Afghanistan: A Resurgence of War

After months of deliberation, on December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama announced that he would send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in an effort to rein in a resurgent Taliban. Obama’s announcement, along with the ongoing controversy surrounding the legitimacy of Hamid Karzai’s re-election as president of Afghanistan, have brought renewed attention to the country in recent months.  The week of February 14th has brought additional developments: the launch of a new US military offensive in Helmand Province and the reported capture of the Taliban’s second in command.

The Taliban have now gained a foothold in the southern countryside of Afghanistan, spilling over the border into the peripheral regions of Pakistan. The perceived unwillingness of the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan to remove these elements from their countries forced President Obama to issue a stern call for their support, as highlighted in an article from The Guardian. Pakistan has since bolstered its engagement in the effort to remove both the Taliban and Al Qaeda from its country, although, as BBC News illustrates, this offensive could last longer than initially anticipated. Some experts see the recent capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a leader of the resurgent Taliban movement, as a good sign for the future of Pakistani-American intelligence cooperation, as outlined by The Economist.

Involvement with the conflict in Afghanistan-Pakistan will continue to have ramifications around the world, as it drains the United States of resources, questions the ability of Pakistan to police its own borders, and strains Afghanistan to develop a military and government that will be self-sufficient. President Obama, as part of his plan, has called for the removal of American troops beginning in 2011, but the actual timeline could well depend greatly upon the success of the surge currently carried out by the United States as well as the ability of Afghanistan and Pakistan to operate autonomously.

Recommended Articles:

Advanced Article: New York Times: Soviet Lessons from Afghanistan

Intermediate Article: Upfront Magazine: Afghanistan: How We Got There

Beginner Article: BBC News: Afghan Worries Over Military Push in Helmand Province

Multimedia:

BBC News: Afghan Troop Map: US and Nato Deployments

LinkTV: Afghanistan: Fraud, Opium and Taliba

LinkTV: Obama’s Surge: The Real Reaso

Curriculum

1. PBS NewsHour: Afghanistan: People, Places and Politics

2. PBS NewsHour: Amid Flagging Support for War, Obama Unveils New Strategy

3. New York Times: Guns, Butter or Both? Debating Troops vs. Development in Afghanistan

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