Over the past two years, the United States has made enormous strides in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has undertaken a devastating campaign against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as members of the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. This military pressure has made Americans safer—Osama bin Laden and dozens of other top Al Qaeda leaders are dead, U.S. and NATO troops casualties are down in Afghanistan, and the Afghan government has been given the breathing room it needs to bolster its security forces and its governing institutions.
U.S. policy is now entering a new and complex phase of this conflict, where diplomatic efforts in support of a robust political strategy for Afghanistan and the region will become even more essential. This effort should not become a political football in the coming election season—it needs strong bipartisan support here at home.This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.