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December 3, 2012 | Flying Home - The Road to Recovery This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: For many of the soldiers injured in Afghanistan their war is over, some of them will make a full recovery while others require round-the-clock care. The dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, or CASF, work tirelessly to make sure these soldiers return to their families.

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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.

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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”.

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October 10, 2012 | How to Reduce Green on Blue in Afghanistan?

Shafiq Hamdam: The increasing number of insider attacks have been a serious issue for the coalition forces in Afghanistan. However, there are a number of reasons behind these attacks, which are known as green on blue. The issue of cultural sensitivity is one of those major elements.

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September 24, 2012 | The Deputy Secretary General of NATO Responds to Your Questions

Editorial Team: Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has answered your questions! Read his responses on a range of topics covering NATO’s post-summit agenda, including Afghanistan, the conflict in Syria, relations with Russia, the operation in Libya, Smart Defense, missile defense, and NATO’s role in the Caucasus.

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June 22, 2012 | Who's the Cowboy Now? Obama and Drone Strikes

Joshua Clapp: Obama has rapidly escalated the drone campaign. Meanwhile, his administration has not been shy in advertising the use of drones. The White House should be careful however. Increased drone strikes do not actually help America. In fact, these attacks weaken Washington’s position.

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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.

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May 28, 2012 | NATO Summit Disappoints Despite Rosy Rhetoric

Joshua Clapp: With the Chicago Summit wrapped up, the pundits are weighing in about what they think the Summit accomplished and what it means for NATO. If most of the commentators are correct about the Summit, then the Alliance should not be congratulating itself too much.

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May 19, 2012 | Accepting Our Limits Makes for a Stronger Alliance

Joerg Wolf:’s editor-in-chief was part of a group of 59 politicians, scholars, and other observers invited to take part in the Atlantic Council and Foreign Policy Magazine’s survey on the future of NATO. Here he explains why he answered the way he did and offers some thoughts about why NATO needs to focus on building capabilities, not proving its relevance.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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April 30, 2012 | The Road to Chicago: About the Upcoming NATO Summit

Editorial Team: The NATO Summit in Chicago offers the Alliance a chance to address some of its most pressing issues. Besides subjects such as Afghanistan and defense expenditures, NATO will also have to deal with the possibility of protests during the Summit and the concerns of Chicago citizens.

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March 22, 2012 | International Conferences on Afghanistan: From Bonn '01 to Bonn '11

Javeed Ahwar: This thesis highlights the untouched aspects of Afghanistan that were not discussed or integrated into the process of the Bonn conferences 2001 to 2011. In particular, it discusses the agendas of these conferences in terms of what they meant on paper and in practice.

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March 15, 2012 | James Appathurai on Central Asia, the Caucasus, and More This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy returns to answer more of your questions! In this next round he discusses NATO’s role in Central Asia, the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, and reaching out to Brazil, among other issues.

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March 9, 2012 | James Appathurai's Answers on Partnerships in Asia This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy has responded to your questions and policy recommendations! In this second installment, he discusses NATO’s stance in Asia and how new powers like China and India impact the Alliance’s goals.

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February 22, 2012 | Building Partnerships: Q&A with NATO's James Appathurai

Editorial Team: Join Atlantic Community for our first Question & Answer session of 2012. NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy James Appathurai will be taking your questions on NATO partnerships and regional initiatives, and answering in a video response.

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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.

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January 25, 2012 | Confronting Pakistan's Fears

Marno de Boer: Pakistan’s foreign policy is driven by two security concerns that need to be addressed before it will be on board with any lasting solution for peace in Afghanistan. The US must establish a regional treaty that deals with both Afghanistan’s relations with India and Pakistan’s fear of Pashtun nationalism.

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January 18, 2012 | A NATO Checklist for 2012

Tomas Teleky: As the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago approaches, NATO has a full current agenda that includes both tackling new threats and learning from its recent major operations. Ten years after its mission in Afghanistan began, NATO must apply the experience to its newest initiatives and use its lessons to inform the Alliance’s current priorities.

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January 17, 2012 | Turkey as a NATO Partner: Reality vs. Rhetoric

Yurter Ozcan: The Turkish government uses an often negative rhetoric vis-à-vis Turkey’s NATO membership that correlates with public opinion towards the United States. Yet these trends are at odds with the major decisions that the governing party has made, which instead point towards a growing cooperation with NATO partners.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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December 6, 2011 | ISAF: Beyond Afghanistan?

Jason Naselli: Could the structures of ISAF be transformed into a peacebuilding force for missions in other conflict zones when it leaves Afghanistan? Proponents say it could harness the operational ties forged over the past 10 years into an effective solution for peacekeeping and global governance problems, but detractors say it is unfeasible and unwise.

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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.

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November 28, 2011 | Goodbye to EU Prestige Thinking: Redefining the CSDP

Memo 35: The EU must restructure its Common Security and Defence Policy based on economic and operational realities. It should emphasize narrow, logistically feasible operations over broad outlines, clearly delineate its partnership with NATO, and take a longer term view when developing operational strategies.

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October 4, 2011 | Security Despite Austerity: Improving Europe's Defense

Memo 34: Europe’s defense sector needs reform. To cut costs and improve capabilities, states should consolidate national priorities to enhance political cooperation, streamline their administrative structures, further integrate their militaries and create an open defense market across the EU.

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September 30, 2011 | It's Too Early to Write an Obituary for Al Qaeda

Shanthie Mariet D’Souza & Bibhu Prasad Routray : As more high-ranking Al Qaeda leaders are eliminated, officials in Washington appear increasingly confident about their progress in dismantling the terrorist network. Contrary to this assessment, Al Qaeda remains far from defeat. The US cannot afford to get complacent.

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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?

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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.

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August 30, 2011 | Energy and Terrorism are Dangerously Intertwined

Alexandra Dobra: The world’s eight biggest oil exporters are ripe for a terrorist attack. Any disruption of the energy supply chain could devastate the world economy, so a new set of policies combining hard power (to secure energy) and soft power (to dismantle terrorist networks) must now be implemented.

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August 23, 2011 | Egypt's Future Lies in Empowering the Working Class

Reese Alan Neader: To establish a functioning democracy, those shaping the new political system in Egypt will have to engage and empower the working class. If the government does not provide its people with social services and defend their human rights, extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood could gain traction.

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August 18, 2011 | NATO Partnerships: Strengthening Ties with Asia

Memo 33: To remain effective in a multi-polar world, NATO should strengthen its collaborative ties with Asia. The Alliance must strive to make China more partner than rival, develop a multilateral plan for stability in Central Asia and Afghanistan, and strengthen existing regional partnerships.

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August 15, 2011 | Enlargement and Cooperation Agenda of the SCO

Oleg Khlopov: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) demonstrates the way regional powers can collaborate in order to bring about economic development and become security partners in Central Asia. Nowadays the SCO members are facing two main problems: the enlargement of the organization and their attitude to the role of the US in Central Asia.

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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?

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August 3, 2011 | Building on Lisbon

Joerg Wolf & Victoria Naselskaya: Russia’s strategic community strongly supports Moscow’s cooperation with NATO in Afghanistan and considers missile defense the cornerstone of NATO-Russia relations. While the experts are surprisingly optimistic regarding the success of this ambitious project, they are also concerned by the lack of trust and equality in the partnership.

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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.

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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).

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July 21, 2011 | America Looks Inward, NATO Looks Inept

Emma Jane Macnair Diaz: As the US begins to focus on solving economic problems at home, a greater share of global peacekeeping will now fall to NATO and the UN. Both institutions are ill-equipped to take on this role, however, and will remain so if member nations do not spend more on collective defense.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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April 5, 2011 | NATO: Renewed from Afghanistan

Jan Techau: Anders Fogh Rasmussen has won the war in Afghanistan. NATO’s new Secretary General did not give in to an “Afghanistan depression,” but used the mission to renew the Alliance and adapt its understanding of war. Afghanistan has welded NATO together in ways previously unexpected.

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February 18, 2011 | Targeting Religious Extremism in Pakistan

Eva Maria Krockow: The EU and US urgently need to shift their focus to terrorist threats in Baluchistan, the volatile Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan. Targeted sanctions will help to support the secular population against Islamabad’s clandestine radicalization policies.

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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.

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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.

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January 26, 2011 | Priorities For the Transatlantic Agenda in 2011

Editorial Team: We would like to thank you for voting in our recent survey on transatlantic priorities. Three key issues which Atlantic Community members would like to focus on in the year ahead are China, the debt threat and climate change. These results as well as your suggestions will guide our thematic focus in 2011.

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December 30, 2010 | What Should Top the Transatlantic Agenda in 2011?

Editorial Team: We invite you to tell us which three topics you think should top the agenda for the transatlantic partners in 2011. Your preferences will determine’s focus in the New Year.

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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.

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October 1, 2010 | Taking the War Home on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Editorial Team: Given the legacy of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the transatlantic community faces a new and largely silent threat: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On both sides of the Atlantic, societies need to face this new challenge in order to prevent additional tragedy on the home front.

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September 27, 2010 | A New Strategic Policy for an Alliance in Transition

Memo 25: Focusing on the core mission, strengthening global partnerships, and launching broad public diplomacy initiatives are’s top three recommendations for NATO’s new Strategic Concept.

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September 13, 2010 | Women's Battle for Participation in Public Life

Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Talking about promoting women’s rights in theory is one thing. The example of Mahnaz on the other hand underlines what precise problems Afgahn girls face in pursuing an education in the real world. A program at Middlebury College shows one way out of the dilemma.

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September 7, 2010 | Parliamentary Elections and the Security Situation in Afghanistan

Niamatulla S. Sharifi: The outcome of the elections in Afghanistan will determine whether President Karzai will succeed in attaining his goals. However, the continued weakness of the Afghan police and military do not bode well for the safe conduct of the elections.

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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.

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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.

