Weekly Insights and Analysis

Visualizing Afghanistan: Peace and Security Beyond the Transition

January 23, 2013

By David D. Arnold

Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Asia Foundation trustee, wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times that, “Afghanistan’s future is of course uncertain. Lower levels of international support will inevitably place stress on its security forces, depress the economy, test fragile political institutions, and invite even more meddling by neighbors. … However, it is clear … that more than a decade after the fall of the Taliban and the flight of al-Qaeda to Pakistan, the Afghan people are standing on a foundation that, while not yet firm, is tangible. There exists a middle ground on which the Afghans, with continued modest levels of outside support, have a chance of building a more secure and better future.” Ambassador Eikenberry was writing in response to findings from The Asia Foundation’s latest “Survey of the Afghan People.”

On January 24, Ambassador Eikenberry joins Asia Foundation President David Arnold in conversation at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles to discuss this chance for a better future, the 2014 transition, and political, economic, and security challenges ahead as the country works toward becoming a peaceful and stable society. Prior to his current position as the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, Ambassador Eikenberry spent 35 years in the United States Army holding two command posts in Afghanistan. As U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 to June 2011, he led President Obama’s civilian surge, in order to set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. Read recent coverage in the blog of Afghanistan and analysis of the 2012 Survey.


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In Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia's development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

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