Authors: Abdalle Ahmed, Spencer Ackerman, and David Smith
"What had been invisible to Sheikh and other residents of Barawe was the stealthy advance of navy Seal team six – the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan – in a speedboat towards the Somalian coastline before first light. The team consisted of about 20 Seals, according to leaked accounts, and their craft was flanked on the Indian Ocean by three small boats to provide back-up."
The answer is simple: 9/11. The most costly terrorist attack ever was carried out from Afghanistan. The United States showed bipartisan determination to bring the perpetrators to justice and—the part that explains our continuing engagement in Afghanistan—to prevent its soil from ever being used again to stage terrorist attacks.
A precipitous drawdown to 6,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 would cripple the U.S. counterterrorism mission and Afghan security forces, vastly increasing the risk of a Taliban takeover, says Max Boot.
Joshua Foust highlights the apprehensiveness of both presidential candidates to address the ongoing war in Afghanistan and what it means for raising public or political pressure to find a lasting solution.
The new U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement is a step forward as the Western troop drawdown clock ticks down, but Washington must provide more specific pledges for Afghanistan's security, says CFR's Max Boot.
The latest spate of violence in Afghanistan is unlikely to change the course of planned troop withdrawals, but should refocus efforts on bringing under control Pakistan-based militants, says CFR's Daniel Markey.
Following the attack on Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army sergeant, and the recent burning of Qurans by NATO soldiers, the United States' relationship with Afghanistan has come under sharp focus. Listen to CFR senior fellows Stephen Biddleand Max Bootdiscuss these events, the planned drawdown of U.S. troops by 2014, and the future of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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.