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American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

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    Ever since last year’s horrific attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan’s government has gone into overdrive to convince the world that its attitude toward terrorism has changed.

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    No longer focusing on domestic security, Italy has ambition of being a greater provider of security in the Mediterranean and Middle East. But if its past performance in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan is any indication, Italy will have to change how it invests in defense to be capable of those dreams.

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    The July 19th attacks may well have been a watershed: two decades after the first Chechen war, the Russian Jihad may be reaching a tipping point at which the center of gravity of militant Islamic fundamentalism has begun to shift from the North Caucasus to the more urban and densely populated European Russian heartland, the home of 13 million Muslims, especially Tatars and Bashkirs.

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    Obama has split the difference on almost every military decision of his reign, with disastrous consequences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, you name it. He has now charted a course toward yet another disaster in South Asia.

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    We are losing in Afghanistan, again. Security is deteriorating. The Taliban seized and briefly held the capital of an important province north of Kabul. They are threatening another one a short drive southwest of Kabul. U.S. forces destroyed two Al Qaeda training camps in Kandahar, one very large.

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    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives in Washington this week to discuss Afghanistan security with President Obama. However as exampled by the replacement of national-security adviser Sartaj Aziz, foreign and defense policy seem primarily under the control of the army. This trend is being furthered in-part by US reliance on the Pakistani military for gains in Afghanistan.

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    As active NATO deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq draw down, member NATO states are also beginning to draw down their ground force capabilities. Guillaume Lasconjarias explains that this is a mistake, as drawing down land operability imposes a grave cost on success in future deployments.

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    American leaders have long debated the magnitude of the threat enemy groups in Afghanistan pose to the US. They have generally accepted that the US can allow groups with only local objectives to persist as long as they do not threaten to overthrow the Afghan government.

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    The Obama Administration recently celebrated the destruction of a major Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, which sounds like good news. Except for one problem.

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    Did it ever occurred to the Times -- or Obama, for that matter -- that the president’s efforts to “end” Bush’s wars are precisely what ended up extending them?

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    The plight of child soldiers in Afghanistan is a tragedy, but the only real solution to the problem is the creation of a stable and enduring peace.

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    Things aren’t going so well in Afghanistan these days. The Obama administration plans to reduce America’s presence there by only about half as much as it originally intended, from the current level of 9,800 to 8,400 instead of 5,500 by the end of 2016.

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    The world’s focus on ISIS and the Iraqi-led coalition in Mosul have overshadowed the insurgency plaguing Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgency has regained strength and capability in many areas of Afghanistan, including critical provinces close to the capital, as American and coalition forces have drawn down.

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    The fact is, most murders in Chicago are concentrated in certain high-crime neighborhoods where most outsiders never venture. Most Americans would not set foot in Afghanistan, unless they were sent there by the U.S. military, the press, or international organizations. But millions of Americans visit Chicago every year.

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    Local translators in Iraq and Afghanistan play an instrumental role in helping the US military achieve its objectives, often at great risk to themselves and their families. Although programs such as the Special Immigrant Visa provide pathways to the US for local translators facing security threats, many still find themselves in their home countries, targeted by extremists for their work.

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    This AEI Events Podcast features a discussion between AEI Visiting Scholar Paul Wolfowitz and General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus on the critical role interpreters play in the US military.

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    Until and unless Pakistan becomes convinced that interfering in Afghanistan is too dangerous and too costly, no realistic US military scenario in Afghanistan can succeed.

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    Resident Scholar Michael Rubin discussed President Trump's new strategy in Afghanistan.

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    Resident Scholar Michael Rubin discusses President Trump's Afghanistan strategy.

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    The policy President Trump just announced is yet another change in the kaleidoscopic strategy the US has pursued in Afghanistan since 9/11. It is largely a positive one, though not without its flaws.

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