American forces went into Afghanistan soon after 9/11 to eliminate Al-Qaeda’s sanctuary provided by the brutal Taliban regime. Fifteen years later, the Taliban are still able to conduct terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, often from safe havens across the border in Pakistan, and the region now hosts Jihadist groups affiliated with both Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
As the Trump Administration conducts a policy review about how best to break the stalemate in Afghanistan, it must weigh a wide and complicated array of options between two highly fraught extremes: outright withdrawal from Afghanistan and a continuation of business-as-usual with Pakistan, or military escalation in Afghanistan coupled with a designation of Pakistan as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
Decisions made about policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan will have a crucial impact on the outcome of the global war on terrorism and Islamist extremism.
Hudson Institute’s South Asia Program hosted a discussion about U.S. options in Afghanistan and Pakistan with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, and Ambassador Robin Raphel, former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
The discussion was moderated by Amb Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and Director, South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute.