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Center for American Progress

: Afghanistan, Four Years Later: Progress, Problems, and Prospects for the Future
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Afghanistan, Four Years Later: Progress, Problems, and Prospects for the Future

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT

October 5, 2005

Afghanistan, Four Years Later: Progress, Problems, and Prospects for the Future

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, Afghanistan experts agree that the situation is tenuous. The Karzai government’s control over territory remains limited, drug production has skyrocketed, and economic reconstruction is moving slowly. Two panels of experts will assess the internal situation in Afghanistan – security, governance, economic development and reconstruction – and Afghanistan’s links to international terrorist networks and the implications for U.S. security.

First Panel: Progress and Problems: Taking Stock

James Dobbins, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND
Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University
Nazif Shahrani, Professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

Moderated by:
Karl F. Inderfurth, John O. Rankin Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Director of the Graduate Program in International Affairs, George Washington University; former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs

Second panel: Afghanistan: Implications for International Terrorism

Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars; Staff Writer, The New Yorker and former Managing Editor, The Washington Post
Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris: Why The West is Losing the War on Terror; former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit; and Adjunct Professor of Security Studies, Georgetown University
Ellen Laipson, President and CEO, Henry L. Stimson Center and former Vice Chairman, National Intelligence Council (NIC) 1997-2002
Ersel Aydinli, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington Universit

Moderated by:
Robert O. Boorstin, Senior Vice President for National Security,  Center for American Progress


•Video: Launch C-SPAN Footage (RealPlayer)

Afghanistant: Four Years After the Invasion

Full Text:  Panel 1 
Full Text: 
Panel 2


Dr. Ersel Aydinli is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is currently on leave from his position as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bilkent University in Ankara. Dr. Aydinli was a post-doctoral research fellow during the 2004-2005 academic year with the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Before pursuing an academic career, Dr. Aydinli served as an officer in the counter-terrorism department of the Istanbul police. He lectures frequently for international organizations, such as NATO, on counter-terrorism issues. Dr. Aydinli’s current research is on the evolution of non-state security actors with a focus on global Islamist terrorist networks. His works have appeared in such journals as International Studies Review, International Studies Perspectives, Current History, Security Dialogue, Middle Eastern Studies and World Today. He is the co-editor (with James Rosenau) of Globalization, Security and the Nation State: Paradigms in Transition (SUNY Press, 2005).

Robert O. Boorstin is the Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. Boorstin brings to American Progress more than twenty years experience in national security, political communications, research and journalism. Over seven years with the Clinton Administration, he worked as the President’s national security speechwriter; communications and foreign policy adviser to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin; and adviser on the developing world to Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Boorstin has worked on four U.S. presidential campaigns and advised political parties in Austria, Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere. As vice president of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research, he also advised some of the nation’s leading advocacy groups on international issues. Earlier in his career, Boorstin was a reporter for The New York Times. He received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1981 and his M. Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University in 1983.

Steve Coll became a Staff Writer at The New Yorker magazine in September of 2005. Previously he had been a Foreign Correspondent and Editor at The Washington Post since 1985. In 1989, he moved to New Delhi to become the Post’s South Asia correspondent. For three years he covered India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In 1992, he was appointed the Post’s first international investigative correspondent, based in London, from where he traveled widely to cover emerging trans-national subjects such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and global economic integration. His professional awards include a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for his series, with David A. Vise, about the SEC in 1990. His South Asia correspondence won the 1992 Livingston Award for outstanding foreign reporting. He received the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for his coverage of the civil war in Sierra Leone , as well as the Overseas Press Club Award for international magazine writing. His latest book, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004), won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross award for the best book on foreign affairs during the last two years, the Overseas Press Club award and the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book published on international affairs during 2004. Coll graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Cum Laude, from Occidental College in 1980 with a degree in English and history.

James Dobbins directs RAND’s International Security and Defense Policy Center. He has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. He has handled a variety of crisis management assignments as the Clinton Administration’s special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and the Bush Administration’s first special envoy for Afghanistan. He is the principal author of the two volume RAND History of Nation Building. In the wake of September 11, 2001, Mr. Dobbins was designated as the Bush Administration’s representative to the Afghan opposition. He helped organize and then represented the United States at the Bonn Conference, where a new Afghan government was formed. On Dec. 16, 2001, he raised the flag over the newly reopened U.S. Embassy. Earlier in his State Department career, Mr. Dobbins served twice as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, as Deputy Chief of Mission in Germany, and as Acting Assistant Secretary for Europe. He served three years in the U.S. Navy.

Ambassador Karl Inderfurth is the John O. Rankin Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Graduate Program in International Affairs, at George Washington University. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs (1997-2001), Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Global Humanitarian Demining (1997-98) and U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations, with ambassadorial rank, where he also served as Deputy U.S. Representative on the U.N. Security Council (1993-1997). Ambassador Inderfurth has worked as a national security and Moscow Correspondent for ABC News (1981-91) and received an Emmy Award in 1983. He has also served on the staffs of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees and the National Security Council. He co-authored Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council (2004), along with Professor Loch K. Johnson, and is a frequent op/ed contributor and commentator in the national media.

Ellen Laipson joined the Henry L. Stimson Center as President and Chief Executive Officer on April 1, 2002, after nearly 25 years of government service. Her previous positions in various foreign policy and national security institutions include: Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) 1997-2002; Acting Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production 2001-2002 (serving concurrently as Vice Chairman, NIC); Special Assistant to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 1995-1997; Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs, National Security Council 1993-1995; National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia 1990-1993; Member, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State 1986-1987; and Specialist in Middle East Affairs, Congressional Research Service 1979-1990. Ms. Laipson has written articles and book reviews in Foreign Affairs, The Journal of International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, The Middle East Journal, Middle East Policy, The MESA Bulletin, and Mediterranean Quarterly, and has been a contributing author to books on the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Mediterranean issues. She is a frequent speaker at symposia and conferences on Middle East issues, and on global issues and U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Laipson has an A.B. from Cornell University and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She reads and speaks Hebrew, Arabic and French.

Dr. Barnett Rubin served as Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, in November and December of 2001, during the negotiations that produced the Bonn Agreement. During 1994-2000 he was Director of the Center for Preventive Action, and Director, Peace and Conflict Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Afghanistan and the surrounding region, as well as on conflict prevention and peace building. Dr. Rubin was Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Central Asia at Columbia University from 1990 to 1996. From 1996-98 he served on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Previously, he was a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He received a Ph.D. (1982) and M.A. (1976) from the University of Chicago and a B.A. (1972) from Yale University. He also received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 1977-1978. Dr. Rubin has written numerous articles and book reviews on conflict prevention, state formation, and human rights. Dr. Rubin has authored, among others, the Blood on the Doorstep: the Politics of Preventing Violent Conflict (2002), Calming the Ferghana Valley: Development and Dialogue in the Heart of Central Asia (1999), Post-Soviet Political Order: Conflict and State Building (1998); The Search for Peace in Afghanistan: From Buffer State to Failed State (1995). His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Orbis, Survival, International Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere.

Dr. Michael F. Scheuer is the author of the bestselling Imperial Hubris, which was originally published anonymously, as required by the Central Intelligence Agency. He is also the author of Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, which was also published anonymously. Before resigning in November 2004, he served as head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit and worked for nearly two decades in national security issues related to Afghanistan, South Asia, and the Middle East. Scheuer’s writings also have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Antiwar.com, New York Times, Dallas Morning News, and The Washington Post. Scheuer has been featured on such national television news programs as Meet the Press, Nightline, 60 Minutes, and the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, as well as on international television news programs. Scheuer is an Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University, and is a regular contributor to the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus. Scheuer holds a B.A., two M.A.s, and a Ph. D.

Dr. Nazif Shahrani is a Professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University (IU) at Bloomington. He has also served as the Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program (2001-2004) at IU. He has conducted extensive ethnographic field research in Afghanistan, and studied Afghan refugee communities in Pakistan & Turkey. Since 1992 he has also conducted field research in post-Soviet Muslim republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. After September 11, 2001 he has contributed op-ed pieces on Afghanistan to The New York Times and the Herald Tribune, and gave numerous public lectures on the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan across the United States. He is currently working on a book entitled Post-Taliban Afghanistan: The Challenges of State-Building, Governance and Security. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Washington, Seattle.