Article Review: Terrorism in Afghanistan

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Terrorism in Afghanistan: A Critical Review of the Literature

This paper provides a critical review of two articles concerning terrorism in Afghanistan, including the respective international relations theory used by the authors. A summary of both articles is followed by an analysis of the theoretical approaches applied to the situation in Afghanistan at the time of writing. Finally, this paper provides an evaluation of the usefulness of both theories in analyzing terrorism in Afghanistan.

"Saving Afghanistan" by B. Rubin. Although it has not yet become an international basket-case, Rubin suggests that unless the United States reassesses is approach to the war in Afghanistan soon, the country will likely become a failed state where Taliban-sponsored terrorists have completely free rein once again. For example, Rubin emphasizes that, "For decades -- not only since 2001 -- U.S. policymakers have underestimated the stakes in Afghanistan. They continue to do so today. A mere course correction will not be enough to prevent the country from sliding into chaos" (2006, p. 57). Compounding the problem is the foreign policy approach that has been applied to the situation in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In this regard, Rubin maintains that despite the American and NATO forces deployed to the country, there remains far too few boots on the ground and the foreign aid needed to reverse the growing perception among Afghanis and their neighbors that the country is not a high priority for the United States. In addition, Rubin argues that the U.S. has consistently failed to accurately gauge the situation in Afghanistan as evinced by its "pandering" to Pakistani leaders, focusing its military resources on Iraq, devoted far too little foreign aid to Afghanistan and failing to follow-up its short-term gains following the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the subsequent military operations by the U.S.-led coalition that drove Al-Qaeda into Pakistan. The Taliban has taken advantage of these failures by consolidating its position in the mountainous border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan and has continued to actively recruit new insurgents to its cause. Indeed, the dire economic circumstances faced by the Afghani people make the country ripe for increased Islamic fundamentalist influence, and the series of broken promises of more support and resources by the United States have made the country's leadership untenable. Rubin maintains that both short-term transitional initiatives are required as well as a long-term commitment to creating an effective state in Afghanistan. In sum, Rubin posits that, "U.S. policymakers have misjudged Afghanistan, misjudged Pakistan, and, most of all, misjudged their own capacity to carry out major strategic change on the cheap" (2006, p. 78).

Article No. 2: "Market civilization and its clash with terror" by M. Mousseau. This author argues that the war on terrorism in Afghanistan is doomed to failure unless and until the United States can "win the hearts and minds" of the Afghani people. In this regard, Mousseau maintains that the main objective of the war on terrorism is not to kill all of the terrorists, but rather to improve national security of the U.S. And its allies. According to Mousseau, "If al-Qaeda and its associated groups represent the values and beliefs of substantial numbers of people, and all signs indicate that this is the case, then defeating these groups will not end the struggle against terror" (2002-2003, p. 5). Citing a fundamental lack of understanding of the predicament faced by the Afghani people, Mousseau makes the point that any military strategy applied to Afghanistan must be accompanied by a concomitant well-informed political strategy that is capable of changing the values and beliefs of terrorist supporters. Such a political strategy must take into account the rational and cultural factors that result in a country's support of terrorists in the first place. The rational explanation would involve the use of asymmetrical approaches to the overwhelming military might of the U.S., while cultural explanations would focus on the values and beliefs… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Terrorism in Afghanistan.  (2011, February 23).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/terrorism-afghanistan/9717637

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"Terrorism in Afghanistan."  Essaytown.com.  February 23, 2011.  Accessed October 16, 2019.
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