Like Afghanistan, Colombia was mired in conflict for decades. But, in 2016 after five years of direct negotiations, the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) signed a historic peace agreement that sought to address the root causes of a 50-year conflict.
U.S.-Taliban Deal: The Beginning of the End of America’s Longest War? SWJED Thu, 02/20/2020 - 12:51pm
The agreement offers an opportunity to start a process to end the war—but there is much to be done to get there. USIP’s Scott Smith examines the U.S.-Taliban deal and what comes next.
Afghanistan at an Impasse SWJED Fri, 01/24/2020 - 8:51am
The war in Afghanistan is at an impasse. The current and next U.S. administrations will have to grapple with the aftereffects of an 18-year campaign in a country that has been at war for over 40 years. The war in the field is a stalemate. Neither side seems able to win. At home and abroad, among friends and even some enemies, war weariness and a desire for peace is very much in evidence, even as the fighting continues. Neither side has been able to find a path to a negotiated settlement.
Counterterrorism After a Peace Deal in Afghanistan SWJED Wed, 08/07/2019 - 9:06pm
While it’s difficult to know everything that is going on around the negotiating table or how close the parties are to a final accord, what we can say with reasonable certainty is that any deal at the end of the day will need to be verifiable.
Tailoring Expectations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Scenarios in Afghanistan SWJED Sat, 01/12/2019 - 12:42am
Here we are eighteen years later with a resurgent Taliban and US/NATO achievements not only not consolidated but more fragile than ever and the Afghan state weaker with an unusual President in the White House, a growing war fatigue in the west and a divided Washington over the fate of its military engagement in the country.
A New Approach to Afghanistan SWJED Tue, 10/02/2018 - 5:02am
With the war at a stalemate, we need to seriously consider new thinking outside the kinetic realm if we expect to move the ball forward toward peace without a Taliban victory.
How Our Cognitive Solipsism Made Us Limbic Captives of the Taliban – Part 3 of 3 SWJED Wed, 08/22/2018 - 7:23am
Even the U.S. Government's own investigation into and report on the lessons we've learned about stabilizing Afghanistan openly admits broad-cut failure: “Our analysis reveals the U.S. government greatly overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions in Afghanistan as part of its stabilization strategy. We found the stabilization strategy and the programs used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians. As a result, by the time all prioritized districts had transitioned from coalition to Afghan control in 2014, the services and protection provided by Afghan forces and civil servants often could not compete with a resurgent Taliban as it filled the void in newly vacated territory.”
Replacing Afghan Honor with Taliban Disgust: The Specter of Ethnic Cleansing – Part 2 of 3 SWJED Sat, 08/18/2018 - 12:28am
The Taliban fighter today does not seek honor. He seeks cleanliness. When contaminated, he uses blood, the blood of that which is non-Taliban, as soul bleach. Any act, no matter how far outside the realm of human decency or of traditional Afghan honor codes it may be, now becomes possible for a Taliban fighter as long as he cleanses himself in medias res or ex post facto, in blood. Without the modulating elaborations of honor-rooted, traditional, highly evolved, overlapping clan relationships, the resulting cultural product -- the Taliban's fighter -- is more primal, far less sophisticated, and far less stable and predictable than the traditional Afghan warrior.
The Taliban's Weaponization of Moral Authority in Afghanistan - Part 1 of 3 SWJED Wed, 08/15/2018 - 10:39am
Ethnic/tribal identity is so sensitive an issue in Afghanistan today that neither the CIA nor any other entity monitoring demographics in Afghanistan (or its Diasporas) can provide even ball-park statistics about how many or which specific individuals belong to what ethnic, tribal, clan, or sectarian groups (genetic testing is, however, beginning to secure some reliable ethnic data). While Taliban and most other violent extremists proudly self-identify as Pashtun, the tribal, clan, and ethnic identity of the other Afghan today tends to change depending on which side of the street he's standing, which goat path he's using, or the immigration agent to whom he's relating his refugee narrative.
The End of Afghanistan’s Spring Fighting Seasons and the Demise of the Afghan National Security Forces? SWJED Sun, 07/09/2017 - 7:24am
While many rejoice the arrival of spring, Afghans know that this season ushers in a considerable increase in fighting. Or at least it used to.