The threat posed by the al-Qaeda-Taliban relationship is a crucial element in U.S. strategic planning in Afghanistan. Four experts explore the changing nature of these sometimes murky ties.
The 9/11 attacks on the United States catalyzed effective counterterrorism efforts worldwide and demonstrated the ongoing need for public resilience, says CFR President Richard Haass.
Initial U.S. successes in Afghanistan and Pakistan after 9/11 masked deeper problems that have beset Washington's effort to stabilize the "AfPak" theater, writes CFR's Daniel Markey.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, says his government views the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as a national priority in spite of the doubts of some American officials. He also takes issue with the notion that Pakistan is close to bankruptcy.
"Jihadists were already finding it hard to operate in North Africa before the Arab Spring of 2011. Since then their problems have become almost insurmountable: they thrive only in countries where Islamists are in prison, not where they are in the ascendant or contesting elections. As for Europe, the last attacks instigated by al-Qaida date back to Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. Jihadism looks less like a rising phenomenon in the north of Mali than a force in retreat. The French intervention may well give them purpose and greater coherence."
Teresita and Howard Schaffar review U.S. strategy options regarding Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.
This BBC News profile discusses the history of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The Economist analyzes the history of Waziristan and Pakistan's efforts to control it.
Scott Shane examines the Pashtunistan region, and its implications for American foreign policy in the near future, commenting that "Mr. Obama's surge depends a lot on the hearts and minds of the Pashtuns - and who seems a winner."
Fareed Zakaria argues that although the Pakistani military has pledged to fight the spread of the Taliban in the country, it has yet to sever its core relationship with the militants.
This International Crisis Group report examines the rise of militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has reiterated that his government does not provide safe haven to Taliban leaders waging war in Afghanistan. At a Council on Foreign Relations briefing he warned against linking the large ethnic Pashtun population in western Pakistan with Taliban extremists.
Max Boot says the death of Anwar al-Awlaki is a fleeting victory without stability in Yemen.
Joshua Kurlantzick says that as counterterrorism officials plot life for al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden, they would do well to look toward the Indonesian experience.
Max Boot says even with Osama bin Laden's death, it is too soon to disengage from Afghanistan.
Micah Zenko argues that given the importance of U.S. drone strikes against al-Qaeda, greater transparency regarding the operations is essential.
Max Boot discusses the implications of President Obama's troop strategy in Afghanistan
Steven Simon discusses the investigation into twenty Americans who are believed to have joined a militant Islamist group in Somalia.
Max Boot, Frederick Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan argue that more needs to be done in Afghanistan to develop a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
The authors assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
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The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
An authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help. More