WASHINGTON, DC, May 7, 2008 -The war in Afghanistan has entered its seventh year and its influence on American foreign policy and on America’s global status has been far-reaching. Where is the war going? Will Afghanistan become another “Vietnam” for the United States? What is the relationship between instability in the Pakistan government and the turmoil in Afghanistan?
Richard Holbrooke, chairman of the Asia Society and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressed these issues when he delivered a policy briefing at a special event co-hosted by Asia Society Washington and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Just back from a two-week trip to Afghanistan, Ambassador Holbrooke provided the audience with observations about military developments, and made suggestions for the next U.S. administration on how best to confront the security challenges in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Holbrooke said that although the current Administration views Afghanistan and Pakistan distinctly and separately, it is his belief that these conflicts should be regarded as one theater of operations which he calls "AfPak." He also said that in order for the military to function efficiently in either Pakistan or Afghanistan, sufficient forces must be deployed along the border and that corrupt local governance is a significant problem hindering the fight to contain the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Asked by a member of the audience how he would address the current problems, Ambassador Holbrooke suggested that investment in local infrastructure and the agricultural sector would provide more long-term gains for local populations than any other U.S. program currently in place.
Reported by Yun Sun, Asia Society Washington
Excerpt: On the failure of drug eradication programs in Afghanistan (1 min. 44 sec.)
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