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Afghanistan: Thinking Through the Basics

Ronald E. Neumann
Policy Analysis Brief
September 2009

Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann states Afghanistan highlights the fact that some of the weakest nations can pose the greatest threats as sources of terrorism, regional instability and, over time, increased nuclear dangers. Building a somewhat cohesive state in Afghanistan that can provide basic security and enjoy some popular support is a tall order, but there is no other choice.

Fragmentation and a Taliban (and via them, Al Qaeda) takeover are not acceptable options. The US needs to support a clear strategy with the necessary forces and credible long-term commitments for Afghan state building to rally the support of key international partners. Ambassador Neumann stresses that this complex effort needs to begin soon, will take time to accomplish, and requires clear and realistic explanations as to its importance.

This paper is an update to Ambassador Neumann’s earlier Stanley Foundation policy analysis brief, "Implementation: A New Approach to Multinational Coordination in Afghanistan."

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