Afghanistan: Are We Losing the Peace?

June 18, 2003

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

The United States successfully toppled the Taliban in the Afghan war, but it is in danger of losing the peace following the conclusion of that war. Without greater international support for the transitional government of President Hamid Karzai, security in Afghanistan will deteriorate further, prospects for economic reconstruction will dim, and Afghanistan will revert to warlord-dominated anarchy. This failure could gravely erode America’s credibility around the globe and mark a major defeat in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, warns this informative chairmen’s report.

Mahnaz Ispahani

Former Senior Fellow for South and West Asia

Dennis Kux

Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center, Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center

To prevent a return to anarchy, Washington needs to bolster the ability of Hamid Karzai’s ability to bring security and economic hope to the people of Afghanistan. The report makes three principal recommendations to achieve these goals: improve security by extending peacekeeping efforts beyond Kabul and accelerating development of the Afghan National Army; increase pressure on neighboring countries to stop their backing of warlords or pro-Taliban remnants; and provide at least $1 billion in reconstruction assistance for each of the next five years.

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Specific Task Force recommendations the United States should take to avoid failure in Afghanistan include: instructing U.S. forces to help implement the plan to demobilize, demilitarize, and reintegrate the regional militias, estimated at 100,000-strong; urging Pakistan to prevent pro-Taliban elements from using its territory for cross-border attacks; and making sure that U.S. aid programs match the priorities established by the Afghan government and are implemented under its aegis.

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Task Force Members

Task Force Members:

DAVID D. ARNOLD, Institute of International Education

HARRY G. BARNES JR., Asia Society

RAENU BAROD, Barger and Wolen LLP

BRUCE G. BLAIR, Center for Defense Information

JOHN E. CARBAUGH JR., John E. Carbaugh Jr. LCC

MAYA CHADDA, William Paterson University


LINCOLN C. CHEN, Harvard University

MICHAEL T. CLARK, U.S.-India Business Council

WILLIAM CLARK JR., Japan Society

STEPHEN PHILIP COHEN, Brookings Institution

W. BOWMAN CUTTER, Warburg Pincus

FLORENCE A. DAVIS, The Starr Foundation

DAVID B. H. DENOON, New York University

ROHIT M. DESAI, Desai Capital Management Inc.

LEWIS A. DUNN, Science Applications International Corporation


FRANCINE R. FRANKEL, University of Pennsylvania

BARRY D. GABERMAN, The Ford Foundation

R. MICHAEL GADBAW, General Electric Company

SUMIT GANGULY, Indiana University

LARRY P. GOODSON, U.S. Army War College

THOMAS GRAHAM, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories

VARTAN GREGORIAN, Carnegie Corporation of New York

ROBERT M. HATHAWAY, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

KAREN ELLIOT HOUSE, Dow Jones and Company, Inc.

KARL F. INDERFURTH, George Washington University

RODNEY JONES, Policy Architects International

FAROOQ KATHWARI, Kashmir Study Group

CHARLES R. KAYE, Warburg Pincus

MICHAEL KREPON, The Henry L. Stimson Center

BIRENDRA KUMAR, BGM Kumar Foundation

WINSTON LORD, International Rescue Committee

DAVID T. MCLAUGHLIN, The Aspen Institute

SREEDHAR MENON, Viteos Technologies Limited

JOHN MEROW, Sullivan and Cromwell LLP

JOYDEEP MUKHERJI, Standard and Poor’s

POLLY (MARY) NAYAK, Abraxas Corporation



ARVIND PANAGARIYA, University of Maryland

GEORGE PERKOVICH, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

DANIEL B. PONEMAN, Forum for International Policy

IMRAN RIFFAT, J.P. Morgan Investment Bank

PATRICIA L. ROSENFIELD, Carnegie Corporation of New York

BARNETT R. RUBIN, New York University

GEORGE RUPP, The International Rescue Committee

NAFIS SADIK, United Nations


HOWARD B. SCHAFFER, Georgetown University

TERESITA C. SCHAFFER, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

LAWRENCE SCHEINMAN, Monterey Institute of International Studies

JED SNYDER, CNA Corporation


T. N. SRINIVASAN, Yale University

S. FREDERICK STARR, SAIS Central Asia and Caucasus Institute

AJOY VACHHER, The Astor Group

ASHUTOSH VARSHNEY, University of Michigan

DAVID F. WOLF, Fremont Group

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