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Gandhara Podcast: Washington’s New Afghan Strategy


An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 31.

With the Taliban’s violence in Afghanistan rapidly escalating, there is still no clarity on what strategy the United States is likely to adopt to prevent the situation from reaching a tipping point.

A lengthy U.S. government interagency review has reportedly backed sending several thousand more troops to Afghanistan, which is in line with recommendations by the country’s diplomats and generals.

But U.S. President Donald Trump refrained from announcing the troop increase in the run-up to the NATO summit late last month. His announcement would have set a bar for transatlantic allies to match.

To discuss the confusion over an expected Washington strategy, my colleague Muhammad Tahir, who hosts our discussion, turned to Sameer Lalwani and Douglas Wissing. Lalwani, deputy director for South Asia at Washington’s Stimson Center think tank, recently wrote a thoughtful piece on the U.S. options in Afghanistan. The title of Wissing’s recent book, Hopeless But Optimistic: Journeying Through America's Endless War in Afghanistan, captures the essence of what went wrong in the country.

As usual, I shared my views from Prague, where our recent coverage of Afghanistan has been sad and depressing.

Listen to or download the Gandhara Podcast:

The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

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