Afghan security personnel keep watch at the site of a suicide attack outside a bank near the US embassy in Kabul on August 29, 2017. A suicide bomber blew himself up on a busy shopping street near the US embassy in central Kabul on August 29, killing four people and injuring several others, officials said. It was the latest in a series of deadly attacks to hit the Afghan capital, and comes three months after a massive truck bomb ripped through the same area, killing about 150 people.

President Trump announced a new military strategy for Afghanistan last week, promising to send more U.S. troops to train and support Afghan security forces. The President also demanded that Pakistan “do more” to counter Islamic militant groups in the region or face possible sanctions or reductions in aid. We discuss the 16-year-old Afghan war and what the U.S. hopes to achieve at this stage.

Stephen Biddle, professor of political science and international affairs, George Washington University;adjunct senior fellow for defense policy, Council on Foreign Relations

Andrew Wilder vice president, Asia programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Sixteen Years In, U.S Deepens Military Involvement in Afghanistan 30 August,2017Michael Krasny


    Adding more American troops in Afghanistan will achieve anything except only to increase the exponential death of innocent Afghani civilians and young American soldiers, the mountainous nature of the country and the hardened nature of their Taliban fighters, makes it real difficult to engage into conventional war, again more troops will cause more innocent civilian death, and early untimely death of young American soldiers which is already happening every day…..THE U S SHOULD HAVE LEARNED FROM THE HUMILIATING DEFEAT OF THE RUSSIANS DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN IN THE 1970’S, as well as it is a well know fact for thousands of years since the time of Alexandre the great as he found out too late when he died their that it is near impossible for foreign armies to rule or even succeed in occupying Afghanistan….


    It real sad to see pictures of Afghanistan before the American invasion when you could see college girls dressed in mini skirts and how civilized the city of Kabul was with beautiful building and great roads to women dressed like mummies and the whole country looks like pile of ruined structure and the whole country lies in total waste…….Sad.

  • Skip Conrad

    What happens to the opium grown in Afghanistan? Is the war all about the opium poppy, as the Iraq war was about oil?

    • geraldfnord

      My guess is that it’s mostly fear of a secure base for terrorists—sometimes they try to fool us by telling the truth—and a continuation of the Great Game.

      You can do much better than opium pretty cheaply; this would be clearer if bootleggers 0.) had some decent quality control, 1.) diluted their (e.g.) fentanyl with innocuous cuts so that fewer users would get dead accidentally—that is, if they behaved like responsible drugs-dealers in for the long haul.

  • jakeleone

    The fighting will never end so long as the people their hate the west and Pakistan continues to harbor terrorist groups.

    We get daily threats from North Korea, because China supports a Boy-King.

    Something that the people of the U.S. must realize deeply, is that the two big problems North Korea and North Pakistan are problems caused by the negligence of other countries. We can’t do this alone.

  • Baron

    There is a prominent political force that is advocating for pashtun nationalism. His name is Hekmatyar. He seeks to divide the country instead of unite the country by virtue of advocating that all non Pashtuns should leave the country as they are not true afghans. We don’t see this on our media, but thankfully I have good friends who understand the politics of the country who can filter out the misconception that the U.S. is there solely for opium.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    The crying need and opportunity of our era is to combine military defense measures with public education for peaceful conflict resolution and transformation to a better life and society. An inter-cultural offering for Good Will Wisdom Values for peace is available at It will take political courage for the United States to allocate concrete resources — and thus start experimenting effectively with this approach — but oh, will it prove worthwhile.

    • Baron

      Philosophically, it would be a nice plan. Practically, more military defense is needed than public education for this country due to the tribal and ethnic conflicts.

  • geraldfnord

    Contractors’ actions will be less under our control, but we’ll be blamed completely for their excesses.

    Next: the head of Good Humor editorialises that what we need in Afghanistan is ‘more ice cream’.

  • William – SF

    The Plan: take piles and piles of lives, money, and resources and spend them year after year because terrorists are our enemy.

  • geraldfnord

    D.T. sees no contradiction in his China policy because he believes he can bully or charm exactly what he wants out of anyone.

    More ominously, and to repeat myself in these precincts:
    When asked why other countries would agree to ‘deals’ greatly favourable to us, D.T. responded `we’ll make them’.

    That worked for Britain in the Opium Wars, but 0.) asymmetric conflict is deadlier now to the stronger power, and 1.) those left China with a massive chip on its shoulder, and also encouraged Imperial Japan to get big and nasty quickly to avoid it’s happening to them.

  • Curious

    Barry left a hot mess.

  • commonsense1234

    The only way this conflict will end will be when the Pakistani ISI stops supporting the Taliban. So the real question is how can we get Pakistan to stop supporting them?

    The other options:
    a) More US troops: We tried that with 100K+ troops during Obama – did not work
    b) Bring in China and/or India as a military advisors: Pakistan would be against India’s participation and China has no reason to help unless they think it will further their business interests (mining) in the country. Again, with the NK issue – no Chinese interest unless India is asked as well.
    c) Pull out: Afghan govt will fall and all of the Western leaning folks in the country will become refugees and then we will have to invade again if there is another 911, but the Taliban is not interested in overseas terrorism.
    d) Status quo: Tolerate the long-term costs and continue operations that decapitate the Taliban leadership (“mowing the grass”)

    Again without Pakistan’s vigorous agreement to whatever the peace plan is, any hope of pulling troops out is folly.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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