As Barack Obama strains to determine the next phase of his Afghanistan policy, TNR has pulled some of our most informative archived pieces on military action in the country. They cover the Soviet invasion, the rise of the Taliban, and America's eight-year involvement after 9/11.
"Obama vs. Osama" by Michael Crowley, December 24, 2008. Crowley lays out the choices that Obama faces in Afghanistan, after the president called for more military involvement there during the campaign.
"A Man, A Plan, Afghanistan" by Peter Bergen, September 24, 2008. Bergen discusses the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and suggests a plan to beat Al Qaeda.
"Hit the Ground" by the Editors, November 19, 2001. TNR's editors make the case that the United States cannot fight and win a war in Afghanistan only with air power, and that ground troops will ultimately be needed.
"Why Are We In Afghanistan?" by Robert Wright, September 4, 1989. Wright discusses the difference between U.S. rhetoric and reality in Afghanistan. American intervention was ultimately about pushing back the Soviets, he notes, and we don't necessarily want the mujahedin to govern.
"The Afghan Ayatollah" by Robert D. Kaplan, November 21, 1988. Kaplan writes about Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahedin leader and eventual prime minister of Afghanistan. He discusses the implications of supporting Afghan allies who are ideologically similar to the Ayatollahs of Iran.
"The Afghan Resistance" by Tom Ricks, June 20, 1982. Ricks reviews several books about the Afghan resistance, and discusses how the Soviets do not understand that the enemy they are fighting. Ricks predicts that the Soviets will ultimately fail in their effort to secure the country.