Caroline Wadhams

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After more than a decade of conflict and political setbacks in Afghanistan, it has been hard for observers to be hopeful about its future. But following a recent trip , where we met with civil society leaders, public officials, tribal elders, youth and women’s groups, we found ourselves cautiously optimistic about the country’s trajectory. Afghans were preparing for the presidential and provincial elections in April. They anticipated that a bilateral security agreement under discussion between the U.S. and Afghan governments would soon be signed, creating the security umbrella essential for a stable state.

President Hamid Karzai has threatened to derail this positive trajectory, however, by stating that he intends to delay signing the security agreement until after the elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the United States begins a security transition in Afghanistan, it has focused the vast majority of its strategy, efforts and resources on building Afghan security forces and weakening insurgents through military pressure. Yet the broader Afghan state is in crisis. Afghans we met with during a recent trip to Kabul warned that their country’s fragile democratic institutions were crumbling. If the current political trajectory continues, Afghan security forces may have no state left to defend.

A range of Afghans — government officials, opposition figures and members of civil society — argued that the United States must perform a tricky balancing act to strengthen the state.…  Seguir leyendo »