Nearly seven years after the United States followed Osama bin Laden into Afghanistan, a combination of government instability, a thriving drug economy, a rebounding Taliban insurgency, and a single-minded focus on the war in Iraq have fostered increasing violence and instability not just in that country, but across the border in Pakistan, as well as greater Central Asia.
On October 7, the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World was pleased to host Ahmed Rashid, journalist and best-selling author of the new book, Descent Into Chaos. A correspondent for both the Far Eastern Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph and author of Taliban and Jihad, Rashid argued that Afghanistan presents a greater security risk to the international community than the Middle East. He described in detail how the failure of the Afghan government and the U.S. military to defeat the Taliban has sown widespread political and economic discontent from Iran to Kashmir. He urged the United States, as well as Europe, to correct its failed strategy in the region and invest more time and resources into rebuilding the war-torn nation.