Ambassador James B. Cunningham

  • Trump Sends a Clear Message in Afghanistan

    By dropping the ‘mother of all bombs’ on an Islamic State target, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    The United States sent a clear message of its commitment to fighting terrorism when it dropped the so-called mother of all bombs on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan on April 13, said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.

    “It really is a military instrument used to accomplish a military task,” said Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan, adding, “there is a political element to it as well in terms of showing our commitment and determination in this particular fight.”

    The US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an Islamic State cave and tunnel complex in Achin district in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB),...

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  • For the New Administration: The Atlantic Council Strategy Papers Series

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Atlantic Council Strategy Initiative within the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security launched in 2015 to provide a blueprint for the next administration as it confronts the myriad global challenges facing the world today. As the Trump administration takes shape in the coming days and weeks, the Atlantic Council has a collection of papers on a range of issues available both to prospective members of the Trump administration and the public from a bipartisan group of leading foreign policy thinkers. Featuring reports in issues including global finance, state building, US-Iran relations, energy security, and the National Security Council from prominent voices such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, Governor Jon. M. Huntsman, Jr., former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador James B....
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  • Cunningham, Khalilzad, Petraeus Join The National Interest Feature: Forging an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan


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  • Slavin in Al-Monitor: Iran's 'marriage of convenience' with Taliban


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  • Cunningham Quoted by the Nation on Terrorist Safe Havens in Pakistan


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  • Taliban Leader’s Death Puts Pakistan on Notice

    Drone strike should send a signal that the United States will not tolerate terrorist safe havens, said Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    The US drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Pakistan over the weekend should send a clear signal that the United States will no longer tolerate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.

    “I hope that this is the beginning of a message that we will not tolerate any more the strategic challenge that is posed by the leadership of the Taliban being in Pakistan and having a safe haven there,” Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and former US ambassador to Afghanistan, said in an interview.

    “To really get to a peace discussion [in Afghanistan], the Taliban have to come to the conclusion that the option of military force and terror will not get them back to the establishment of the...

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  • Is the Taliban Winning?

    Deadly suicide bombing in Kabul points to need for Pakistan to end support for terrorists, says Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    A deadly suicide bombing in Kabul shows that the Taliban are determined to drag out the conflict, but it also adds a sense of urgency for Pakistan to end its support for the militants, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.

    “While it is good to see that there has been a broad range of international condemnation of the attack, including by the UN Security Council, it also shows the urgency for Afghanistan’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, to take concrete steps to bring this conflict to an end,” said Cunningham, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and current Khalilzad Chair on Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “At some point we will have to collectively act on the reality that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to bring the conflict to a political...

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  • Motley's Law: The New Age of Legal Representation

    On April 18, the South Asia Center’s Afghanistan Rising Initiative hosted Kimberley Motley for a conversation about her experiences as an international litigator in Afghanistan and around the world, as well as her advocacy for rule of law and human rights worldwide. In her remarks, she emphasized how the rule of law means little if the role of law is not promoted in societies where the criminal justice system is weak or faces deep cultural roadblocks. She spoke candidly about her experiences as a litigator in Afghanistan’s courts, how she works from within the judicial system in place, and her commitment to improving legal representation for marginalized populations worldwide. She underscored her belief that the problems facing Afghanistan and the many countries she has worked in are not localized problems, but a problem for all of us.  

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  • Autocracies Failed and Unfailed: Limited Strategies for State Building

    On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. the Strategy Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security released its third Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, “Autocracies Failed and Unfailed: Limited Strategies for State Building.”

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  • What to do About Afghanistan?

    Amid concerning reports of security and political struggles that threaten to unravel the progress made thus far in Afghanistan, the question arises: what is to be done?  

    The answer, at once simple and difficult, is to help the Afghans prevail. We, Americans, our international partners in Afghanistan, and the Afghans themselves have too much at stake.  We deserve a strategy that is geared toward success and commensurate with what is at risk. Fatigue is more than understandable, but is not the basis for good policy that protects our interests.

    US and international engagement in Afghanistan should be seen in the context of the distorted and violent Islamic ideology—now manifest from Asia to Africa—that threatens our citizens, our values, and our way of life. Substantial bipartisan agreement exists among an array of senior figures and policy experts on the case for sustained US commitment to Afghanistan. It is to be hoped that such bipartisan support...

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