Ian Livingston

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The key trends of the war in Afghanistan can be summarized fairly simply. The hard part is figuring out what they collectively add up to. The muddled picture no doubt contributed to recent poll results showing that two-thirds of Americans oppose their country’s involvement in the conflict. Afghans themselves seem confused; according to a 2011 Asia Foundation poll, 73 percent of citizens support their national government (and even higher percentages their army and police), but only 46 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction.

Here is what we know: Afghans are wealthier, healthier and better educated than ever before.…  Seguir leyendo »

States of Conflict: A Final Update

A version of this chart has been appearing in the Op-Ed pages every few months for eight years. The first was published eight months after the invasion of Iraq, and data from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan were added in more recent years. Gains have been made in these three countries, but violence persists and peace is by no means assured. Nonetheless, with the end of the war in Iraq officially announced last week, this will be the last of the series.

Of the three, Iraq has presented the most extreme swings. In the months after the invasion, the country was relatively quiet — at least on the surface — but then it exploded in violence.…  Seguir leyendo »