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August 16, 2010 | Donor Fatigue is No Excuse in Pakistan

Osama Bin Javaid: The international response to the flood in Pakistan has been muted, despite the fact that the natural disaster is the worst in the nation’s history and has affected more than 20 million lives. The government is unable to adequately respond to the crisis alone – the rest of the world must step up.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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July 28, 2010 | Obama's Grand Strategy and Europe

Erik Brattberg: The new US National Security Strategy should prompt the EU to get its act together. Instead of complaining about its position on Washington’s list of priorities, Europe should aim to recapture its strategic importance by focusing on becoming a more effective foreign policy actor.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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March 5, 2010 | Alliance Asymmetries

Jackson Janes: In order to maintain its relevancy, NATO must convince the world that is as important now as it was 60 years ago. To to this, NATO should re-affirm its commitment to collective defense within a twenty-first century security context, properly resource deployments, and more equally share burdens.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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December 9, 2009 | Seizing Opportunities from Turkey's Growing Influence

Memo 21: Amid growing fears of Turkey moving away from the West, presents the findings from its special analysis week on Turkey. Members agree that Turkey’s foreign policy should not be misinterpreted as a shift East and call upon the US and the EU to start embracing Turkey’s growing influence.

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November 23, 2009 | The US Needs Turkey for its Middle East Agenda

Brian Katulis: Turkey and the US need to coordinate their efforts in South Asia, Iraq, Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict, towards common goals. In order to make progress on his ambitious policy agenda for the Middle East, Obama needs Turkey. To this end, improving US- Turkish bilateral ties is a first crucial step.

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November 20, 2009 | Ankara: Looking West, Moving East?

Gamze Avci: Turkey’s fatigue with the EU has accommodated the diversification of its foreign policy. The perceived uncertainty about the accession process has slowed down reforms and has reduced EU leverage over Ankara. But, at present the mainstay of Turkish foreign policy remains EU membership.

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November 6, 2009 | The Changing Face of Diplomacy

Stefanie Jennifer Tetenburg: In the post 9/11 era hard power has been priortised over soft power to deal with the ‘new’ terrorist threat. In this dissertation I therefore investigate whether traditional diplomacy is still relevant. I argue that traditional diplomatic tools remain important, but need to be complemented by new diplomatic tools.

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November 5, 2009 | What Obama Should Propose in Beijing

M Brzezinski and M Fung: The success of President Obama’s inaugural visit to China depends on his approach. “Constructive engagement” between Washington and Beijing can break the mold of Sino-US relations if a series of “deliverables” can be agreed upon regarding Pakistan, Afghanistan, and informal military cooperation.

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October 28, 2009 | Stakes are Higher in Pakistan than Afghanistan

Harlan Ullman: As Hillary Clinton visits Pakistan the state is quickly becoming the most important strategic issue confronting the US in the fight against jihadi-backed violence. The Obama Administration should recognize this and take effective action to deal with Pakistan’s problems by providing more economic and military aid to Islamabad.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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July 1, 2009 | Pakistan: Western Meddling Likely to Backfire

Marie Lall: The West continues to misunderstand Pakistani realities on the ground. It must alter its hawkish approach towards the region and embrace a deeper understanding of the views across Pakistan. A radical policy shift and investments to stabilize the economy must be made before Western involvement turns sour.

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June 18, 2009 | EU Must Bring Its Expertise to Pakistan

Editorial Team: Terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons are growing threats for the EU. 30 international experts interviewed by nearly unanimously call for a much stronger EU commitments to the stabilization of Pakistan than promised at yesterday’s EU-Pakistan summit. The EU should complement US strategy with a long-term focus on state building.

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June 10, 2009 | Pakistan: EU's Most Pressing Security Challenge

Shaun R Gregory: Pakistan is one of the most complex and intractable security problems facing the international community. Its importance in relation to two of world’s most pressing security issues – Islamic terrorism and nuclear proliferation – is difficult to overstate, as are the catastrophic consequences, regionally and internationally, which would follow the collapse of the state.

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May 25, 2009 | NATO: Striking Bargains with Member States and Russia

Memo 17: Enlargement, Russian relations and internal cooperation will test NATO’s ability to compromise and strike bargains in the upcoming months and years. In return for greater decision-making power, European NATO member states must increase contributions to the Alliance.

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April 27, 2009 | Cohesion Vital for NATO's Future

Olaf Theiler: The balance of burden sharing is crucial to the strength of the alliance. Contributions ranging from military personnel to medical equipment are vital to securing successful outcomes. Ensuring NATO is cohesive is crucial to its future effectiveness.

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April 9, 2009 | HOT ISSUE: The Verdict on Obama's European Trip

Editorial Team: Does one achievement stand out as a significant development at the infancy of the Obama presidency’s foreign policy, or have the early signs of progress been exaggerated out of context? Take part in our poll and vote what you think Obama’s greatest achievement has been.

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March 26, 2009 | Obama Needs the Unusual Suspects to Pacify South-Central Asia

Parag Khanna: President Obama’s administration may need to look outside of its traditional set of allies in order to secure stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding regions. There will be a cost attached to this cooperation, but the cost of failure may be higher.

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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.

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February 20, 2009 | NATO's New Public Diplomacy: The Art of Engaging and Influencing

Stefanie Babst: If governments are to deal effectively with the key foreign policy challenges of our age, they must engage in a new form of public diplomacy: one that combines understanding a given challenge with the ability to mobilize networks and public support to bring about concrete change.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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December 12, 2008 | How And Why Did NATO Survive the Bush Doctrine?

Stanley R. Sloan: The hegemonic behavior of the Bush administration during its first term almost led to the end of the transatlantic partnership. The US will not be able to face the challenges of this century without its allies and NATO. A closely coordinated US-EU-NATO cooperation is essential to attain shared interests.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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November 10, 2008 | Improving Transatlantic Relations Requires a Frank Dialogue

Nikolas Kirrill Gvosdev: Obama will move with regard to matters of detention and climate change in a direction, favoring European interests. However, bridging the transatlantic gap is not definite. With the US economy in danger there is little scope to make dramatic policy shifts. Europe must speak clearly, so that both partners can converge again.

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November 6, 2008 | "Country First" to Be Obama's Motto

Simon K. Koschut: President-elect Obama faces a tough challenge once he takes office. The world is expecting change from America, but they shouldn’t hope for too much, too fast. Instead, in countries like Germany, the question needs to be “what can we do for the United States?” Likely topics of discussion will regard burden sharing in Afghanistan and possibly even Iraq.

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November 3, 2008 | Europe Needs a Strong American Partner!

Eckart von Klaeden: No matter whom the American voters elect, a radical change in US foreign policy towards its European allies is unlikely. Both McCain and Obama would generally continue to follow the multilateral course pursued by President Bush in his second term of office and before him by President Clinton.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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August 29, 2008 | Pakistan's New Commitment to the War on Terror This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Hussain Haqqani: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States reaffirms his country’s democracy and promises better cooperation with the United States and Afghanistan in an interview with Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation.

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August 29, 2008 | Obama Stresses Security Policy Differences with McCain This Article contains Flash-Video

From the Editorial Team: In his nomination speech, the Democratic presidential candidate reiterates his commitment to direct diplomacy with Iran and his hawkish position on Pakistan. What do you make of Barack Obama’s security policy positions?

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August 26, 2008 | NATO is Trapped in Afghanistan

Marek Swierczynski: The Georgian war diverted the world’s attention from Afghanistan. But events on the ground, implications of the conflict in the Caucasus and political turmoil in neighboring Pakistan make imminent the perspective of NATO snared in a war that cannot be won. A new strategy is urgently needed.

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August 26, 2008 | Spanish Engagement in Afghanistan: An Undefined Mission

Eva Diez: The Spanish government asserts its soldiers are only involved in humanitarian operations. But in Afghanistan their main mission is to enable the US to realize its own strategic plans. Now is the right time for Spain to define and press for its own interests.

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August 21, 2008 | A Security Policy of Free Riding

From the Editorial Team: Former German foreign minister Fischer criticizes the attitude of German politicians who refuse to send troops to the south of Afghanistan. He accuses Germany of conducting a security policy of “free riding.” What do you think? Is he right?

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June 19, 2008 | The Dream of Afghan Democracy is Dead

Anatol Lieven: NATO might fail in Afghanistan. Hopes for democracy, development, and progress in Afghanistan are already dead. Even though the situation seems hopeless, the West can and should prevent further deterioration.

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May 8, 2008 | The Right NATO for the Right Afghanistan

Péter Marton: Afghanistan needs an external security guarantee for the long term. NATO should provide that guarantee against clashing external influence-seeking endeavours, but it can only do so it if it sheds its geopolitical identity for the Afghan mission. That is how a neutral strategic identity could be secured for Afghanistan.

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May 5, 2008 | Military Alone Cannot Solve Afghanistan's Woes This Article contains Flash-Video

James Jones: While NATO forces are needed in Afghanistan, the real focus should be on fighting narcotics, building up an effective judicial system, increasing Afghan police capabilities, empowering a single individual to represent the international community, and acknowledging regional difficulties.

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April 29, 2008 | Afghanistan: Chances are High That NATO Will Fail

T. Noetzel & B. Schreer: Despite a theoretically clear strategy, NATO is both politically and militarily ill-prepared to execute the required counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan. An Afghan disaster might not be a death sentence for the Alliance, but would certainly have major repercussions.

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April 4, 2008 | Enlargement Delay is Okay if Progress in Afghanistan

Marek Swierczynski: NATO’s decision to delay a major enlargement should only be viewed in a positive light if it results in better management of the Afghan mission, and the Alliance keeps up the pace to relaunch negotiations with Ukraine and Georgia.

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March 31, 2008 | Divides Inside the Alliance

Rüdiger Lentz: Increasing debates within the Alliance about the inequity of risk- and burden-sharing among its members overshadow the upcoming summit in Bucharest. Especially, the Germans are being pressured by Washington and their Western allies to send more fighting troops to Afghanistan.

