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The Future of Afghanistan and the Region in the New US Administration

James Cunningham, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan
Scott Warden, Director of the United States Institute of Peace
Earl Anthony Wayne, former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs

January 9, 2017

Long-term US engagement in Afghanistan is needed to ensure its peace and stability, said a panel of experts at a talk hosted by the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and moderated by Professor Kent Calder.

The complexity of the ongoing conflict requires a long-term political strategy, the policymakers argued. All agreed that the incoming US administration must make it clear that it is willing to commit to supporting the Afghan government in the long-term. Aside from reaffirming American commitments, panelists also suggested that the next administration try modifying existing policies and consider regional challenges and reactions when brainstorming. Such policies should not simply focus on military engagement but also include political and economic development plans. Moreover, these plans will need support from Afghanistan’s neighbors, namely Pakistan, which could call for other Asian nations like China to become involved in negotiations as well given their close economic relationship with Pakistan. Similarly, international organizations also have a role to play by providing development funds and technical expertise. Questions from the audience focused on how to incorporate civilians and enhance support for the national government in all regions of Afghanistan.

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