HKS Authors

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Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs


Even last week’s swearing in of Ryan Crocker -- one of the most talented U.S. diplomats -- as ambassador to Kabul seems unable to stanch the perception that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan are waning. Most Americans take solace in the notion that, in President Barack Obama’s words, “the tide of wars is receding,” regardless of whether the administration can tie its disengagement to success. But for Afghans and others in the region, Obama’s decision in June to start bringing U.S. forces home, beginning with a withdrawal of all 33,000 surge troops by September 2012, is the start of a post-American Afghanistan that is certain to be marked by regional competition and more battles with extremism. Is there any way to recapture momentum in Afghanistan?


O'Sullivan, Meghan. "To Exit Afghanistan, We Should Say We’ll Stay." Bloomberg View, August 2, 2011.