October 20, 2015
Will the Afghan State Survive?
By South Asia Center
On the regional front, Mellbin spoke of the need for the West to rearticulate its strategy in Pakistan. In order to move forward on cooperation with Pakistan, he argued, the West must engage in a more qualitative discussion on what Pakistan sees as an end state for itself in Afghanistan. Mellbin also posited that stronger ties between the U.S. and China are possible, considering the like-mindedness between Washington and Beijing, and could only reinforce achievements in Afghanistan. Concerning Iran, Mellbin pointed out that the recent nuclear deal provides for more political space for the US in the region.
On the question of ISIS, Mellbin mentioned that ISIS has not gained a foothold, as seen in Iraq and Syria. He explained, however, that if peace talks do succeed with the Taliban, it is possible that some insurgents may turn to ISIS.
Regarding public messaging, Mellbin noted that the West needs to be better at managing the information space, which could give Western audiences a view into the success which has been achieved on the ground. "Winning the conventional wars and losing the information space is a loss for NATO."