War State, Trauma State: Why Afghanistan Remains Stuck in Conflict

Afghans have endured 40 years of uninterrupted war, and there is no plausible argument that war will soon end. In all the debate about troop surges or maintaining the status quo, two critical questions rarely get asked: Why have Afghans been at war for so long, and why can’t the United States and the international community end it? Some of the obvious answers include an incompetent Afghan government and security force, rebel sanctuaries in the mountains and in Pakistan, and the lucrative and illicit opium trade. Almost entirely ignored, however, is the role played by the decades of...

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Afghanistan’s Biggest Obstacle is Its Government

During his unannounced visit to Afghanistan earlier this month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered misguided praise for the Afghan government as he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment there. He lauded the country for having “come quite a distance already in terms of creating … a much more vibrant government.” Unfortunately, the Afghan government is far from vibrant. More to the point, it is horribly corrupt, incompetent, and illiberal. Instead of offering praise, Americans should be asking why their government continues to support such a dreadful regime. More importantly, why should Afghans...

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