Afghanistan

Soldiers lift a coffin into a van during the dignified transfer of two U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Why Afghanistan Is America’s Greatest Strategic Disaster

Pompeo's plan to make peace with the resurgent Taliban is a sad reminder of all that went wrong in Afghanistan—and how it could have been otherwise.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Afghanistan

Pompeo Announces Taliban Peace Deal Plan

The pact pledging “intra-Afghan” talks is to be signed Feb. 29, but questions remain over whether the deal will last.

Afghan returnees after arriving from Iran

Iran’s Shifting Afghan Alliances Don’t Fit Easy Narratives

Tehran’s goals are pragmatic—and may be in line with Washington’s.

An Afghan boy plays on the wreckage of a Soviet-era tank alongside a road on the outskirts of Kabul on Nov. 28, 2019.

Afghans Fear Yet Another Civil War

The U.S.-Taliban truce raises some hope—but not while the Afghan government remains a stranger to the talks.

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai (left), Afghanistan's acting defense minister at the time, speaks during a joint press conference with then-Interior Minister Noor-ul-haq Ulomi in Kabul on Dec. 23, 2015.

Is Afghan Intelligence Building a Regime of Terror With the CIA’s Help?

As dissidents are attacked and murdered, critics liken the National Directorate of Security to the brutal intelligence service of the Afghan communists in the 1980s.

Afghan men walk along the highway between the Turkish cities of Dogubayazit and Agri, in eastern Turkey, near the border with Iran on April 22, 2019. After crossing the border, they were unable to obtain proper documentation that would allow them to ride public transportation, forcing them to walk for hours or days as they travel toward Istanbul on their way to Europe.

As America Shuts Its Doors, Afghan Refugees Are Stuck in Turkey

The Trump administration has made it nearly impossible for Afghans who aided U.S. troops to claim asylum in the United States. Instead, thousands who aided Americans on the battlefield are stranded in a country that doesn't want them.

Boys study at the madrassa in Lamatak village, in Afghanistan's Kunar province, on Sept. 16, 2019.

In Afghanistan, Religious Schools Are a Breeding Ground for Islamic State Influence

Countless madrassas are said to be funded by Gulf sources associated with the spread of extremist Salafist views.

An Afghan man rests in the sun on the road inside the Shahid Nasseri refugee camp near the city of Saveh, Iran, on Feb. 8, 2015.

Why Iran Is Deporting Scores of Afghan Refugees

Caught on the border, many are vulnerable to extortion, abuse, and regional tensions.

Indian Border Security Force personnel and Pakistani Rangers

India and Pakistan Are Edging Closer to War in 2020

Two crises dominated South Asia in 2019, and each one stands to get worse next year.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the troops

The Afghanistan Problem That Won’t Go Away

Even now, 18 years in, there is no clear way out for the United States. 

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to U.S. troops during a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Nov. 28.

How Hypocrisy Became Standard Operating Procedure for the U.S. Government

The “Afghanistan Papers” point to an information cartel that will likely persist for the foreseeable future.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley before addressing troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan during a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit on Nov. 28.

Everyone Knows America Lost Afghanistan Long Ago

Inflated threats, concealed costs, and lack of accountability for failure—and the complicity of the foreign-policy establishment—have kept the infinity war going for 18 years.

Soldiers of the Afghan National Army near Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, Afghanistan

How Ordinary Afghans Are Living the ‘Afghanistan Papers’

The prospect of a revival of talks with the Taliban is persuading no one after two protracted civil wars that have taken up the lives of most Afghans.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, speaks as a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 30.

The Islamic State Will Outlive Baghdadi. Afghanistan Shows How.

The Islamic State-Khorasan offers a powerful case study of the militant group’s ability to create autonomous affiliates that flourish and endure.

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