In the weeks following Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, more than 4,000 complaints have been filed alleging polling irregularities, voter intimidation, and tabulation errors. While the election process had its challenges, many still view it as a success and a demonstration of growing democracy and progress amid ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. As the election’s outcome plays out, news of secret peace talks between President Hamid Karzai and Taliban leaders have surfaced and intensive fighting continues in the south of the country. What, then, does the election outcome and the weeks ahead mean for Afghanistan and the U.S. and NATO mission there?
On October 18, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion examining the Afghan election, the ongoing war effort, and the policy dilemmas they pose for the Obama administration. Panelists included Thomas Garrett, vice president for programs at the International Republican Institute; Gerard Russell, former senior political adviser to the United Nations mission in Afghanistan; Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy; and Brookings Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown.
Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the program, the panelists took audience questions.