So will it be with the latest Western effort to fashion and direct the Afghan future. A measure of stability is possible following the decade-long Western involvement, if the Taliban can be confined to majority-Pashtun areas, if the non-Taliban North can resist Taliban incursion, if the influence of neighboring countries can help maintain an equilibrium of competing forces, and if Western nations—particularly America—exercise deft regional diplomacy combined with a measure of restraint commensurate with their ability to influence regional events.
After ten years of efforts to shape Afghan society in ways favorable to Western interests, the long-term societal and geopolitical consequences of Western engagement are very different from those envisaged in 2002.
Michael Hart is a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer who served in Afghanistan from 2008–09 and was director of defense studies for the RAF from 2010–11. The views expressed in the article are his alone and do not represent those of Her Majesty’s Government or the UK Ministry of Defence.
This article was derived entirely from open-source, unclassified material. The author is happy to provide his extensive original footnotes and bibliography upon request.