Ahmed Rashid, acclaimed author and Central Asia expert, warns that NATO is currently losing the war in Afghanistan for a variety of reasons: the Taliban have become a regional phenomenon; there has been an explosion in Taliban recruitment from multiple countries; the tactics of the Taliban have become more extreme; civilian agencies have become paralyzed; and drugs run rampant due to lack of agricultural investment.
Western strategy is ineffective, and transatlantic allies must change course. Mr. Rashid emphasizes that the solution to the crisis in Afghanistan needs to incorporate local actors. Along with India and the countries of Central Asia, Iran must play a critical role in any solution. Therefore, the United States cannot continue to exclude and ignore Iran: both countries need to talk, despite America's qualms to do so.
Watch our exclusive interview below with Ahmed Rashid emphasizing his critical remarks made during his keynote speech and the panel discussion at the Heinrich Böll Foundation's conference "Values and Interests in Foreign Policy." (4:23min)
Germany must deploy more troops to Afghanistan. However, these troops will be ineffective if they are not allowed to operate more forcefully. Sending more troops to Afghanistan who are restricted by present national caveats would be a waste.
Germany doesn't need to fight in southern Afghanistan, but must do much more in the North: stopping drug convoys, fighting the Taliban, strengthening local authorities, preventing crime, and mediating between local powers.
While an extended mandate could incite antagonistic public sentiment within Germany, Mr. Rashid advises the German government to do more to educate its citizenry about the importance of military involvement and what is at stake in Afghanistan.
Watch excerpts below from Ahmed Rashid’s keynote speech regarding Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan. (5:00min)
Ahmed Rashid is a journalist based in Lahore and author of several books, including New York Times bestseller, "Taliban" and his latest book, "Descent Into Chaos."
David Neil Lebhar holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Davidson College and is currently an editorial intern at atlantic-community.org.
Related materials from the Atlantic Community:
- Djörn Eversteijn: NATO and the Forgotten War
- Bernhard Lucke: It is Time to Withdraw from Afghanistan
- Reidar Visser: Obama and Biden: No Fundamental Change on Iraq Policy