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7 Things You Need to Read About the Future of Afghanistan

Photo: Shutterstock/Jiri Flogel

“We are the frontline, but the terrorists neither recognize boundaries nor require passports to spread their message of hate,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Congress on Wednesday. His hour-long address to a joint meeting of Congress followed President Obama’s commitment to suspend the withdrawal of U.S. forces for the rest of this year —  nearly 10,000 American troops to help Afghan forces fight the Taliban and other insurgent forces.

American lawmakers praised Ghani’s remarks—they were, in the words of Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, “quite extraordinary.” Ghani, who was educated in the U.S. and worked with the World Bank, is invested in garnering US help to counter terror threats (he said Sunni extremists of the Islamic State are already “test[ing] for vulnerabilities”). But Ghani also spoke about the future, expressing his devotion to the goal of creating a “self-sustaining Afghanistan” that could contribute to a vibrant world economy, shore up women’s rights and become “the graveyard of al-Qaeda and their foreign terrorist associates.”

Want to know more about the past, present and future for Afghanistan and its charismatic president? We’ve put together a great place for you to start.

As U.S. draws down, can Ghani brake Afghanistan’s economic slide?

By Tom A. Peter, Christian Science Monitor

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told Congress Wednesday that his country was trying to stand on its own feet, but the US government has poured nearly $1 trillion in war and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Why U.S. troops need to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2016

By Peter Bergen, CNN

President Obama is planning withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by end of 2016, but some experts believe the move would invite the kind of chaos we’ve seen in Iraq.

Afghanistan’s Team of Rivals

By Mujib Mashal, Al Jazeera America

Can two former political foes overcome a bitter election stalemate to combat the country’s endemic corruption?

A Step Forward For Afghan Women?

By Elizabeth Weingarten and Leila Hilal, Foreign Policy

Afghanistan is about to launch a plan that will promote the role of women in peacemaking. It took a lot of hard work to convince men that women should play an equal role and the battle isn’t over yet.

No Good Men Among the Living

By Anand Gopal, The Weekly Wonk

This book excerpt explores what makes Afghans join the Taliban and how they came to be the enemy of the United States.

My Terrifying Night With Afghanistan’s Only Female Warlord

By Jen Percy, The New Republic

Trapped overnight in her household because of a snowstorm, Jen Percy opens up with the only female warlord in Afghanistan.

How to Rebuild a Broken State

By Ashraf Ghani, TED Talks

Now the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani gives a TED talk in 2006 that emphasizes the necessity of both economic investment and design ingenuity to rebuild broken states.