WHAT WENT WRONG IN AFGHANISTAN: A PRIMER

Two weeks ago we released a podcast episode featuring Larry Goodson sharing his thoughts on what the future holds beyond Afghanistan. This week Larry is back with Thomas Johnson sharing thoughts on how we got here in the first place with regards to Afghanistan. Both of these middle east experts have the necessary experience in the region to take a complicated problem and break it down into component failures that have spanned decades and multiple administrations and commanders. They provide a ten point explanation of the decisions and failures that have led the world to the present day situation. It’s a terrific primer and reminder that gets past the finger pointing and posturing dominating the news cycle and social media. And it’s a great starting point in the necessary process that is the after action analysis that now must begin.

VALUES, INTERESTS, AND LEADERSHIP BEYOND AFGHANISTAN

You can’t turn on your computer or phone at the moment without hearing a podcast or seeing an article with someone’s opinion about what went wrong in Afghanistan. The editorial team at WAR ROOM decided that if we were to enter the fray we needed to interview someone that truly had the bona fides to speak intelligently about the long term strategic view of Afghanistan. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Larry Goodson to the virtual studio. Larry is the Professor of Middle East Studies at the U.S. Army War College, and is one of the most knowledgeable people in the United States on the culture, the people, and the problems in Afghanistan and the nations that surround it. He joins podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss why the situation has unfolded as it has and what might lie ahead for the region and the United States.

TRANSCRIPT: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-128-VALUES-INTERESTS-AND-LEADERSHIP-BEYOND-AFGHANISTAN-Transcript.pdf

AFGHANISTAN: WHERE WAS THE INTEL?

As the situation in Afghanistan has unfolded in the last several weeks, many have questioned how the collapse of the country could have happened so quickly. Daily press releases reported the steady march of the Taliban across the country capturing major population areas, often with little resistance from the Afghan military. As expected, pundits have looked to place blame for the U.S. administration’s failure to anticipate the speed of the deterioration of order. Most often the finger was pointed at intelligence. A BETTER PEACE welcomes James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, to offer his thoughts on the abilities, strengths, and shortcomings of the intelligence community. He joins host, Genevieve Lester in the virtual studio to take a realistic look at the part intelligence played in the Allied withdrawal from Afghanistan.

TRANSCRIPT: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-125-AFGHANISTAN-WHERE-WAS-THE-INTEL-Transcript1.pdf

REFRAMING THE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN

If the western world truly seeks victory in Afghanistan there needs to be a better understanding of what that victory looks like. The ongoing peace talks with the Taliban are a necessary first step. And a wide look at history over many conflicts reveals that western nations have succeeded in the past at reaching political solutions through similar negotiations, patience, and international cooperation. WAR ROOM welcomes Tom Spahr to examine why a U.S. military exit from Afghanistan in May 2021, or shortly thereafter, is not feasible. He predicts getting to an acceptable agreement with the Taliban will take years, if not decades, and political and military leaders should plan for the long haul.

AN OUNCE OF BLOOD

All too often U.S. political rhetoric calls into question the resolve of its allies. Have they contributed enough to the ongoing conflicts? Are their defense budgets meeting the threshold of 4% GDP? It’s easy to forget that the young men and women of allied nations are serving, being disfigured and dying on the same battlefields as U.S. service members. WAR ROOM welcomes Todd Johnson as he looks at just one ally, Denmark, and considers its contribution to the Afghanistan war. He remind us that U.S. allies are standing, and falling alongside their American partners and that “the collective blood shed among friends fighting for each other creates a bond unique in its depth and durability.”

“GOOD ALLIES”: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON AFGHANISTAN

War is complex. States often have multiple objectives for sending their sons and daughters in harm’s way Editor’s Note: In February 2019, the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy (ISWS) of the University of St. Andrews and the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) brought together 11 scholars, each representing the view of […]

CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WAR ARE NOT OPPOSITES

It seems that Western military forces are doomed to reinvent the wheel every time they are confronted with insurgencies Editor’s Note: In February 2019, the Institute for the Study of War and Strategy (ISWS) of the University of St. Andrews and the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) brought together eleven scholars, each representing the […]

LEARNING PAINFUL LESSONS FROM AFGHANISTAN

Conflicts, both in Afghanistan as well as at home, will continue to have both a complex civilian and military character When the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) finally closed shop in Afghanistan in 2014, many participating nations professed a weariness with complex, civil-military, out-of-area operations. These operations demanded close, often awkward, relationships of cooperation, co-existence, […]