Afghanistan

Peter Bergen Discusses National Security Implications of Direct Talks between United States and Taliban before Senate

May 24, 2011

Amid reports that Germany is helping mediate secret, direct talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban, New America Foundation’s Peter Bergen today testified before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations to examine the current threat posed by al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan Has Three Wars at Once. Let’s Fight the Right One

  • By
  • Douglas Ollivant,
  • New America Foundation
May 23, 2011 |

There is not one war in Afghanistan. There are three.

First, there is the fight against al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups. Second is the war to protect and support the fledgling Afghan government against the Taliban insurgency. The third war is the least understood but the most enduring: the internal social and cultural battle between the urban modernizers of Afghanistan, mostly based in Kabul, and the rural, tribal, anti-modern peoples who live in the country's inaccessible mountain regions.

Egyptian Saif al-Adel Appointed Acting Leader of Al Qaeda

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
May 17, 2011 |

An Egyptian who was once a Special Forces officer has been appointed "caretaker" leader of al Qaeda in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, according to a source with detailed knowledge of the group's inner workings.

Al Qaeda's interim leader is Saif al-Adel, who has long played a prominent role in the group, according to Noman Benotman. Benotman has known the al Qaeda leadership for more than two decades. He was once a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant organization that used to be aligned with al Qaeda, but in recent years renounced al Qaeda's ideology.

Obama's Mission: Talk to Some Enemies, Don't Kill Them

  • By
  • Romesh Ratnesar,
  • New America Foundation
May 16, 2011 |

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama made two shocking breaches of foreign-policy-establishment etiquette. The first was to suggest if the U.S. had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, Obama, as President, would commit U.S. force to kill bin Laden. This statement of utter common sense was denounced by Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. "He basically threatened to bomb Pakistan, which I don't think was a particularly wise position to take," she said. And it was similarly ridiculed by John McCain.

Let's Get to the Real Debate

  • By
  • Fred Kaplan,
  • New America Foundation
May 12, 2011 |

Does the death of Osama Bin Laden mean the United States should speed up the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan?

Congressional leaders of both parties are saying it does, as are, reportedly, some advisers in certain quarters of the White House.

After Osama: Where Do We Go From Abbottabad?

May 12, 2011

At an informal, staff-only briefing at the New America Foundation, Steve Coll discusses the death of Osama bin Laden, the implications of bin Laden's Pakistan residence and next steps for U.S. foreign policy and national security.

Highlights from the briefing are below. The full, hour-long video is available at the bottom of this page.

Steve Coll discusses bin Laden's residence in Abbottabad, noting that bin Laden must have gotten some level of local permission to build his house in the area.

ROOM FOR DEBATE: Should the U.S. Cut Off Aid to Pakistan?

  • By
  • Parag Khanna,
  • New America Foundation
May 10, 2011 |

The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is a microcosm of international relations more broadly: talking about change has little correlation to actually achieving it.

Before the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the Government Accountability Office released a study criticizing the lack of progress in making aid to Pakistan more effective. Far less has been spent than promised, and far too few inspectors have been assigned to oversee implementation of the projects.

Bin Laden's Great Mistake: What Osama Never Understood About the American Spirit

  • By
  • Romesh Ratnesar,
  • New America Foundation
May 10, 2011 |

When President Barack Obama announced on May 1 that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, I was among those who headed to the White House. The mood in Lafayette Square was joyous, ebullient, cathartic — though hardly the bacchanal of vengeful jingoism that some in the media have portrayed it to be, or an expression of "orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed" as David Sirota claimed on Salon.com.

Dear China: Help Us Fix Pakistan

  • By
  • Patrick C. Doherty,
  • New America Foundation
May 9, 2011 |

The war of words is officially on. The killing of Osama bin Laden has shone a harsh light on the fraught U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Bin Laden's Poisonous Ideology Began to Wither on 9/11

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
May 9, 2011 |

Osama bin Laden long fancied himself something of a poet. His compositions tended to the morbid, and a poem written two years after 9/11 in which he contemplated the circumstances of his death was no exception. Bin Laden wrote, "Let my grave be an eagle's belly, its resting place in the sky's atmosphere amongst perched eagles."

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