US in Afghanistan
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Scott uses his weapon's scope to scan the area while providing security from his battle position during an escort detail at Forward Operating Base Farah in Afghanistan's Farah province on April 7, 2012. Scott is assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah's security force. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

What is Next for the United States in Afghanistan?

The United States and the Taliban may be close to an agreement. Negotiations over the future of US involvement in Afghanistan are underway in Qatar, and in late January there was word of a “tentative” agreement that could lead to the US exiting Afghanistan and the Taliban entering Afghan politics.

These negotiations are the latest iteration of an evolving US strategy toward Afghanistan two years into the Trump administration.

On the line to discuss the Trump administration’s approach to Afghanistan in the context of recent US history is Sharifullah Dorani.  He is the author of the new book America in Afghanistan: Foreign Policy and Decision Making from Bush to Obama to Trump. A the title suggests, the book examines the history of US involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 through the first two years of the Trump presidency.

We discuss what has stayed the same and what has distinguished the Trump administration’s approach to Afghanistan from his predecessors.

We recorded this conversation just a few weeks after Trump, via Tweet, suggested a precipitous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. We discuss what role American troops are currently playing in Afghanistan and what some of the debates about troop levels have been. We also discuss the ongoing diplomatic efforts led by Trump’s envoy to Afghanistan, former US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad.

If you have 20 minutes and want to better understand the context in which negotiations between the United States and the Taliban are taking place, then have a listen.


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