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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Rather than serving as a unifying diplomatic exercise to highlight Iran’s troubling regional activities, the [Warsaw] summit primarily highlighted America’s diplomatic isolation from its European allies.