In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa & Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Biddle argues that short term success in Afghanistan is less important than the United States' ability to secure its long term interests beyond 2014.
"For decades the model for understanding PTSD has been 'fear conditioning': quite literally the lasting psychological ramifications of mortal terror. But a term now gaining wider acceptance is 'moral injury.' It represents a tectonic realignment, a shift from a focusing on the violence that has been done to a person in wartime toward his feelings about what he has done to others—or what he's failed to do for them."
"If patchy implementation of the laws that protect and empower women raises doubts of Kabul's commitment, women are as much, if not more concerned about the efforts, with international backing, to broker peace with the Taliban. They have been sidelined in a process that will determine their future and that of their country."
The Taliban believes it will have the upper hand in potential negotiations with the Afghan government and its partner in Washington, but it remains unclear what the insurgent group's goals are in any settlement, says expert Amin Tarzi.
"While the United States may want to shed its Afghanistan obligations -- including its commitment to supporting the Afghan economy -- those who care about Afghanistan's security, and America's, will want to make certain the green shoots get tended," writes Gayle Tzemach-Lemmon
China has diverse interests in Afghanistan, including extracting resources and promoting regional stability. But China's future policy toward Afghanistan will largely depend on whether there is a valid election and credible government in Kabul after the planned U.S. drawdown in 2014.
Asked by Jessica Brandt, from Harvard Kennedy School
The Afghan civil war of the 1990s was partly fueled by longstanding Indo-Pakistani rivalry, with different Afghan factions receiving support from different regional neighbors. The United States has a clear interest in avoiding a similar outcome as it disengages from the current war in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, promoting Indo-Pakistani dialogue on Afghanistan will not be easy.
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.
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