Insurgency

Why Afghanistan Is Far from Hopeless

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
March 18, 2011 |

In winter, a noxious fog sometimes descends on Kabul that is so acrid, you can actually taste it. It's a toxic brew of fumes from traffic jams and thousands of charcoal fires, and it's a testament to the fact that in the decade since the fall of the Taliban, Kabul's population has gone up sixfold, from 500,000 to about 3 million.

Not Mincing Words

  • By
  • Fred Kaplan,
  • New America Foundation
March 7, 2011 |

And so it seems, Robert Gates really will be leaving the Pentagon soon.

He's been going around to the military academies—West Point last week, the Air Force Academy today, Annapolis sometime soon—bidding farewell to the cadets, pointedly noting at the start of each speech that it will be his "final" address to them as secretary of defense. But Gates is not indulging in valedictory bromides. He's using the occasions to lay out his vision of what each branch—and each future officer—of the U.S. armed forces must do, and not do, to meet the threats of the 21st century.

Al Qaeda the Loser in Arab Revolutions

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
February 24, 2011 |

Osama bin Laden must be sitting in his comfortably appointed hideaway somewhere in northwest Pakistan watching the events in the Middle East unfold with a mixture of glee and despair.

Glee, because overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East has long been his central goal.

Despair, because none of the Arab revolutions has anything to do with him.

U.S.-Taliban Talks

  • By
  • Steve Coll,
  • New America Foundation
February 19, 2011 |

On August 22, 1998, Mullah Omar, the emir of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, made a cold call to the State Department. The United States had just lobbed cruise missiles at Al Qaeda camps in his nation. Omar got a mid-level diplomat on the line and spoke calmly. He suggested that Congress force President Bill Clinton to resign. He said that American military strikes “would be counter-productive,” and would “spark more, not less, terrorist attacks,” according to a declassified record of the call. “Omar emphasized that this was his best advice,” the record adds.

Programs:

Coll in The New Yorker: U.S. in Direct Talks with Taliban

February 18, 2011

For Immediate Release: In the forthcoming issue of The New Yorker, New America Foundation President Steve Coll breaks the news that the Obama Administration has entered into direct talks with the Taliban.  Coll's article is available now on www.NewYorker.com.

Know-It-All

  • By
  • Fred Kaplan,
  • New America Foundation
February 8, 2011 |

Donald Rumsfeld's memoir has a great title: Known and Unknown is a play on his famous remark that there are "known knowns," "known unknowns," and "unknown unknowns." Apart from that, there's little to be said for this book, which stands to mark Rumsfeld as not only the most destructive secretary of defense in American history (a title already bestowed by man

How Many Gitmo Alumni Take Up Arms?

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Katherine Tiedemann,
  • Andrew Lebovich,
  • New America Foundation
January 11, 2011 |

Almost a decade after the first detainees accused of terrorism were sent to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and almost two years after U.S. President Barack Obama promised to close the prison within a year, more than 170 of Guantánamo's prisoners remain in custody.

The Longest War

January 11, 2011

Ten years have passed since the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center, and after seven years of conflict, the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq—only to move into Afghanistan, where the ten-year-old fight continues: the war on terror rages with no clear end in sight. In The Longest War Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond.

Holbrooke's Legacy: The Power of Limited War

  • By
  • Romesh Ratnesar,
  • New America Foundation
January 3, 2011 |

The untimely death of Richard Holbrooke last month has occasioned numerous paeans to his signal professional achievement: the Dayton peace accords of 1995, which ended four years of war in Bosnia. To some of Holbrooke's admirers, that diplomatic masterstroke — as well as Holbrooke's quip, as he lay dying, that his doctors find a way to "stop the war in Afghanistan" — are rebukes to those who extol the virtues of American military power. It took negotiations to silence the guns in Bosnia; something similar, the thinking goes, will be required to quell the insurgency in Afghanistan.

There Were More Drone Strikes — And Far Fewer Civilians Killed

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Katherine Tiedemann,
  • New America Foundation
December 22, 2010 |

In the first 11-and-a-half months of 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration authorized more than twice as many drone strikes, 113, in northwest Pakistan as it did in 2009 -- itself a year in which there were more drone strikes than during George W. Bush's entire time in office.

Given the evident importance of the program to U.S. policy toward Pakistan, it is necessary to ask what we know about the drone strikes, where they happen, and whom they are killing.

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