes existing divisions within government circles in Afghanistan and abroad. The US and NATO must win the war in Afghanistan. Involving regional countries like Russia, China and India may prevent history from repeating itself. …More

October 23, 2008 | HOT ISSUE: How to Keep NATO Relevant?

From the Editorial Team: General John Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO, criticizes member states’ “wavering political will,” which prevents NATO from operating effectively. Is NATO an outdated body as many claim, or can it overcome political hesitations and remain a strong alliance? …More

October 22, 2008 | Restrained Reactions to Death of German Soldiers

More German soldiers were killed by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. ++ The German people’s reaction towards the extension of the German mandate, as well as on the killings, seems to be restrained. ++ Once more the …More

October 22, 2008 | Afghan Surge: More Police Trainers Essential

Morgan Sheeran: The Afghans have to secure their own country. The army has benefitted from Western training, but the police continues to lack active mentoring from ISAF. While a surge of combat troops in Afghanistan could be beneficial, what is needed the most are more police trainers and mentors. The police is the lynchpin of security for each village. …More

October 20, 2008 | Admission Long in Coming: Afghan War Can't be Won

Americans believed that imperialism could trump nationalism but the Afghans proved them wrong. ++ Foreign occupation of Afghanistan is triggering a backlash inside of the country, as well as destabilizing Pakistan. ++ There …More

October 17, 2008 | Afghanistan: Foreign Troops Are Part of the Problem

Violence, corruption and lawlessness keep pushing Afghanistan into a “downward spiral.” ++ Foreign troops are part of the problem; the US and the NATO focus on air attacks, “putting the life of occupation …More

October 15, 2008 | Europe Can Help in Afghanistan with More than Just Troops

Julianne Smith: The next US president will ask NATO allies for more troops in Afghanistan. Europe should respond by at least providing more police trainers, civilian reconstruction experts and new diplomatic initiatives. …More

October 15, 2008 | Afghanistan in a Downward Spiral

Even President Bush has now come to realize that Afghanistan is “the real frontline in the war on terror.” ++ America’s sixteen intelligence agencies agree that Afghanistan is on a “downward spiral.” ++ Sobering estimates say it will be five …More

October 13, 2008 | Hope for Warlordism in Afghanistan, Not Democracy

The Taliban are losing battles in Afghanistan but are winning the war. ++ The situation looks grimmer now than ever before. ++ The war looks it can’t be won, but we must keep trying. ++ NATO can’t win alone, but it …More

October 10, 2008 | How the US and Germany Can Win in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

David Neil Lebhar: Ahmed Rashid argues that the conflict in Afghanistan needs a regional solution, including US-Iranian cooperation. The German military must intensify operations in northern Afghanistan, and the government has to educate the public about the mission’s importance. …More

October 10, 2008 | Negotiating With the Taliban

The British commander admitted that winning in Afghanistan is unlikely - reducing the Taliban insurgency to a manageable level may be the only realizable goal. ++ Northern ethnic groups, which account for 60% of the population, are backed by the US, …More

October 8, 2008 | Losing Ground in Afghanistan

Seven years of war, occupation and reconstruction efforts have not improved the situation in Afghanistan. ++ A lack of security, stability and economic development dominates the political agenda. ++ To succeed in Afghanistan the conception of the …More

October 8, 2008 | Iraqi-Style Surge Will Not Fit Afghanistan

John McCain wants to bring an Iraqi-style surge to Afghanistan to “turn around the war,” but the inability to differentiate between the two countries will ensure failure in Afghanistan. ++ There, there is no sectarian civil war, …More

October 7, 2008 | Out of Afghanistan Means out of Business for NATO

Djörn Eversteijn: NATO’s reliance on its global partnerships may seem innocuous today. Contributions in Afghanistan from a diverse array of nations, such as Australia and South Korea, are seen as indispensable in security and reconstruction efforts. Until a full commitment by member states is exhibited, though, NATO’s long-term credibility is in danger. …More

October 2, 2008 | Obama Needs Foreign Policy Revamp

Obama’s foreign policy proposals are too vapid; far from incipient or novel, we are subjected to his recycled ideas - which, albeit, were fresh when first espoused in the face of Bush dogmatism. ++ “These ideas have lost their oomph among …More

October 1, 2008 | Afghanistan Debate: Parliamentary Hearings Crucial for Germany

Thorsten Benner & Lars Zimmermann: Germany lacks an informed and responsible debate on the country’s engagement in Afghanistan. The looming populism of the 2009 election year is set to make matters even worse. Politicians and the media must prevent this from happening. …More

September 23, 2008 | Mission Impossible: Victory in Afghanistan

NATO is facing a wily and pitiless enemy in Afghanistan. ++ Taliban forces have reconstituted themselves into a formidable foe. ++ The transfer of nearly 5,000 troops from Iraq - where the situation is more dire than the Bush …More

September 22, 2008 | It is High Time for Coordinated Transatlantic Action

Atlantik-Brücke’s Young Leaders: The Atlantic partners must jointly address the economic slowdown, competition over scarce resources and energy dependence. Moreover, the transatlantic relationship faces an immediate, critical test in Afghanistan. Success there is needed as a demonstration of our ability to effectively address common security threats. …More

September 17, 2008 | Victory Possible in Afghanistan

Military victory in Afghanistan is achievable, but are we “willing to pay the high cost?” ++ Chura Valley in Uruzgan province is secure thanks to a Dutch reconstruction team, while in a nearby valley snipers reign. ++ This is a …More

September 15, 2008 | Moscow Carefully Eyeing Afghanistan

Russia is convinced that it can deal with the West, but worries about the dangerous Afghanistan. ++ The well-being of the Russian economy and a good relationship with its domestic Muslim population depend on a stable Afghanistan. ++ …More

September 15, 2008 | NATO and the Forgotten War

Djörn Eversteijn: Afghanistan is the litmus test for the relevance of history’s most successful military alliance in the 21st century. Despite official statements that emphasize the importance of the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan, both member states’ long-term commitment and substantial contributions to the mission remain largely absent. Member states’ unwillingness not only endangers the future of Afghanistan, but, perhaps even more importantly, also puts the future of the transatlantic alliance at risk. …More

September 15, 2008 | It is Time to Withdraw From Afghanistan

Bernhard Lucke: It is not lack of civil investment, but the occupation that is the problem in Afghanistan. The “war on terror” is creating terrorism instead of controlling it. We are getting used to eroding morals and rising brutality, a way which may lead to new big wars. …More


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