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March 28, 2008 | NATO's Unhappy Warriors

Wess Mitchell: While the United States has been prodding the alliance’s second-tier members, newcomers have stepped up in Afghanistan.

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March 11, 2008 | Time to Send the German Army to South-Afghanistan

Uta Ermler: A comparison of statistics in road casualty to killed German soldiers in Afghanistan points out, that the increasing danger in the south should be no reason for the refusal of the German government to deploy troops in southern Afghanistan.

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March 5, 2008 | Polish PM Due In DC: Managing Image and Expectations

Anna Nadgrodkiewicz: When in Washington, Tusk will need to address the role of Polish troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the necessity of easing visa requirements, and the proposed missile defense shield. Most importantly, Tusk should use his visit to build name recognition and focus on issues important to Poland.

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February 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Security Agenda 2008

Benjamin Lucas Schoo: Vote now on what prominent security related issue the governments on both sides of the Atlantic should focus their attention on! We have identified 4 major tasks for 2008 and ask you to select which of these should be at the top of the transatlantic agenda. You can vote now on the right side.

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February 21, 2008 | The End of NATO and the Threat of US Unilateralism

D. Korski & M. Williams: NATO’s members need to take action if the 60 year old alliance is to survive as a useful organization.

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February 7, 2008 | NATO at Crossroads - Not Only in Afghanistan

Dieter Farwick: The NATO defense ministers’ meeting should conclude with an agreement to send additional forces to Afghanistan. The troops can win if given the necessary resources and operational freedom.

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January 15, 2008 | Germany's Foreign Policy is Dangerous

Dr. Dimitrios Argirakos: Angela Merkel subordinates German international relations to US geopolitical objectives, something that Bismarck and Adenauer would not understand.

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January 7, 2008 | Afghans Respond Favorably to NATO Efforts in Afghanistan

Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg: The latest survey of Afghan attitudes toward ISAF activities stresses the need for continued German engagement in Afghanistan.

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October 9, 2007 | Afghanistan Mission: A Hard Sell in Germany

Memo 3: Members of the Atlantic Community question German participation in OEF, support ISAF and want increased emphasis on social issues in Afghanistan. In this Executive Summary, Annette Poelking of the Atlantic Initiative has more on members’ ideas for Afghanistan and an update on the ongoing debate.

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October 2, 2007 | Divide And Conquer Through Negotiations

Niklas Keller: of the Atlantic Initiative recommends transparent negotiations with the Taliban and local pro-Taliban groups, in order to help curb insurgent violence in Afghanistan.

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September 20, 2007 | Putting the Squeeze on Corruption in Afghanistan

Niklas Keller: of the Atlantic Initiative calls corruption one of the greatest obstacles to development in Afghanistan. The international community must create an incentive structure at both the governmental and local levels which is more attractive than corrupt activities.

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September 14, 2007 | Afghanistan: The Way Ahead This Article contains Flash-Video

Atlantic Happy Hour: NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer came to Berlin on a mission to get more German troops into the south of Afghanistan. As the guest of honor at an event run by the Atlantic Initiative, publisher of the Atlantic Community, Scheffer appeared with representatives from five of Germany’s political parties to respond to questions on the future of operations in Afghanistan.

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September 5, 2007 | Afghanistan: Expanding ISAF, Ending OEF

Markus Kaim: I advocate merging the military capabilities of Germany’s three current mandates under the ISAF umbrella to bring transatlantic equilibrium to the burden-sharing in Afghanistan. Military participation in Operation Enduring Freedom should end, and ISAF Aerial Reconnaissance and Surveillance should be integrated into a single ISAF directive.

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August 30, 2007 | Afghanistan Is Testing German-Canadian Ties

David G. Haglund: I blame disagreement over Afghanistan for the disappearance of the golden relationship between Berlin and Ottawa. Canada’s “perfect peacekeepers” want Germans to shoulder their fair share of the NATO burden.

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August 22, 2007 | Why America Wants to Iraqize Afghanistan

Thomas Speckmann: Iraq’s label as a “second Vietnam” for the United States does not hold up to scrutiny. Recent changes to US military strategy on terrorism— building infrastructure, winning hearts and minds—come straight out of the Bundeswehr handbook, and they’re working. So why not take them to Kabul?

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July 23, 2007 | Germany Belongs in Afghanistan

GM Roper: If Germany expects US help in the future, it must stay the course in Afghanistan now. The Bundeswehr should carry its share of the coalition burden without complaint as part of OEF.

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July 20, 2007 | Germany Should Reconsider Position in Afghanistan

Niels Annen: I question the sustainability of Operation Enduring Freedom. And I see deteriorating coordination between ISAF and OEF and asks whether it is time to choose between the two.

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June 25, 2007 | EU Battlegroups March Europe Toward Common Defense

Michael John Williams: The EU Battlegroups, though small, are a step in the right direction. The United States can and should play a role in promoting further advancement of European expeditionary capability.

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June 21, 2007 | Pakistan Must Seek Unity in the Face of Extremism

Anatol Lieven: The political stakes in Pakistan are the highest in 40 years. It is time to create a new, firmer and more institutionalized civilian-military relationship.

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June 15, 2007 | Afghanistan: How the EU Could Do More

Memo 1: Members of the Atlantic Community commented on the appropriate role for the EU in Afghanistan.

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June 4, 2007 | Withdrawing German Troops Could Destabilize Northern Afghanistan

Karsten Voigt: Shifting German troops out of the north of Afghanistan would be detrimental to the country. The troops should stay with their original mission, as they are providing significant support to the allied forces.

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May 14, 2007 | The EU Can and Should Do More in Afghanistan

Julianne Smith: I want the EU to take a stronger role in Afghanistan. The EU should act as a coordinating body for the reconstruction and development of the country. This would also strengthen Europe’s standing with its partners.

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April 23, 2007 | Germany's Open-Ended Commitment to Afghanistan

Karsten Voigt: I cannot foresee an end to the German and Allied commitment in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban pose a threat to the country’s stability. We cannot allow pro-terrorist groups to take over, and that good governance is a priority.

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Global Must Read Articles

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 well underway: Afghani police and troops are leading 80% of the operations and 85% of their own training. ++ ISAF will focus less on combat and more on support. ++ The

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October 11, 2012 | Failed Attempts to Curb Taliban's IED Campaign

Although the latest string of “green-on-blue” attacks is becoming the new face of war in Afghanistan, the older face, IEDs, still account for 59% of US casualties. ++ The US military has taken two contradictory approaches: investing in high-tech solutions to detect IEDs (pressuring the Taliban to produce more instead); having more dismounted patrols so as to build rapport with the locals

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September 12, 2012 | Another Wrong Move in Aghanistan

The US decision to designate the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network a terrorist organization will increase tensions in Afghanistan. ++ To suggest that they are enemies ignores their history of pragmatism and cooperation with Western officials. ++ US policy in Afghanistan, based on the ideology of the war on terror, has so far largely been miscalculated and misguided. ++ Blacklisting the

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August 9, 2012 | A New Approach to Decreasing Drug-related Violence

Policies put in place to reduce violence stemming from organized drugs, either by legalizing or suppressing drug flows, are ineffective. ++ Though many believe legalization will mitigate financial loses from organized crime, thus reducing drugs, smuggling will still persist in less robust states that suffer from ineffective law enforcement. ++ What is needed instead, is for states to strengthen

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May 23, 2012 | Mali, a Dismal Echo of Afghanistan

Although Afghanistan remains a hotbed of terrorist activity, NATO will quit the country by 2014. ++ This marks an end to a tragic chapter in the Alliance’s history. ++ But little attention has been focused on Mali which suffered a coup just two months ago, resulting in the practice of harsh sharia law and the raising of al-Qaeda flags over buildings. ++ Fighting between Islamist and Nationalist

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May 18, 2012 | NATO Summit: Looking Beyond Afghanistan

The NATO summit in Chicago needs to be about more than just Afghanistan. ++ The Alliance must also respond to defense cuts, troubled relations with Russia, and the lessons from Libya. ++ There are three main areas for action. ++ First, NATO must help create the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. ++ Second, the summit is an opportunity for the Alliance to reassure Russia on missile

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May 10, 2012 | A Still-Strong Alliance

This essay examines transatlantic relationships over the past two decades and the reasons behind why the Western alliance has been able to survive despite predictions of demise. Particular emphasis is given to what the skeptics got right and what they got wrong, including Robert Kagan’s paper entitled “Power and Weakness.” Attention is also given to a new challenge confronting the Atlantic

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April 30, 2012 | Time to Leave Afghanistan

Any continued NATO presence in Afghanistan is doomed. ++ The Afghan government is corrupt. ++ The Taliban have not gone away. ++ Nearby countries like Pakistan, Iran, and India will continue to pursue their own interests in the area. ++ The recent agreement between the US and Afghan governments would see US commitment in some form extended to 2024. ++ Such long-term commitment is worthless. ++ A

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March 27, 2012 | How to Win the Afghan War

It is imperative for the US to support Afghanistan’s government. ++ American interests in the country have not changed: an abandoned Afghanistan threatens US security. ++ Obama should not give in to calls for a troop drawdown, the effects of which still need to be studied. ++ The Strategic Partnership Agreement between the US and Afghan governments is essential to maintaining a long-term

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March 15, 2012 | Afghan War is Lost

There are no gains to be made by continuing the war in Afghanistan. ++ NATO’s counterinsurgency strategy relies on building trust with the local Afghans. ++ However, any bonds of trust are broken and most likely beyond repair. ++ Due to the recent killings and massacres, neither side can regard each other as reliable allies. ++ In addition, Karzai’s regime is too corrupt and unpopular to either

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January 20, 2012 | Speak with the Taliban

The Afghanistan conflict is moving into a complex period and the US must make greater diplomatic efforts. ++ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described US strategy as “fight, talk, and build.” ++ A bipartisan statement from US leaders must include all elements of society, including opposition groups, non-Taliban Pashtuns and ethnic minorities. ++ As part of a full diplomatic effort the

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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 largest ethnic group, sees marginalizing them. ++ In addition, such a policy would undermine peace talks with the Taliban, who (rightly) now regard them as

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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 they are on. ++ Concurrently, the US should keep its hand held out to the ruling Pakistani military; we are still willing to be allies, but you must get

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August 22, 2011 | "What Will Free Libya Look Like?"

