Changing the Afghan cycle of conflict from the outside, in
Hunter, Marcus S.
Rothstein, Hy S.
Gregg, Heather S.
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This study explores the cyclical nature of conflict in Afghanistan and the elusive condition of stability as coalition forces begin their anticipated drawdown in 2011, and complete transition of security to Afghan forces in 2014. Assuming that the basic societal elements of stability require a balancing of political, economic, and security structures to form a sense of national cohesion, this study seeks to determine if national cohesion is sufficient enough to break the cycle of conflict; and if so, what strategy with neighboring countries will foster this cohesion in order to disrupt the cycle of conflict? A regional approach is necessary to buttress any internal strategies attempted within Afghanistan; but to do so, the alliance of partner nations must first begin small and then grow from a strong central core. The core players in the region are Iran, India, and Pakistan, but the nature of their self-interested interactions has proven unprofitable and unsustainable in the long-term. To the degree that these countries can be assisted to move beyond their pursuance of self-interests, to form a cooperative regional alliance, then the goal of regional stability, as well as stability in Afghanistan, can become a reality.
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