Asan Plenum

A. Insurgency and Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan after bin Laden

Afghanistan faces a multitude of problems and challenges and a brighter future is difficult to imagine. Corruption, societal grievances, a weak central government, bleak economic prospects, the Taliban conflict, and rivalries amongst neighboring states are serious challenges to stability. A key factor in determining the future of the region will be the U.S. political landscape; specifically, the level of support given to the Afghan security forces. The other key factor is Pakistan’s behavior as it attempts to balance key interests and address fundamental challenges. The first-best scenario would be a political compromise in which key power holders agree on a way to organize and strengthen the central Afghan state. But such a scenario will force the West to adopt an Afghan approach to political balancing. Is that possible?