The conflict in Libya has reached “zero hour”. ++ As rebels infiltrate Tripoli and celebrate Gaddafi’s imminent surrender, the “forward-thinking” Transitional National Council makes plans for post-conflict stabilization. ++ The most important task for the TNC is to ensure that all regions of Libya are adequately represented in the new government, whose seat could be moved

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August 18, 2011 | US Must Nurture its Power, Not Squander It

The US is no longer the world’s sole superpower, but it can prevent its relative decline from becoming absolute. ++ Rather than insisting on American preeminence by “vainly” pouring billions into foreign wars, the US should negotiate boundaries on its use of force, establish norms in the global competition for resources, curb the international arms trade, and “focus increased

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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 on topics ranging from Taiwan to human rights have led to a “structural ambivalence” between the two powers. ++ But cooperation, especially in the

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July 25, 2011 | US Must Solve Domestic Issues First

In a world of diverse threats and diffuse power, the US must turn to a policy of “restoration” to “rebalance the resources devoted to domestic challenges, as opposed to international ones, in favor of the former.” ++ While an active foreign policy should continue to invigorate alliances, the US must be more discriminating in its military interventions abroad. ++ America

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February 4, 2011 | Annette Heuser, Bertelsmann Foundation

Annette Heuser is executive director of the Bertelsmann Foundation Washington DC, a private, nonpartisan operating foundation, working to promote and strengthen transatlantic cooperation. Before launching the Bertelsman
Foundation in Washington DC, Ms. Heuser served in the corporate sector as Vice President of
International Relations at Bertelsmann AG in Guetersloh, Germany, and as the

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January 24, 2011 | EU Ignores Atrocities Because of Afghanistan

EU Commission President Barroso meets with Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov today. ++ Despite massacres and oppression carried out under the dictator’s name, the meeting is going ahead. ++ Moreover, the EU refuses to enact sanctions on the regime. ++ “So why is the EU less moral than Tesco or Walmart?” ++ The answer is Afghanistan, as 20% of supplies to NATO forces now transit through Uzbekistan. ++

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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 to Australian interests, both because of its commitment to human rights and its stake in obstructing a broader regional meltdown which otherwise would have

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November 8, 2010 | Accommodating Pakistan's Interest in Afghanistan

President Obama’s visit to India offers an opportunity for both the United States and India to revise and readjust their roles in Afghanistan. ++ The US has fuelled Pakistani paranoia by encouraging India to become the region’s major economic player in Afghanistan. ++ If India limits its profile inside Afghanistan, Pakistan might agree to stop harboring extremists. ++ The US should

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October 29, 2010 | Russia's Agenda in Afghanistan

Gorbachev recently gave the US valuable advice on the war in Afghanistan that Putin would rather not hear: “Victory is impossible”. ++ Yet, Russia’s post-Soviet leaders have long seen eye-to-eye with the west on Afghanistan. ++ In fact, they also consider the Taliban and al-Qaida to be greater regional and global threats than Iran. ++ Nevertheless, Medvedev and Putin will not send their own

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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 increased involvement in Afghanistan and President Karzai’s latest acknowledgement of this “relationship” are clear indications of this. ++ Is the

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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 council by president Karzai, indicate that something is brewing. ++ Nevertheless, there is little evidence to back these claims. ++ If the Taliban were serious for a

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October 22, 2010 | Britain Bows Out of the Security Game

Despite losing its status as an empire, Britain remained one of the world’s leading military powers during the 20th Century. ++ But the days of British military power appear to be ending, thanks to the cuts of the Strategic Defense Review, announced this week. ++ The fact that British defense capabilities are in decline means that more of the defense burden of the “Free World”

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October 8, 2010 | War on Terror Tactics Only Perpetuate Terrorism

Rarely has a stated war aim, in this case, the “cleansing” of Afghanistan and Pakistan of Taliban and Al-Qaeda influence, been missed so dramatically. ++ Combined NATO and CIA actions since 2001, in Pakistan in particular, have only served to perpetuate terrorism in the region. ++ For every dead terrorist, there is one willing to take their place. ++ Pakistan now risks becoming a

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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. ++ This is set against the backdrop of increasing Chinese influence in the country which is more positively perceived as “just wanting to do business”. ++

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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 victory in its counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. ++ The real competition is with the Taliban, who are deeply entrenched in the region and challenging the institutions built

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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. ++ In addition, issues like managing corruption and revising US political goals will be decisive factors in the coming years. ++ There is a  likelihood of a settlement which

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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 Commission — the election’s ultimate arbiter — has been re-established. ++ However, with a history of corruption and rampant

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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 comes in response to allied misgivings that Germany “is too passive in the face of a growing insurgency.” ++ With its first major military engagement abroad

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August 12, 2010 | Rules Needed to Curtail Collateral Damage

Existing international law does not adequately protect civilians during wartime. ++ Governments are not held accountable for collateral damage – clearly, an ethical tragedy. ++ Coalition forces are responsible for 35 percent of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. ++ New rules need to be adopted in order to fit the nature of today’s wars. ++ “As the Afghan war logs suggest, collateral

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August 10, 2010 | Wikileaks and the End Game in Afghanistan

The Wikileaks affair led to a particularly “vitriolic” reaction in Pakistan, where commentators cited it as evidence that “blood-thirsty Islamophobes [and] think tank irredentists [plan to] continue their blood-fest in …Afghanistan.” ++ The war has led to “a feeling of imperial revival.” ++ By targeting the Taliban, NATO has turned unwelcome foreigners

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August 6, 2010 | Disfigured Girl Now Face of Afghanistan Campaign

The cover of TIME magazine shows the face of an Afghan girl, whose abusive husband cut off her nose and ears, under the heading “what happens if we leave Afghanistan.” ++ Whether this represents “an appeal to the public’s conscience or amounts to emotional blackmail” is another question. ++ With July the bloodiest month yet, critics claim that TIME is using

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July 29, 2010 | Economic Opportunity Trumps Terrorism

Clearing insurgents is only the first step in ridding Afghanistan and Pakistan of terrorism. ++ If economic opportunities are not made available, local populations will continue to turn to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. ++ The current congressional bill on Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, which would reduce the U.S. tariff on textile exports from the two countries, must overcome disagreements over

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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 should not be put off indefinitely. ++ India and Pakistan should promote the peace process by cooperating more on the Afghan issue. ++ This would foster relations

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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 the return of businesses, core services, and governance in territories previously controlled by insurgents. ++ Empowering local government and maintaining an open

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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 questioned. ++ The United States faces “the impossibility of nation-building at the barrel of a gun in the graveyard of empires.” ++ The prolonged war in

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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 leaders are unable to refute and incapable of actualizing. ++ Global theories are intellectually appealing, but they do not win wars. ++ NATO must finally

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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 frenzied fighting.” ++ A recent peace offer to the Taliban also appears in a new light, for it seems to offer the insurgents the opportunity “to continue

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May 26, 2010 | Bundeswehr: Fighting Cuts, Fearing Blood

The Bundeswehr is appealing to the Chancellor to reconsider proposed massive budget cuts. The proposed reductions are certain to undercut the military’s ability to conduct operations abroad properly. ++ Less resources in the field will mean that more men are put at risk. ++ Politics in hard times ought not to be reduced to the slogan: “Better blood than money.” ++ Amid escalating violence

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May 21, 2010 | Mixed Reviews from Afghanistan's Might-Have-Been

Former Afghan president Abdullah Abdullah stated in a recent interview that efforts to reintegrate the Taliban into Afghan political live are “idealistic”, he then also added that the worst-case scenario for Afghanistan would be a premature withdrawal and that this could harm stability. ++ Needed from Washington is a firm commitment and consistency of message, “Consistency of messages in

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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, a failure in Afghanistan could destabilize Pakistan and stretch an already taxed Nato too thin. ++ The future of Nato itself is “at risk in

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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 force that could in time assume responsibility for protecting their country so the Americans and NATO allies could go home.”++ NATO has been reluctant to

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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 war.++ Parliament is likely to follow suit: “…with the public growing ever more skeptical, old political frontlines could start to reappear.” ++ Merkel

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March 3, 2010 | US-Europe: the Winning Losers' Partnership

The anti-Europe discourse is fashionable again these days in American tribunes. ++ “Pacifist Europe” progressively withdrawing its commitment from NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan fuels scepticism towards the everlasting European partner. ++ In spite of this overall pessimistic tone, the Obama’s administration should publicly support the transatlantic partnership because the United States and

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January 15, 2010 | Jihad: Women Can Do It Too

The wife of last week’s CIA suicide bomber raises the topic of female Jihadi support. ++ Online dissemination of radical ideologies allows women to participate in jihad by overcoming religious dilemmas regarding their inherent inferior status in society. ++ “Writing is also a bomb:” online chat rooms offer platforms for communiqués and articles of fanatical expression. ++

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January 11, 2010 | Turn the Focus on Kashmir

The U.S. government has all but ignored the conflict in Kashmir and espoused a “hands off” approach on the issue. However, pressure to engage is increasing. After all, a resolution of the Kashmir conflict, which pits two nuclear powers against one another, is closely tied to failure or success in Afghanistan. It is therefore crucial not only to security in South Asia, but to U.S. national

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December 4, 2009 | "Iran Left Out in the Cold"

Apart from Pakistan, President Obama did not talk about the role of any other stakeholders in the region in his speech. ++ It was an unwise decision not to mention Iran, considering the role it has to play in tackling regional drug traffic. ++ Afghanistan’s narco-economy should be considered as important a problem as terrorism. ++ With the majority of the Afghan drug trade passing through Iran, a

