With the drawdown of US combat troops from Afghanistan after July 2011 and the planned transition of security to Afghan command by the end of 2014, what are the key priorities for US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
The White House annual policy review last December said that: ‘The core goal of the US strategy in the Afghanistan and Pakistan theatre remains to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al-Qaeda in the region and to prevent its return.’ This built upon US President Barack Obama’s West Point speech a year before in which he said: ‘Our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicentre of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda.’
To achieve its goals, what form will US military and civilian engagement in Afghanistan take in the future? To what extent will the US support attempts at reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership?
Prof Vali Nasr is Senior Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the US State Department. He is Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. From 2003-07 he was Professor and Chair of Research, Department of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and from 2007-09, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He has authored six books on political Islam, including, most recently, Meccanomics: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What it will do for our World.
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