More than 15 years after the United States overthrew the Taliban regime, the Trump administration inherited an Afghanistan still critically challenged by terrorism of international ramifications and by dangerous violent insurgency, debilitated by corruption and crime, and struggling with fractious domestic politics and difficult neighbors. Despite all these challenges, Afghanistan is holding on, with major cities in government hands and with at least a modicum of economic growth in recent months, and with political disputes still being handled primarily through raucous politics rather than civil warfare. But as Afghanistan stands on the cusp of another bloody fighting season and many governance challenges persist and the Afghan economy continues overall to struggle, the Trump administration is yet to announce its strategy in Afghanistan and assess U.S. interests in the country and the region.
On April 24, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings (21CSI) hosted a discussion on current security and political dynamics in Afghanistan, providing both Afghan and U.S. perspectives on Afghanistan’s recent developments and U.S. interests. The panel included His Excellency Hamdullah Mohib, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States, His Excellency Anwar ul-Haq, former minister of finance and of transportation and commerce of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and currently an opposition politician, and Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of 21CSI, moderated the discussion.
Following their remarks, the panel took questions from the audience.