Barnett R. Rubin

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An internally displaced girl outside her makeshift home in Kabul in January. (Rahmat Gul/AP)

Media coverage of Afghanistan is understandably focused on the precarious situation of thousands of Americans and Afghans who are desperate to leave. But there is far more to Afghanistan’s dilemma than the crisis at the airport — and the world needs to start confronting a host of other daunting realities.

The United States and other aid donors have responded to the Taliban takeover by stopping the flow of financial aid and freezing Afghanistan’s reserves and other financial accounts. Yet Afghanistan is one of the poorest and most aid-dependent countries in the world. An internal document of the World Food Program warns that, “A humanitarian crisis of incredible proportions is unfolding before our eyes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afghans during a protest to demand peace in Ghazni, Afghanistan, on Sunday. (Sayed Mustafa/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

On Saturday, a holiday commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, people here awaited the announcement of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban on the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Skepticism here about what comes next pales in comparison with the certainty that continued war will fail.

This agreement can start a process that is the best chance to end Afghanistan’s 40-year war. It meets the core demands of the original antagonists of that war’s latest stage: the withdrawal of U.S. troops for the Taliban and guarantees against harboring terrorists for the United States. Next would come negotiations between the supporters of the Afghan Islamic republic and the Taliban on conditions to end their war, even as the battle against global terrorists continues.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Jan. 26. (Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

President Trump’s willingness to withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan opened the way for peace negotiations between the Taliban and U.S. officials. Trump deserves credit for discarding the Washington dogma that the United States must maintain an indefinite military presence in Afghanistan in pursuit of an ever-receding position of strength. As of this week, a framework agreement on U.S. troop withdrawal and Taliban counterterrorism guarantees seems to be emerging from the talks.

But avoiding the recurrence of bloodshed will require more than that agreement and the negotiations with the Afghan government that must follow. It will also depend on reliable international assistance and cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbors.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan is taking a risk most leaders would shun: He is proposing to improve Afghanistan’s contentious relations with Pakistan in the hope of paving the way toward both peace with the Taliban and regional economic cooperation. Much of the Afghan public is skeptical, because Pakistan has long treated Afghanistan like a client state. Mr. Ghani will need to show results fast.

The U.S. government should do its utmost to support him when he comes to Washington on an official visit next week. For the United States, the stakes are greater than whether President Obama can extract American troops by the end of his term without destabilizing Afghanistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

El gran juego ya no es divertido. Los imperialistas del siglo XIX usaron ese término para describir la lucha entre los británicos y los rusos por el dominio de Afganistán y Asia Central. Más de un siglo después el juego continúa, pero ahora los jugadores han aumentado radicalmente, quienes viven en el tablero se han convertido en jugadores, y la intensidad de la violencia y las amenazas que representa afectan al resto del mundo.

Afganistán ha estado en guerra tres décadas, y la guerra se está extendiendo a Pakistán y otros países. Es necesario llamar a un tiempo de descanso para que los jugadores, incluido el presidente electo Barack Obama, puedan negociar un nuevo trato para la región.…  Seguir leyendo »

El atentado terrorista que el pasado 6 de noviembre mató a 70 personas, entre ellas 59 escolares, en la provincia de Baghlan, en el norte de Afganistán, simboliza la situación en la que se encuentra hoy el país: los avances que había hecho en los últimos años corren grave peligro a causa del deterioro de la seguridad.

La comisión económica de la Cámara Baja de la Asamblea Nacional había ido allí, procedente de Kabul, para celebrar la reestructuración de una fábrica de azúcar de propiedad estatal. Es un proyecto para el que habían prestado ayuda técnica tanto el Gobierno alemán como varias empresas alemanas.…  Seguir leyendo »