Articles

My testimony will attempt to cover the following areas: al Qaeda’s current threat to the United States; to American interests around the world, and to US allies; likely targets that al Qaeda will attack over the coming years and the kinds of tactics the group is likely to employ in the future; the impact of US counterterrorism measures on al Qaeda as well as other factors that have an impact on the group’s viability; the current status of al Qaeda’s closest allies; and will conclude with some broad observations about American policy in Afghanistan, and how that might impact al Qaeda in the future, as this is a matter of current interest to many policymakers.

Friday, Oct 02, 2009 Putting the ‘I’ in Aid

THE top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is right to warn that efforts to rebuild that country depend on winning the ”struggle to gain the support of the people.” And few issues do more to stoke the resentment of ordinary Afghans than the tens of billions of dollars of foreign aid from which they have seen little or no benefit. They see legions of Westerners sitting in the backs of S.U.V.’s clogging the streets of Kabul and ask themselves what exactly those foreigners have done to improve their daily lives.

Thursday, Oct 01, 2009 Rebuilding Afghanistan’s treasury

The top American commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal, is right to warn that efforts to rebuild that country depend on winning the ”struggle to gain the support of the people.” And few issues do more to stoke the resentment of ordinary Afghans than the tens of billions of dollars of foreign aid from which they have seen little or no benefit. They see legions of Westerners sitting in the backs of S.U.V.’s clogging the streets of Kabul and ask themselves what exactly those foreigners have done to improve their daily lives.

In August, President Obama laid out the rationale for stepping up the fight in Afghanistan: If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people. Obamas Af-Pak plan is, in essence, a countersanctuary strategy that denies safe havens to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, with the overriding goal of making America and its allies safer. Under Obama, the Pentagon has already sent a surge of 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, and the Administration is even weighing the possibility of deploying as many as 40,000 more

Story Highlights Source: Man hid bomb in underwear, believing he wouldn’t be searched there Saudis dismiss reports bomber hid explosive in rectum Saudis believe bomber used plastic explosive to pass through metal detectors From Peter Bergen CNN National Security Analyst (CNN) — The would-be assassin of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Nayef hid his bomb […]

Friday, Sep 25, 2009 The Ultimate AfPak Reading List

What follows is the Ultimate AfPak Reading List — an amalgamation of syllabi from classes I’ve taught at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. I’ve included a variety of reading, from books I’ve found particularly insightful on the topic to significant reporting on everything from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to al Qaeda’s media strategy.

Friday, Sep 11, 2009 Where’s bin Laden?

By Peter Bergen, Helmand, Afghanistan Eight years after September 11, the “war on terror” has gone the way of the dodo. And President Obama talks instead about a war against al Qaeda and its allies. What, then, of al Qaeda’s enigmatic leader, Osama bin Laden, who has vanished like a wisp of smoke? And does […]

Wednesday, Sep 09, 2009 Helmand: bombs, drugs, and the Taliban

If the southern Afghan province of Helmand were a country it would be the world’s leading producer of opium and its derivative, heroin. More than half the world’s heroin originates here — much of it destined for the veins of junkies living in Europe.

In June 2005, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials and Afghan police raided the office of Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, the governor of Helmand, and found nine tons of opium in his office. He is no longer the governor.

Tuesday, Sep 08, 2009 South to Kandahar

Over the loudspeaker system, a female voice announces, “ISAF flight number 44 from Kabul to Kandahar is leaving at gate 1.” Just like for any other flight we grab our hand luggage and boarding passes but what makes this boarding a little bit different is that all the passengers are wearing flak jackets and clutching helmets. We troop in double file to the whale-like C-130 transport plane operated by a crew of reservists out of Missouri and strap in for the ride.

Friday, Sep 04, 2009 The Afghan Phoenix

The first surprise is Kabul airport. The new terminal — “a gift of the people of Japan” — appears to have been airlifted in from a small American city; light-filled, modern and staffed by young men in uniforms of khaki pants and blue shirts who politely answer travelers’ questions as they direct traffic through the quiet, marble halls of the terminal.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, November, 20, 2017 Understanding Proxy Violence in the Arab World and Beyond: Fordham, NYC

Wednesday, December, 06, 2017 Making Sense in a World of Trouble, Leidos, Reston, VA

Wednesday, December, 13, 2017 CENTCOM conference, Baghdad, Iraq

Wednesday, January, 24, 2018 Jaipur Literary Festival, Diggi Palace Jaipur, India

Monday, February, 19, 2018 2018 Global SOF Symposium, Tampa, Florida

Monday, April, 09, 2018 Future of War conference, ASU and New America, Reagan Building, DC

MORE EVENTS »