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Afghan civil war period
Warlords still around
That one who returned recently

Taliban territory: Life in Afghanistan under the militants

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Gulbudin (Gulbodin Hekmatyar) Afghanistan 1993 The Civil War Archives Flashback

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Warlord, Returns to City He Left in Ruins

Afghan warlord Hekmatyar returns to Kabul after peace deal

Inside The Taliban [National Geographic]

Sebastian Junger Afghanistan Revealed Ahmad Shah Massoud and the Northern alliance

Afghan Civil War (1989–92)

Afghan Civil War (1992–96)

Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)

Iranian Revolution

Iran history timeline [read up to 1988]

Shah of Iran flees into exile

Video: Iranian Revolution documentary

The Age of Unsatisfying Wars - John Nagl

At West Point, Asking if a War Doctrine Was Worth It -

James Mann (Rise of the Vulcans)

Soviet Union in Afghanistan

Timeline: Soviet war in Afghanistan (BBC News)

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the US response

Video: Soldiers of God (CNN Cold War) (46 minutes)


a. Who are the Taliban?" (FRONTLINE)

Read the introductory screen and then hover over each of the following tabs under "A Timeline to Power"

The Taliban Emerge (1994)
The Fall of Kandahar and Kabul (1996)
New Order Under Sharia Law (1996 to 1998)
Sanctions, Atrocities and Reprisals (1999 to 2001)
Taliban In Retreat, Karzai on the Rise (2002 to 2005)
The Taliban Are Back (2005)
Afghanistan: A New Iraq? (2006)
The Poppy Rises (2006 to 2007)
A New Offensive (2007)

b. Who are the Taliban? (BBC News)

c. Afghanistan: Before and after the Taliban

Evolution of Bush Doctrine: Broad strokes summary

Even prior to his candidacy for the Presidency
As he began his tutorials
Cheney as his VP running mate
Once he became President on 20 January 2001

Cheney in charge of transition; planting fellow neo-cons in key places
Paths To Power - Nixon Administration | Rumsfeld's War

Powell as Secretary of State; seemingly going to be the powerful one
Might influence military policy as well

Condoleezza Rice as National Security Council (NSC) advisor

Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense; his long alliance with Cheney

Prior to 9/11, it was still unclear what Bush's policies would be

9/11 changed the playing field

Role of George Tenet and the CIA in Afghanistan

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)

The Iran-Iraq War (25 years later)

The beauty and the horror of the Iran-Iraq war

Legacy of the Iran-Iran war lives on

Gulf War

Iraq invades Kuwait (1990)

The Gulf War (1991)

Video: Gulf War (20th Century Battlefields)

US invasion of Afghanistan

U.S. Army Captain Jason Amerine | Campaign Against Terror | FRONTLINE
[He was the A-Team leader who made sure Hamid Karzai stayed alive}

U.S. attack on Afghanistan

What will Trump do about Afghanistan?

US military operations in Afghanistan

Battle Company is Out There (Korengal Valley)

U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder (Korengal Valley)
Read each of the 4 pages of the article

Video: The War Briefing (56:06) 2008 Korengal Valley

US military approach in Afghanistan

Counter-insurgency (COIN) versus counter-terrorism (CT)

a. Who is/was our main enemy: Taliban
1. Our war aims sort of got mixed up between [initially] going after Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda with the continuous conflict against the Taliban insurgency.
2. Taliban: natives to Afghanistan>>>>Counter-Insurgency (COIN)
3. Al Qaeda (foreign fighters)>>>>Counter-terrorism (CT)

b. How has the US approached the war?
We have flip-flopped on our approach:

c.. Counter-insurgency (COIN) [nation-building] to defeat the Taliban
1. But we limited ourselves to a "light footprint."
2. US Political issue of wanting to avoid NATION BUILDING

d. Counter-terrorism (CT) [to defeat Al Qaeda]
1. 2003 US invasion of Iraq
2. Light footprint got lighter after we got involved in Iraq; resources diverted to Iraq
3. Total number of US troops ultimately in both Afghanistan and Iraq [get that good graph]

Issues in the debate over how to proceed: COIN versus CT

COIN: we have to work through the Afghan government. That has problems.

CT: we can do this through raids on high-value targets. That has problems, too.

Big unanswered questions:
What is the nature of the current insurgency?
Can the Afghan government defeat it?

Influence of Pakistan on the Afghan war

Madrassas (Saudi Time Bomb FRONTLINE)

"Even Where Pakistani Law Exists, Taliban Find a Porous Border"

Interview: Lt. Col. John Nagl (ret.) | Obama's War

Video: Return of the Taliban FRONTLINE 2006 (54:53)
[a report about the Pakistan tribal areas]

Pakistan's role in the Afghan conflict

In their own country: main enemy is India to the east.

They want a weak Afghanistan (one they can control) on their west.

Key to our war in Afghanistan: Pakistan provides a sanctuary for our enemy (Al Qaeda as well as Taliban).

Porous border (1,500 miles long) between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Some comparative examples:
Length of Mexico-US border=1,950 miles
Distance Boston to Miami=1,500 miles
Distance Seattle-San Diego=1,250 miles

Three different aspects to this Pakistan issue:

a) Pakistan's choice after 9/11. Support US.
But they have played off both ends against the middle since then.
Is Pakistan an ally of the US or an enemy or both (frenemy)?

b) Pakistan as a sanctuary for the enemy. But nuances within this view.

c) What if US withdraws?

This is one part of the dilemma from Pakistan's point of view.

Current issues in Afghanistan

Afghan Taliban reach is the widest since 2001, per United Nations report

Afghanistan's hidden Taliban government

The Women of Afghanistan (Photos)

Tasked with combating opium, Afghan officials profit from it

The Karzai years: from hope to recrimination

Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani

The Afghan War and the Evolution of Obama