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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 civilians. ++ Furthermore, between entrance and exit lies only a half-hearted anti-guerilla campaign. ++ The hope is to realize the same success in

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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 impact. ++ Despite pressure Obama cannot afford to reduce aid as a sanction as this would “delay the timing of a US withdrawal even further.” ++

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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 additional American and NATO troops, it is remarkable that Obama has requested yet another study. ++ “It is not enough for a president to be seen as having

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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 counterinsurgency strategy. ++ As long as doubts exist, NATO, Pakistan and Mr. Karzai will use this vacuum to hedge their bets. ++ “If Mr. Obama

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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 interest to justify an enlarged and prolonged nation-building effort in Afghanistan.” ++ Although withdrawal may create new threats, so will staying and a stronger America

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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 partner in Kabul is “puzzling”, as the administration did nothing to ensure that the vote was clean. ++ “Whatever the administration decides, it must

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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 tiny US military footprint bred a long-term disaster.” ++ The immense airpower used by ISAF forces has alienated the Afghan population leaving them hostile

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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 in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks directed at the US and allied troops. ++ Therefore, America should adopt a “new strategy of off-shore balancing,

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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 US and Afghan government need to make much greater efforts to wean Pashtun tribes away from the most radical Taliban factions.” ++ Considering the central

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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 alternatively, calling for a full-scale counter insurgency-war to take down the Taliban. ++ Obama should not seek the middle way as that would risk the worst of both worlds:

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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 war are underestimated. ++ Full-fledged anti-Americanism and regional powers such as Russia, China and Iran stepping in, are but two of the possible

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September 23, 2009 | Obama's Afghan Indecision

Obama looks to be uncertain if his grand strategy for Afghanistan will work. ++ Even though the US does not have vital interests in the Middle East it still has an obligation to stay until the end and support Kabul. ++ “Democrats have to realize that more time is needed, and Republicans must acknowledge that America’s combat commitment cannot be indefinite.” ++ “Defeat for

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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 intelligence officials are increasingly warning that Washington does not understand the determination of the opposition and the danger of

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August 20, 2009 | Why Afghans Need a Vote

The Taliban’s “don’t vote or we”ll blow you up” message aims to make the outcome of today’s election in Afghanistan appear illegitimate. ++ This is what the West is fighting against. ++ If not enough people have the courage to participate, the president’s right to rule might be put in doubt. ++ For the sake of Afghanistan’s future it is of crucial importance that the victor of the elections is

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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 power. ++ “‘They get the dollars, and we get the bullets,’ is the common refrain among Pashtuns critical of the government.” ++ To achieve

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July 30, 2009 | How to Win Afghanistan

If the western coalition wants to win the war in Afghanistan in the long term, they have to let the Afghans do their own fighting. ++ “The Taliban are Afghans, to be dealt with by Afghans” and the West “shouldn’t make this a NATO war, allowing the Afghans to stand back.” ++ To make the Afghans properly deal with the situation, local forces need to be built up even more. ++ To this end,

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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 not in your interest to [send] more young people to war, and to have more of your taxpayers’ money fund an occupation that keeps a gang of corrupt warlords and

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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 other countries. ++ “If counter-terror and Pakistan’s stability are our real concerns- as they ought to be-” then UK and US troops must concentrate on the real

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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 set up a coherent fighting strategy amongst different Taliban groups that aims to launch attacks on NATO. ++ Additionally, al-Qaeda will continue to

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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 minds that matter here are Pakistani ones.” ++ The Taliban was created by Pakistani military schemers to counter India; if these two solve their historical

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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 war will not be won with weapons, inadequacies such as “deficits in international coordination, unkept promises and rivalry among governments” must be addressed. ++ “There

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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 respect, empathy and support. ++ Finally, they must admit that wars are not won half-heartedly:  keeping the number of troops low increases the necessity for air

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June 22, 2009 | History Shows Abandoning Pakistan Not an Option

The US cannot abandon Pakistan and Afghanistan. ++ If the Taliban and al-Qaeda are allowed to triumph, their destabilizing alliance will spread. ++ To ensure that the forces of fanaticism are defeated, we have to succeed not only militarily but politically, economically and socially. ++ “The West, most notably the US, has been all too willing to dance with dictators in pursuit of perceived

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June 8, 2009 | Afghanistan's Future Depends on Pakistan

The road to more
security and stability in Afghanistan runs exclusively through Pakistan. Only
if the Pakistani leadership manages to avoid the collapse of political order
and the stem the march of the Taliban out of the northwest of the country will
peace in Afghanistan have a real chance. US President Obama and his foreign
policy team have finally realized this reality. Supporting the

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June 8, 2009 | NATO's Future Not Solely Dependent on Afghanistan

Since the end of the
Cold War there have been regular prognoses concerning the absolution of NATO.
In fact since then the Alliance has undergone scores of tests: Bosnia, Kosovo,
9/11, Iraq and most recently Afghanistan. In addition to these trials came the
eight years of the Bush administration, whose indifference toward consensus and
diplomacy had corrosive effects on NATO. However, the

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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 intolerance for differences in Islam. ++ Their genocide against the Hazara epitomizes their brutality. ++ Unlike other Muslim extremists, they lack

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May 15, 2009 | US Demands Pakistani Action Against Extremists

President Zardari thinks the Taliban is a monster created by Pakistan’s ISI and the CIA. ++ President Obama’s policy on South Asia is very different from that of his predecessors. ++ His focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan demonstrates their importance on stabilizing the region. ++ US monetary support is also dependent on Pakistan taking action against extremists. ++ The new approach is a

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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 support to enable a regional approach, is upset by two current difficulties: instable Pakistan, crucial to military success, is sceptical of cooperation, and there remains a lack

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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 against al-Qaeda- that remains crucial to the US and NATO security.++ 60 Nuclear war heads in reach of al-Qaeda underscore the importance of the conflict.++ European governments

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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 population will get worse, fuelling support for the fundamentalist insurgency that threatens the entire region”. ++ Aid must be increased and managed by the

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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 settle these conflicts.” ++ Efforts to stabilize Afghanistan will fail if Pakistan does not participate fully in the fight against terrorism. ++ The solution

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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, hopes and fears of the men and women of her country. She is concerned for the hundred thousand young Afghans with high school diplomas who may not have a place at universities in 2010,

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April 14, 2009 | Pakistan Needs India's Help to Defeat Taliban

The latest strategy to deal with the Taliban has drawn praise from NATO but the lack of infrastructure in Pakistan casts doubt on its chances of success. ++ Indians welcomed the announcement from Richard Holbrooke that India “is the absolutely critical leader in the region” in relation to its role in Afghanistan. ++ They also have a significant role to play in Islamabad. ++ The instability in

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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 different problems first: obtaining fresh supplies has recently become the Achilles’ heel of the international troops in Afghanistan. More and more often Taliban forces

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April 3, 2009 | Happy Birthday NATO!

On April 4 the Atlantic Alliance will celebrate its 60th birthday. ++ An apt occasion to review its tasks and raison d’etre with a changed décor and security challenges. ++ There are several issues to tackle.  ++ It is clear is that Article 5 should remain at the core of NATO and new tasks and memberships should only take place if accompanied by an effective increase in the security

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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 between the Muslim and Western communities is key, when fundamental human rights such as discrimination and violence against women are at stake we cannot close our eyes. ++

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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 instance that Pakistan is also part of the problem — and viewing it in more than solely military terms. ++ This is an important step towards victory in

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March 30, 2009 | Beware of the Bear!

The approaching G20 will also be the first meeting between President Medvedev and President Obama. ++ Recently, the US has shown increased willingness to reconstruct their relations with the Kremlin whose cooperation is much needed on the Afghan and Iraqi Dossiers. ++ Yet, the US ought to move with care; Russia is not only eager to maintain influence in its “near abroad,” in addition “Moscow also

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March 25, 2009 | The West Must Hold Its Nerve and Stay in Afghanistan

From the outside it may appear that the situation in Afghanistan is continuing to worsen. ++ US commanders are confident that they can shift the momentum in their favor. ++ This would be a result of increased resources.++There are still concerns that Western governments “will give up on the war before the counterinsurgency strategy can pay off.”++Time and effort is needed to sufficiently resource

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March 12, 2009 | Russia is Out Scheming Again

While a US victory in Afghanistan would benefit Russia in terms of controlling the spread of Islamists in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia needs to be prepared for potential failure. ++ Given that the potential of a Russian led military force is unlikely, the back up plan is to do it the “Chechnya” way; establish a “sphere of influence” in North Afghanistan given

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March 11, 2009 | Talks with the Taliban Possible in New US Approach

Sober assessment of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has prompted a recasting of policy from President Obama. ++ Reconciliation with moderate aspects of the Taliban should be considered. ++ The need exists to combine “force with talks” while also working toward economic development. ++ Peace with the Taliban must not mean that they are allowed to enforce extreme measures, such as the

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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 ought to be rethought in order to minimize the disadvantage. ++ Countries bordering Afghanistan plus the US, Britain and Russia should share intelligence to

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March 3, 2009 | Financial Crisis Constricts US Defense Budget

Recently arrived in office,
US President Obama has
announced an increase of 17,000 American troops in Afghanistan. Experts consider at
least twice this amount necessary for progress. At the same time US Defense
Secretary Robert Gates is realizing that the Pentagon will not be spared from
the effects of the financial crisis. Indeed, the highest departmental cuts in
expenditure are looming in

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February 27, 2009 | Don't Ignore History

Faced with a choice between staying and winning or withdrawing and ending the war in Vietnam, Nixon chose the former. ++ The outcome of his policy was complete failure. ++ Obama is now faced with a similar decision. ++ In choosing an exit policy for Iraq and deciding upon future policy in Afghanistan he should let history carry the day. ++ In this way he will avoid making Nixon’s mistakes

