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Afghanistan

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the longest war in American history that continues to rage ferociously in Afghanistan, casting a shadow over that country’s future and highlighting the failure of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategy to gradually wind down the conflict. Yet the war now attracts little international attention, except when a major militant attack occurs.

 

The civil war in Afghanistan is raging again. After almost 40 years of near-consecutive conflict -- from the Soviet invasion to the US-led war against the Taliban for its sheltering of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda post-9/11 -- Afghanistan is once again on the international emergency watch list.

 
 

The current crisis is the result of early policy choices, institutional design and political games by Afghan elites and international actors. Averting an even nastier political crisis requires joint action by Afghan politicians and the international community.

  The current crisis is the result of early policy choices, institutional design and political games by Afghan elites and international actors. Averting an even nastier political crisis requires joint action by Afghan politicians and the international community.  
 

Next month marks the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. It has lasted longer than both world wars and the Vietnam War. In fact, it’s the longest in U.S. history. A recent trip to Afghanistan on national security issues convinced me that it will go on even longer. That means not just continuing the fight, but rethinking how we fight.

 
Eight years later, after surging 100,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan and then scaling back to fewer than 10,000, there is little talk of “winning” the war. The Afghan government continues to struggle against a resilient Taliban insurgency. And Obama says his successor will determine the next U.S. move. But neither Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump has outlined what they plan to do. Indeed, over the past year the war itself has barely been mentioned by the candidates.
 

All day long, a line of Afghans waited outside Farid Hamidi’s office, clutching sheaves of tattered legal papers they had brought to other officials in the past. They had heard that Afghanistan’s new attorney general was an honest man, willing to listen to anyone, so they had gathered up their fading hopes for justice and taken a number outside his door.

 

Even such constructive critics say Ghani has been his own worst enemy. They describe him as intellectually arrogant, impatient with underlings and too busy to indulge in the tea-drinking chats with elders and ethnic strongmen that enabled his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, to hold together a divided society emerging from decades of brutal conflict and ideological whiplash.

Even such constructive critics say Ghani has been his own worst enemy. They describe him as intellectually arrogant, impatient with underlings and too busy to indulge in the tea-drinking chats with elders and ethnic strongmen that enabled his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, to hold together a divided society emerging from decades of brutal conflict and ideological whiplash.
 

The Afghan security forces has retaken the control of a gold mine in Raghistan district of Badakhshan province, after almost 40 days continued clearance operation against the Taliban insurgents in the area, provincial official said.

 
 

The Hazara protest was, ostensibly, in response to the Afghan government’s decision to divert a promised power transmission line from Bamiyan – a Hazara enclave, where it would have brought jobs, economic growth and, most fundamentally, electricity – to another area of the country further north. But the demonstration, and the power line’s diversion, was aimed too at a broader discrimination Hazaras say they suffer in Afghanistan.

 
In this lush farm belt deep in central Afghanistan, women have been the organizing force behind a new wave of small village farm unions. That seems to have brought some changes. In a reversal of tradition, husbands tend to walk after their wives, trailing a couple of steps behind with rolled-up sleeves and sun-beaten faces. And critically for this impoverished region, the unions have established modest supply chains at the market in the center of Bamian Province. Over just a few years, they have introduced new vegetables to their humble dinner plates.
 


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