A Discussion on Afghanistan with Ambassador Ryan Crocker
On September 18, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, for a discussion on the state of the U.S. and NATO mission in Afghanistan. Crocker, who recently retired from the U.S. Foreign Service after a distinguished career, examined the state of Afghanistan’s leadership and military as the U.S. prepares to end its mission in 2014.
Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings and co-author of Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy (Brookings, 2012), as well as Toughing It Out in Afghanistan (Brookings, 2010) and Brookings’ Afghanistan Index, opened the event with a series of questions for Ambassador Crocker.
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Emerging Voices Network Reception with Gareth Bayley, U.K. Special Representative on Pakistan and Afghanistan
The ceasefire shows yet again the leverage the Taliban now has thanks to its recent attacks. What’s most interesting is that the ceasefire doesn’t apply to the Islamic State. Whereas the Taliban have primarily attacked security forces, the Islamic State’s violence has much been much less selective, and has killed far more civilians. The Taliban’s strategy appears to have paid off— there’s popular support for a ceasefire with the Taliban, but not for one with the Islamic State.
The attack on the interior ministry is just the latest in a long string of brazen and high profile attacks in Kabul this year. This winter the Taliban carried out an ambulance bombing that killed over 100, while the Islamic State killed over ten soldiers in an attack on an Afghan army base. Afghan security forces have long struggled with how to defeat the Taliban alone. Now that the Taliban are competing with the Islamic State for resources and recruits, the challenge has grown even more daunting—the two groups are now locked in a race to see who can launch bigger and more devastating attacks.