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February 26, 2009 | Understanding the Afghan Challenge

The deployment of an additional 17,000 US troops in Afghanistan is a welcome response to the enduring threat of the Taliban. ++ Military might alone, however, is no solution: “defeating the insurgency means understanding it.” ++ State-building and incentives to deter opportunistic insurgents are needed. ++ Pakistani talebanization must also be urgently addressed and the government’s

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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 multilateralism outweighs the benefits. ++ Caught in an unprecedented economic tempest, the European partners will be forced to concentrate on domestic matters instead of sending

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February 11, 2009 | Obama Lays Down Demands For Germany

The Munich Security Conference revealed to Germany the price it will have to pay if it wants to be America’s dear friend: increased troop deployment in Afghanistan and a preparedness to stand by the US if Iran remains uncooperative. ++ But while the US is extending the hand of cooperation to Germany, the latter seems nostalgic for the “era before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

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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. ++ Enlarging its responsibilities should be the key priority of the coalition: the linguistic and ethnic challenges of Afghanistan can be far better overcome by

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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 regional strategy, increased civilian capacity and improved cooperation with allies. ++ Add Afghani hatred for Taliban-imposed tyranny and poverty and Obama’s

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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 and stockpiling of poppy seeds. A decline in poppy cultivated areas is expected for this year. James Townsend, UN advisor in Afghanistan, sees this a unique chance: strengthened

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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 alternatives; considering Russia as a substitute would require the US “to pledge that it will respect the Russian sphere of influence in the former USSR,” a guarantee Obama is

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January 28, 2009 | "Obama the Imperialist"

Barack Obama is revealing himself to be a foreign policy hawk. ++ After just one week, his stance on Sudan, Pakistan and Gaza shows bellicosity. ++ To pursue such a stance, he will need the support of the pro-war left, “voracious defenders” of a 21st C brand of liberal imperialism. ++ In spite of the Iraq catastrophe, humanitarian intervention in Darfur and escalation in Afghanistan

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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 the success of any new deployments in the region. ++ In the midst of the financial crisis and with firm evidence that the US commitment in Afghanistan contributes to the

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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 must acknowledge that it is losing economic decision-making power. ++ China can help to stabilize Afghanistan as it has close economic relations with the country.

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December 18, 2008 | NATO Must Find Political Voice

NATO has become “a military alliance without any political clout” and is in the midst of an identity crisis. ++ The campaign in Afghanistan is suffering because of NATO’s lack of a political voice and a lack of cohesion between Brits and Americans ++ Its vacillation over granting MAPs to Georgia and Ukraine for fear of upsetting Russia is further evidence of its

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December 18, 2008 | It's Time for Japan to Pull Its Weight

“Japan’s near-total opposition to participating in its allies’ military struggles is no longer defensible.” ++ Having made an “easy transition to democracy” after World War Two and now enjoying economic success and stability, Japan has no justification for shying away from the same responsibilities as its counterparts. ++ “Robust Japanese

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December 18, 2008 | Obama Must Take War On Terror to Pakistan

Two attacks against US and NATO convoys near Peshawar in Pakistan have taken place in the last week. ++ The Pakistani army appears to be testing Obama’s will. ++The US and NATO must take adequate steps to respond to these incidents. ++ It is an opportunity for them to acknowledge that the recent attacks in Mumbai were of global proportions and that it was a major mistake to fight the war

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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. ++ A top official has called the UN’s support “wholly inadequate.” ++ Meanwhile, the Taliban are “winning the information war.” ++ As NATO screams for more

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December 5, 2008 | "Unilateral Germany Threatens to Weaken Europe"

Germany’s increasingly unilateral foreign policies are causing unrest within the EU and Atlantic alliance. ++ The US, UK and France are frustrated by Berlin’s reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran as well as its limited efforts in Afghanistan. ++ The impending election is a partial explanation for this refusal to engage in bold policies. ++ The generational shift means that

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November 27, 2008 | Major Geopolitical Consequencs of Mumbai Attacks

Assuming Islamist militant groups planned the Mumbai attacks, India’s government will have little choice but to blame Pakistan and would loose domestic credibility if it does not retaliate. ++ This will have massive geopolitical consequences for the US. ++ Unless Pakistan takes immediate steps to suppress Islamist extremists, India and the US will threaten action. ++ Such pressure could

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November 25, 2008 | Too Much of a Good Thing is Disaster in Afghanistan

Terrorism is not the key strategic threat facing the US and Obama’s focus on Afghanistan is misguided. ++ NATO’s overemphasis in 2005 destroyed the stable situation of 2004 and the more focus Afghanistan gets now, the harder it will fall after an inevitable withdrawal. ++ Troop increases distract attention from other pressing issues: monetary aid is wasteful and counterproductive,

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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 lesson from Iraq it is that “foreign expeditions undertaken in a spirit of jingoist revenge, with a crazed optimism and no strategic plan,

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November 19, 2008 | Flight Paths out of Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been at war for almost 30 years. ++ The possibility of US exit strategies hovers on the horizon but winning the war would require carpet-bombing of southern Afghanistan. ++ Many Afghans hostile to the Taliban still support the resistance. ++ The British ambassador to Kabul considers the war lost. ++ General Petraeus will not be able to work miracles in Afghanistan. ++ The main

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November 18, 2008 | Hard Road Ahead for Obama

Obama is going to have a very hard time fulfilling his campaign promises. ++ The heavy financial burden of the market bailout will slow his progress, especially since his tax policy proposals don’t seem to even cover his planned health-care reforms. ++ Obama’s preference for negotiation and economic sanctions might not get results with Iran and N. Korea and Israel’s upcoming

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November 14, 2008 | Overwhelming Numbers: Security in Afghanistan

Obama’s proposed “mini-surge” in Afghanistan of some 15,00 troops will not provide enough personnel for the job. ++ Iraq, a smaller country than Afghanistan, required 700,000 soldiers and security forces; there are only 200,000 in Afghanistan. ++ Robert Gates will aid the Afghans in doubling their military size to 200,000, yet more will eventually be needed. ++ Investing American money, beyond

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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 also to train security forces, yet “our own security toolbox must be equipped with more than just hammers.” ++ Coordination with EU, NGOs and Afghan government is needed,

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November 12, 2008 | India Needs Separate Deals with Washington, Islamabad

Indian elites are showing insecurity over India’s role with relation to Washington. ++ That Obama is courting Islamabad for support in Afghanistan shouldn’t be cause for worry. ++ The lack of criticism of US military action in Syria from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is a sign of weakness; confidence is required. ++ India’s response to Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria mustn’t be determined

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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 administrator for the United Nations Human Settlement Program (2003 - 2004), as a program officer and advisor for the United Nations Development Program (2004 - 2007), and is

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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 are being asked to pick up the political tab for America’s failed policy in Afghanistan.” ++ If Obama wants India to cooperate he should

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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 objectives. ++ Due to the complex global conflict, a solution cannot be reached without a “regional grand bargain,” which must include a comprehensive

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November 6, 2008 | War on Terror is Over

Obama must fulfill his promises of withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and those of diplomacy with Iran. ++ He must close Guantánamo and declare the war on terror is over, realizing that terrorism is a technique, not an ideology. ++ Talks, not air strikes, should take place in Afghanistan. ++ Obama’s plan for “residual forces” in Iraq should be abandoned for a total

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November 5, 2008 | Pre-Emptive Strike Doctrine Abysmal Failure

19 US missile attacks since September on suspected terrorists are unlikely to win any hearts and minds, will promote ill will, and will do little to dry “the pond that breeds the mosquitoes.” ++ Michael Chertoff’s plea, backed by Robert Gates, for international law codifying the legality of pre-emptive strikes against countries “harboring a potential terrorist threat” is only

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October 29, 2008 | Talks with Taliban Are Productive and Plausible

NATO countries disagree about the floundering mission in Afghanistan, but it is obvious the hardwearing Taliban cannot be crushed by military means alone. ++ More troops would not help keep control in rural areas, where the insurgency is strong. ++ This would prolong the use of air-to-ground bombing to target high-ranking insurgents, resulting in high numbers of civilian casualties. ++ Because

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October 28, 2008 | Afghanistan: More Than Troops

Sending more troops to Afghanistan will not solve the country’s many deep-rooted problems. ++ A larger military presence could alienate the local population. ++ Iraq should have taught us that more troops don’t necessarily mean more security, as foreign troops often fan the flames of insurgency. ++ Afghanistan requires diplomacy and regional cooperation (including China and Saudi Arabia); it must

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October 23, 2008 | US Must Rethink its Approach to Iran

The financial crisis has dominated the US election campaign, marginalizing foreign policy. ++ But it is foreign relations, and especially ties with Iran, that will be at the top of the next president’s agenda. ++ This is not only about Iran’s nuclear capacity; stability of Iraq and Afghanistan, peace in Lebanon and ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are all inconceivable without

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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 is a cascading opinion among US allies that this war cannot be won. ++ The Afghans have suffered enough and the US simply cannot afford an open-ended war. ++ Sometimes a war

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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 should help the Afghan army defend its government - if it’s willing. ++ A civil war could possibly be a key step before being able to reach any kind of agreement

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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, but the Taliban are still the major political force for the Pashtuns constituting 40% of the people. ++ Foreign forces are fighting Pashtun

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October 8, 2008 | "Building a Stronger US-India Friendship"

The US Congress has approved a deal that offers India access to American nuclear fuel and technology in exchange for safeguards on India’s nuclear program.++ India considers the US the key to great power status. ++ The US views India as essential for solving international challenges. ++ The next administration must improve cooperation that “reflects the shared principles, shared

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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 ISAF as a reconstruction and OEF as a war mission has to end. ++ Financial resources have to be reorganized; too much is wasted due to mismanagement. ++

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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, no “Sons of Afghanistan,” and the proposed surge would not compare with Iraq’s. ++ Most importantly, Afghans want peace at “any cost, even

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October 6, 2008 | McCain Strong, Obama Weak

