Afghanistan

Walk Away from the Taliban, Not Afghanistan

General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Retired) and Vance Serchuk speak with ISW Founder and President Dr. Kimberly Kagan on the dangers of the US deal with the Taliban.

General Jack Keane (US Army, Retired) Reflects on the 9/11 Attacks and the Ongoing War on Terror

General Keane (Ret.) recounts his experiences on the day of the 9/11 attack and gives his perspectives on the ensuing 19 years of war.

The Dangers of Disengagement: Gen. David H. Petraeus on Withdrawing US Troops from Afghanistan

Frederick W. Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, and General David H. Petraeus sit down to discuss the US-Taliban agreement.

Regional Actors Eye Threats and Opportunities in Taliban Takeover

The Taliban’s swift seizure of Kabul has altered key regional states’ calculus toward Afghanistan. Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey are weighing how to take advantage of the United States’ hurried withdrawal.

Afghanistan Partial Threat Assessment: February 23, 2016

Security in Afghanistan has been deteriorating since U.S. force levels dropped from a high of 100,000 in 2011 to the current force size of 9,800 they reached in June 2014.

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Overview

The Afghanistan Project at the Institute for the Study of War produces detailed publications on the changing security and political dynamics in Afghanistan. Research analysts document the pattern of enemy activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan; military operations by Coalition and Afghan forces; the implications of the drawdown of Surge forces; and the political, economic, and demographic dynamics underlying the conflict.

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Taliban Struggles to Contain Afghan National Resistance Front

The Taliban government is struggling to defeat the National Resistance Front (NRF), a growing anti-Taliban insurgency in northeastern Afghanistan. Taliban leaders appointed a new slate of military commanders to lead anti-NRF operations, indicating dissatisfaction with the previous commanders’ performance. Political and ethnic divisions are also likely undermining Taliban forces. Continued Taliban failures against the NRF could lead to the strengthening of the Haqqani Network within the Taliban’s military leadership.

Taliban Supreme Leader Uses Gathering of Religious Leaders to Consolidate Power

Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada leveraged a recent gathering of Taliban-aligned religious leaders to consolidate power and advance efforts to implement a hardline governance program. Akhundzada is taking on a more proactive role as the Taliban navigates internal tensions and faces continued attacks from the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (IS-KP).

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ISW in the News

What’s Missing From Obama’s Counterterrorism Strategy

Partnership can indeed be a component of an effective strategy for countering terrorism. But partnership requires effective partners. This missing ingredient in Mr. Obama’s strategy will be its downfall.

The Folly of Abandoning Afghanistan

If America's experience in Iraq offers any single, unambiguous lesson, it is the folly of just walking away. The United States must not repeat this mistake in Afghanistan. Isolation and disengagement have severely damaged American credibility and security, as can be seen most dramatically in Ukraine today.