• Is There Art in the Afghan Deal?

    While the specifics of the deal that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is negotiating with the Taliban remain obscured, its emerging outline raises serious concern about the prospects for failure in its application.  A flawed agreement risks the collapse of Afghanistan into chaos, the return of the oppressive Taliban Emirate, and the growth of the Islamist terrorist threat to Western security and values.

    One side negotiating against a deadline is at a severe disadvantage when the other is not, and Ambassador Khalilzad has been operating under extremely complex conditions. But an agreement which fails to open the way to peace for Afghanistan will be a defeat for US leadership and values, and sacrifice US and Afghan interests in stability and security in that troubled region.    

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  • Pakistan PM Khan Hails New Relationship After Trump Meeting

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he and US President Donald J. Trump agreed to eliminate the “communication gap,” between their two countries during Khan’s visit to Washington on July 22. Speaking at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on July 23, Khan described his meeting with Trump as “one of the most pleasant surprises.”

    The US-Pakistani relationship has been strained after the Trump administration decided to suspend $300 million in aid to Pakistan in September 2018 due to their belief that Islamabad did not do enough to combat terrorism. Trump has specifically criticized Pakistan as a “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”

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  • An Afghan Opening: Opportunities, Challenges, and Pitfalls

    A gathering of more than sixty Afghans in Qatar this week provided a rare opportunity for frank discussion on the open questions facing a society still gripped in a decades-long conflict. A group of Kabul-based political, civil society, and government-endorsed representatives sat across from more than a dozen Taliban political officers, in a wrenching exchange of grievances, hopes, and fears about a slew of long-standing and contentious issues.

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  • Women’s World Cup 2019: Where is the Middle East?

    The final match of the Women’s World Cup 2019 is a few short days away and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) expects viewership to reach one billion. With all the excitement these past months have generated, it is hard not to notice a glaring discrepancy in representation. There is not one team from the Middle East that qualified. Is it because the sport is less popular in this region? Is it because the women don’t want to play? The answer to both questions is no. Soccer is in fact one of the most popular sports in the Middle East. According to a report on sports in the region, “Soccer is woven tightly into the lives and cultures of the peoples of the Middle East.” Anyone should be able to grab a ball, gather some neighborhood kids, and play a pickup game barefoot from Sao Paulo to Tokyo. But what about Kabul, Tehran, and Ankara? When girls or women try to enter the game, it isn’t as simple as it is for boys and men. This is especially true in the Middle East.

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  • The Future of Afghanistan: Ongoing Negotiations and the Role of Regional Partners

    On Monday April 22, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a panel discussion on the Afghanistan peace negotiations. The panel was moderated by the South Asia Center's Nonresident Senior Fellow Fatemeh Aman and focused on the role of regional powers helping to secure stability and peace.

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  • Getting Peace Right in Afghanistan: A Political Solution to a Military Problem

    After seventeen years of war in Afghanistan, the NATO Mission Commander, US Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, provided a candid assessment of the situation, stating: “This [war in Afghanistan] is not going to be won militarily… This is going to a political solution.”

    Last week, talks between Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, and the Taliban produced a tentative agreement that has generated hope for peace. What then are the mechanisms through which the military resources of the remaining thirty-nine troop-contributing nations can be translated into an enduring political resolution in Afghanistan?

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  • Nawaz Joins CGTN to Discuss Afghanistan Peace Talks

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  • Can Iran Help Reach a Lasting Peace in Afghanistan?

    Progress has been reported in peace talks between US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban, but without the participation of the Afghan government, it seems premature to assume that an agreement will be reached soon. Could Iran play a constructive role in achieving an end to America’s longest war?

    Despite their lack of diplomatic relations and enduring hostility, Iran and the United States have kept some channels of dialogue open since the 1979 revolution. These channels facilitated an end to the hostage crisis, the selling of US arms to Tehran in the Iran-Contra affair and preceded the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the George W. Bush administration. Communication became formalized under the Obama administration and continued even under the Trump administration until its unilateral withdrawal last year from a 2015 nuclear agreement.

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  • A Step Closer to Peace in Afghanistan?

    There is renewed hope for a settlement to the seventeen-year-old war in Afghanistan—although significant questions remain.

    US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is reported to be making headway in his talks this week with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. Although Khalilzad has consulted with most of the relevant Afghan and regional actors since last September, details of the full range of discussions are still sketchy as they may arouse undue suspicions or misunderstandings in Kabul and in other concerned capitals.

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  • Charai for The Hill: Rethinking America’s Commitment to Afghanistan

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