Osama Bin Laden called Iraq the “central front” in his fight against the US - he was right. ++ Obama/Biden only focus on the past; they still think invading Iraq was a mistake, a distraction from Afghanistan. ++ Their obsession misses the point: “The essence of being a good commander in chief is appreciating the connections among these theaters.” ++ FDR fought the Nazi’s before assailing Japan,

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October 3, 2008 | The Fog of War, The Fog of Memory

US incursions into Cambodia, which led to its destabilization and the rise of the Khmer Rouge, should be remembered. ++ The same mistake is being made in Pakistan, where the dangers are far greater. ++ Undermining Pakistan does not help Afghanistan. ++ A new soft power approach is needed, as “Afghanistan cannot be transformed along Western lines” - a major factor, along with increased bombing

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October 2, 2008 | Pakistani Intelligence Battles Internal Extremism

Pakistan can no longer play its “dangerous double-game”: accepting money form the US while also supporting the Taliban and other extremists. ++ General Kayani has appointed a new spy chief, Lt. Gen Ahmed Shuja, who must work to clean up the intelligence service, root out corrupt officials, and cut ties to extremists that threaten Pakistan’s own fragile democracy. ++ American officials claim that

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October 2, 2008 | Economic Crisis Provides Cover for Military Blunders

By odd coincidence, or perhaps providence, $700bn is roughly the same amount of money squandered on Bush’s “preposterous war in Iraq.” ++ Ironically, the greatest economic crises since the great depression means Obama and McCain won’t have to discuss the “greatest military crisis in America’s history since Vietnam.” ++ This has provided the cover for a strange narrative developing in the US:

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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 discerning voters.” ++ Catching Bin Laden, sending more troops to Afghanistan, and unconditional support for Georgia are all calls from the neocon playbook.

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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 administration admits - to Afghanistan is “too few, too late, too slow.” ++ The British were unable to control Afghanistan in the 19th century, the Russians in

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September 22, 2008 | Pakistan: "Running Out of Time"

President Bush’s decision to allow US military operations within Pakistan shows how desperate the situation is becoming. ++ But, if the Taliban and other extremists are to be permanently subdued, it must be done by Pakistan itself. ++ The US must convince Pakistan that the fight against extremism is their fight, not just America’s; Pakistan’s leaders must persuade their citizens of the same. ++

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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 microcosm of Afghanistan. ++ ISAF is facing a new, resilient Taliban, drawn from diverse sources. ++ A military surge is needed to quell restive regions,

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September 15, 2008 | US Attacks in Pakistan Must Continue

In July President Bush decided to increase attacks by US forces against the Taliban in tribal areas. ++ This increase is in response to the Taliban’s growing strength in Pakistan, more attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan, and an increase in terrorist threats. ++ The US must find a way to balance its relations with President Zardari of Pakistan, and also continue its attacks against the Taliban

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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. ++ Therefore, the announcement to conduct military maneuvers with Kazakhstan could be a sign that Russia is deciding to take responsibility there. ++ The US was not able

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September 8, 2008 | NATO Can't Win the War in Afghanistan, Afghans Can

The war in Afghanistan stands at a critical juncture; the Taliban-led insurgency is gaining in effectiveness and influence. ++ The US troop surge planned to counter this threat is no remedy in itself. ++ NATO should develop a national reconciliation program which would bring ex-Taliban moderates into politics. ++ It is also crucial that the number of Afghan soldiers doubles, their salaries rise,

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August 27, 2008 | US Should Take the War on Terror into Pakistan

The US has to realize that it cannot fight terrorism in Afghanistan successfully without expanding the war on terror into Pakistan. ++ The US should revitalise the coalition of the willing, enhance the cooperation with the Afghan and Pakistani armies, and establish a military bases on Pakistani soil. ++ Furthermore, a supreme commander, with Afghan and Pakistani deputies, should be appointed to

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August 22, 2008 | NATO Is Losing in Afghanistan

Instead of demonstrating the noble character of NATO, the so called “good war” in Afghanistan is running out of control. ++ The death toll is rising inexorably, the security situation for aid agencies and women deteriorates and the local population is turning more and more against the Alliance. ++ The only way to resolve the conflict is to withdraw the foreign troops and start negotiating a

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August 20, 2008 | NATO Needs to Evolve

NATO will be 60 next year - a retirement age for most under its command. ++ If it does not want to become redundant it needs to rethink its structure and “streamline its command and control systems in conflict zones.” ++ NATO officials must decide if they should work towards a strong EU defence capability. ++ Georgia and Ukraine are on their way to membership, but there is still a need for the

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August 7, 2008 | Media Distorts our Perception of Afghanistan

The war on terror has been an utter fiasco: before the US troops arrived in 2001 Afghanistan was much more peaceful and stable, now the insurgency has spread all over the country, become multi-ethnic and more robust. ++ American claims of spreading democracy lie buried beneath the hineous crimes perpetrated by its soldiers – this might “culminate in a violent insurgency.“ ++

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August 5, 2008 | Only UN Can Bring Peace to Iraq and Afghanistan

The recent escalation of violence in Afghanistan and the calls to divert the US troops from Iraq make the question of ending these long and costly wars even more urgent. ++ There is only one organisation that can provide the leadership necessary to defeat the insurgencies and bring peace and stability to both countries: the UN. ++ US and its allies can never achieve these goals alone. ++ Only the

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August 5, 2008 | Opium Trade Finances Extremism in Afghanistan

The Taliban are the most prominent security threat in Afghanistan, but they are not the only one we should worry about. ++ Over the last few years Afghanistan has become a narco-state: it supplies 93 percent of the world’s heroin and drug trade accounts for a half of the country’s GDP. ++ Afghan opium not only floods European market; it undermines the government in Kabul and finances

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July 23, 2008 | Al-Qaeda has Found a Safe Haven in Pakistan

Even though it is Afghanistan that is the main security threat to the US, the road to improvement in that part of the world starts in Pakistan. ++ Al-Qaeda has found a safe haven in Pakistan’s lawless region near the Afghan border, where it has regrouped and reached pre-9/11 strength. ++ The critical role Pakistan plays in security policy has been recognized by Washington; last week Congress

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July 21, 2008 | How to Save Karzai

There is a chorus of America’s closest allies who criticize Karzai because he is not making progress in his fight against militants and corruption in his own government. ++ But he is still the best candidate for the 2009 presidential elections, because he is Pashtun, retains broad multiethnic support, and is Afghanistan’s most popular leader. ++ Karzai needs Western assistance to

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July 16, 2008 | Afghans Want a Peace Deal, not Force

Even if the international military presence has been expanding rapidly in Afghanistan, the country recently experienced one of its bloodiest weeks. ++ A suicide bomber struck the Indian embassy in the capital and killed 41 people. ++ US forces bombed a wedding party causing the death of 47 civilians. ++ The issue of civilian deaths has crystallised anger towards the international community. ++

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July 8, 2008 | Iraq: Asking the Right Questions to Find the Answers

The resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda demonstrates that the war in Iraq is dangerously diverting attention from the “war of necessity” in Afghanistan. ++ Rather than inflexibly planning to stay on or leave Iraq, candidates should ask whether “Washington would have more influence if it completely withdrew or negotiated a slower drawdown with the Iraqis.” ++ The chances chaos in Iraq could

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July 8, 2008 | We Can Thank the US for Failure in Afghanistan

The US failed to capitalize on its initial military success in Afghanistan and what seemed to be a finished matter has now redeveloped into a serious threat. ++ “America has only itself to blame” for the current situation. ++ It was distracted with problems in Iraq, failed to eliminate al-Qaeda, and gave insurgents the opportunity to regroup in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas within

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July 1, 2008 | NATO Burden-Sharing: Not a Lost Cause

Rather than focusing on force levels, debates about burden-sharing within NATO should look at “defense transformation, operations, and the wider context of the international community’s efforts.” ++ While burden-sharing faces many challenges, more equality is possible through common funding, “transformation efforts to increase the pool of usable and deployable forces,” and increased multinational

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June 9, 2008 | Pakistan Does Not Fight Al-Qaeda

The Pakistani Army no longer fights the counterinsurgency war on their western border. ++ Instead Pakistani troops are deployed at the border to India, where 80% of US aid since 9/11 has been used, although given to fight the Taliban insurgency. ++ Civilian government and the attempt to improve governance and fight corruption in Pakistan and Afghanistan suffer by the withdrawal of troops from the

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June 2, 2008 | German Role in Afghanistan Overstated

Senior Afghan official, Mohammad Z. Wahdats is skeptical that there would be less stability in Afghanistan’s north without the Germans. ++ “For the issue of security, we don’t need them any more. We solve all our problems by ourselves.” ++ Wahdats also calls the German training of the Afghan National Police a failure ++ Germans overstate their engagement and effectiveness in the north and their

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May 19, 2008 | Afghanistan's Chance for a Better Economic Future

A 30-year lease of the Afghan copper deposits was sold to the China Metallurgical Group for $3 billion, making it the biggest foreign investment in Afghanistan’s history. ++ While critics argue Afghanistan is too ill-equipped to absorb such huge sums of money or to assess the social and environmental costs, most Afghans see the deal as their only chance for the future. ++ The Chinese are

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April 30, 2008 | Pakistani Democracy: A Beacon of Hope

Democratic governance in Pakistan is now a reality and the new government plans to act boldly and clearly in full awareness of the stakes of both success and failure. ++ The government will continue the war against terrorism not because of international pressure but because the eradication of terrorism is of primary importance to Pakistan. ++ The government intends to demonstrate to its “people

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April 29, 2008 | US Should Work With Pakistan's New Government

Musharraf and Bush’s failure to calm Pakistan’s lawless border enabled Al Qaeda to take refuge and gain strength. ++ Pakistanis now think the war is Washington’s because of the civilian casualties. ++ New government has adopted a different course. ++ US should develop a new military strategy, provide more non-military aid, and support the new government which has exceeded

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April 15, 2008 | Atlantic Alliance is an Alliance à la Carte

The traditional role of the state in Europe is diminished, therefore the capacity of EU governments to ask their people for sacrifices is reduced. ++ As the debate over using NATO forces in Afghanistan showed, EU governments are not able to live up to their obligations. ++ The European disillusionment with US policies has structural reasons and will continue after Bush’s presidency.

