The longest war in U.S. history still rages in Afghanistan after nearly 16 years, preceded by covert actions supported by the CIA beginning in 1979. Afghanistan’s eastern neighbor, Pakistan—while not an official U.S. battleground—plays a complex role supporting Afghani Taliban combatants while fighting their internal Pakistani Taliban and ISUS forces. A nominal U.S. ally, Pakistan is a nuclear power confronting its own destabilizing political factions, but with a strong need to assure itself that neither Afghanistan nor its version of the Taliban pose a threat to Pakistan’s national security.
As the US attempts to draw down its forces in Afghanistan and also maintain ties to Pakistan, a Great Decisions presentation, sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, will convene at the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room on Thursday (April 6) at 3:00 p.m.
The program will look at the issues and challenges involved in reaching a successful resolution of this continuing crisis. The prospects are daunting – diplomatically, militarily and politically – as a new administration attempts to understand what steps America and our allies should take.
Although primarily a 21st century situation ignited in 2001 by the U.S. search for Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, history shows conflicts between West and East dating back before Alexander the Great’s invasion of Afghanistan in 330 BCE. Military actions by the United States in the Middle East and the Mediterranean began more than two centuries ago in confrontations with the Barbary pirates, and they continue today with conflicts not only in Afghanistan, but also Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The session will include comments by the facilitator, a DVD presentation on the topic (provided by the Foreign Policy Association), and an audience discussion of relevant questions.
Written by Max Fredric Volkmann, Academy Village volunteer