Prospects for Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Throughout 2014, Afghanistan has been undergoing a number of complex and vital transitions. In September, the country completed the first transfer of power since 2002. However, its new coalition government remains fragile and continues to face a number of challenges. After months of delay, the new Afghan government signed critical security agreements with the United States and NATO, allowing foreign troops to remain in the country after the end of this year. Neighboring Pakistan, which plays a critical role in Afghanistan’s future security and stability, has itself experienced significant political turmoil over the past several months and still struggles to confront extremist groups that operate within its border regions. Stability is a goal not yet secured for either country or the region, even as Afghanistan and Pakistan remain crucial in the global fight against extremism and at the core of many U.S. interests. What’s more, U.S. policy toward both Afghanistan and Pakistan remains unclear at best.
On October 14, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted a discussion exploring the state of Afghanistan and Pakistan today, as well as the challenges ahead for both countries and U.S. policy in 2015. The panelists included Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown, who recently returned from a research trip to Afghanistan, and Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at Brookings and author of What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, moderated the discussion.
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Among those in the current US administration, President Macron is perceived to be a solid partner. Not only do Macron and President Trump have personal chemistry, which was seen by all during Trump’s trip to France last summer, but Macron’s decision to team with the US and UK in striking Syrian chemical weapons facilities recently demonstrated solidarity on a key security priority… Getting the United States to stick with the Iran nuclear accord will be Macron’s top priority during his visit to Washington but the prospects for a major breakthrough are unclear… It’s helpful that Macron and President Trump have personal rapport. It’s uncertain, however, if this will be enough to overcome the hardline posture Trump has taken towards Iran.