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April 7, 2008 | Empty Rhetoric Hides Cracks in the Alliance

Few members at the Bucharest Summit acted to present the strongest military alliance in the world as “purposeful, tough and cohesive.” ++ “The Atlantic Caucus” is left to shoulder the biggest burden in Afghanistan and fill the “Eurogap” left by partners who fail to take the Taliban insurgency seriously. ++ Now NATO also suffers from a credibility gap due to members’ lack of resolve regarding

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April 4, 2008 | Division Hampers Progress in Afghanistan

Troops in Afghanistan amount to a mere 10% of the contingent needed. ++ Quarrelling over NATO policy issues is preventing gathering the necessary means to effectively tackle terrorism and the Taliban. ++ While French, German and Greek troops are comfortably in the North “where the main threat they face is boredom,” their politicians are willing to take charge, but not to shoulder the war’s

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April 3, 2008 | Success in Afghanistan Requires Emphasis on Pakistan

The fate of NATO’s Afghanistan mission is strongly interlinked with developments in Pakistan. ++ Stability of both countries depends on an effective strategy to fight the Taliban/Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal border areas. ++ Taliban’s capabilities against coalition forces in Afghanistan are a threat. ++ Joint US-Afghan-Pakistan military intelligence centers and counter-terrorism operations are

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April 2, 2008 | Afghanistan at the Top of Bucharest Agenda

The first territorial war of NATO history in Afghanistan will be the hot topic at the Bucharest Summit. ++ NATO’s credibility seems tied to success in Afghanistan, therefore NATO governments should reach a consensus on new criteria for measuring success and failure. ++ Democratization and stabilization can be difficult to achieve and should not be measured on an all-or-nothing basis.

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March 28, 2008 | Building a Relationship With Iran

Iran and the US are not doomed to remain eternal enemies. ++ The two countries share profound strategic interests such as stabilizing Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; preventing the spread of Russian influence; and ensuring that Middle Eastern oil flow smoothly to Western markets. ++ A path towards comprehensive negotiations should be adopted as it is low cost and could yield extremely remarkable

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March 25, 2008 | Support Democracy and Hope in Pakistan

Taliban and al Qaeda members sheltered in Pakistan are serious threats to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. ++  Frontier Corps need to be improved and the US should be spending more than $150 million a year on the eastern front. ++ The US should clearly support reconciliation, getting the military out of politics, a new tribal area policy, and above all, democracy in Pakistan.

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March 24, 2008 | Success in Afghanistan Depends on Coordination

Most important task for the UN secretary general’s new special representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, is to form a relationship with President Karzai. ++ UN must be the primary coordinator for all organizations in Afghanistan. ++ Military and civilian efforts need to be coordinated, Afghanistan Compact needs to be supported, and Afghanistan’s neighbors need to help stabilize.

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March 19, 2008 | The End of NATO Would Leave the EU Powerless

With unilateral pull-outs of the Afghan mission threatening NATO’s existence, Europe’s security is also at risk. ++ EU members lack consensus both on matters of foreign policy and regarding a role for NATO in the future. ++ As a global security actor, the EU should bolster its military capabilities, drop its idealism, and commit itself to real objectives in Sudan, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.

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March 10, 2008 | International Women's Day in Afghanistan

March 8, International Women’s Day, illustrates the existence of non-Western feminist movements. ++ The new government of Afghanistan noted the day to some degree. ++ Religion is a significant feminist issue, opening the door to new interpretations of Islam. ++ Low literacy rates further the vulnerability of Afghan women. ++ The Afghan government should make bold moves to allow women full

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March 4, 2008 | Stronger Role for EU in Afghanistan

As Afghanistan moves from a transitional to a long-term development framework, an outside authority is needed to direct reconstruction. ++ The Afghan government cannot manage this alone. ++ The country is slipping back into terrorism reminiscent of Taliban rule. ++ The European Union would be the ideal candidate to coordinate between the government, international organisations and the NGOs.

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February 11, 2008 | Troops in Afghanistan: A Catch-22 for German Leaders

Jan Techau and Alexander Skiba of the German Council on Foreign Relations criticize the German Government’s rejection of the US request for more German combat forces in south Afghanistan. There are at least three reasons for Germany to re-evaluate its current position: stabilizing Afghanistan is in Germany’s national interest; strategically it makes sense for Germany to carry more of

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December 4, 2007 | Survey Shows Afghans are still Hopeful about the Future

An opinion poll commissioned by the BBC indicates that 54% of Afghans think things are going in the right direction, while 70% described their living conditions as good or very good. According to the poll of 1377 people from all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, 67% support or strongly support the presence of NATO forces.
Most striking was the apparent unpopularity of the Taliban – only 5% of

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November 30, 2007 | More US Marines for a 'Surge' in Afghanistan?

General James Conway of the US Marine Corps advocates the re-deployment of a large contingent of his men into Afghanistan, which would be extracted from the Marine presence in Iraq’s Anbar province, writes Gordon Lubald for the Christian Science Monitor.
In the absence of prospective troops from other countries, Gen. Conway argues it is necessary to improve the standing of the United States in

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November 13, 2007 | France's Return to NATO is Key for the Future Success of the Alliance

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reached out to the United States and is willing to bring France back into NATO, an offer America should seize, writes Dr. Ronald Asmus from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and member of the Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board.
In 1995 Presidents Chirac and Clinton came close to an agreement, but sudden political changes threw France back

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June 25, 2007 | Canada Assesses Pitfalls and Progress in Afghanistan

Norine MacDonald of the Senlis Council — a security, development and counternarcotics group – briefs the Canadian Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on Canada’s faltering contributions to Afghan development. Based on studies conducted in Kandahar, MacDonald outlines the “chilling” conditions of everyday life within the southern Afgan province. Lack of

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April 17, 2007 | Daalder and Goldgeier Call For A Global NATO

Today’s security threats demand global military capability, argue Ivo Daalder of Brookings and James Goldgeier of George Washington University. International alliances should incorporate new partners that can share the increasing demand for troops and meet the new requirements for a secure global community. NATO’s membership should be opened up beyond the original cold war mandate prescribed by

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April 12, 2007 | Rory Stewart Wonders About the West's Afghanistan Plan

NATO troops should adopt three main policies in Afghanistan, says Rory Stewart. First, they should develop a more considerate approach towards tribal communities in order to distinguish between friends and “real” enemies; second, they should concentrate on highly visible infrastructure projects to regain the population’s trust; third, development projects need to be launched (e.g. from UN

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April 12, 2007 | Aryn Baker on the Dangerous Rise of Islamist Power in Pakistan

Talibanistan, the tribal region of Pakistan which forms the border with Afghanistan, is seen by Time Asia correspondent Aryn Baker as the breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists and a hideaway for al-Qaeda leaders. The “Talibanization” of the borderlands has renewed doubts about Pakistani President Musharraf’s willingness to track down jihadists. Furthermore, the loss of support from

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January 19, 2009 | I like Morgan Sheeran's piece . It reflects...

January 19, 2009 | Secretary Hutton is right in identyfying...

January 18, 2009 | This struggle against IEDs is going on as this...

January 15, 2009 | To my mind, closing the border is completely...

January 10, 2009 | Here are my two cents for what their worth...

January 8, 2009 | The point regarding sophistication vs...

December 26, 2008 | Let us look at a few things in the business of...

December 18, 2008 | "[N]ational and inter-institutional rivalries...

December 2, 2008 | On the contrary; free and fair elections are...

December 2, 2008 | The question (terrorist or insurgent) is...

November 25, 2008 | Herr Lucke makes some good points, but Herr...

November 25, 2008 | I think Mr. Lucke's made two important points:...

November 23, 2008 | During the debate for the renewal of the...

November 4, 2008 | I want to second Herr Broschk's points. The...

October 28, 2008 | The first step in any dialogue related to...

October 27, 2008 | I agree with the fact that there should be no...

October 23, 2008 | NATO should be a defense organization to...

October 21, 2008 | A working summit of NATO defence ministers has...

October 20, 2008 | Milne reveals a particular political bent in...

October 17, 2008 | Sapideh and David, What would work in Iran...

October 15, 2008 | David, There has never been a dependable...

October 15, 2008 | Don't the Pashtuns comprise some 40% of the...

October 13, 2008 | The surge in Afghanistan must be a surge in...

October 10, 2008 | Bernhard, With all due respect, I must say...

October 7, 2008 | "The lack of long-term and substantial...

September 15, 2008 | The ideallistic approach that resonates in the...

September 7, 2008 | Don's comment made me think of Afghanistan....

August 29, 2008 | "Direct diplomacy" in this context is just a...

August 26, 2008 | Fischer is right, at least on the one hand....

April 30, 2008 | What I do mean in the previous comment about...

April 29, 2008 | To Timo and Benjamin: Chances are NATO will...

April 29, 2008 | Surely the picture isn't bright. But at which...

April 4, 2008 | Of course they can wait, but in the time they...

April 1, 2008 | Daniel Korski perceptively notes that several...

March 18, 2008 | Nikolas, I agree with you regarding the need...

February 14, 2008 | Dear Mr. Peter, I fully agree with your...

October 9, 2007 | Having read all the posts involved and the...

July 30, 2007 | Sadly Robert and Oliver both miss the point...

June 7, 2007 | In a way Voigt is contradicting himself here....

June 6, 2007 | First, I think it is important to note that...

April 13, 2007 | If anyone knows conditions on the ground, it's...


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Lydia  Karga
Lydia Karga
Member since
February 6, 2011


Should NATO intervene in Syria?



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