Pakistan’s current political crisis is only the latest challenge to Western efforts to help stabilize Afghanistan. Rising violence, the resurgent Taliban, overstretched U.S. and European forces, and a record opium crop have come together to raise serious questions about the future of the NATO mission. Public opinion and parliaments in key European countries are growing weary of the conflict as NATO allies debate whether military and political burdens are being appropriately shared. Many see NATO’s first-ever mission beyond Europe as a critical test of whether the alliance can meet its members’ 21st century security needs.
On November 13, the Brookings Institution hosted a discussion to analyze the current political and security situation in Afghanistan, as well as U.S. and European policies and options. Panelists included Rory Stewart, author of The Places in Between and CEO of the Kabul-based Turquoise Mountain Foundation; James Dobbins, former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan; Kori Schake, former director for Defense Strategy and Requirements on the National Security Council; and Peter Rudolf, head of the Americas research unit at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. Brookings Senior Fellow Philip Gordon moderated the panel discussion.