Afghanistan on the Brink, Part 1


The following is the first in a two-part series by Ioannis Koskinas, a Senior Fellow at New America, assessing the risks to the Afghan state. In this first part of the series, Koskinas examines the real but constrained military threat to the Afghan government. The second-half will focus on the risk of a political meltdown.

Pericles, immortalized by Thucydides, told the Athenians some 2,500 years ago, “I am more afraid of our own mistakes than of our enemies’ designs.” Some have raised concerns over the Taliban’s battlefield plans in 2016 and the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan. Yet the Afghan government’s own failure to learn the lessons of the 2015 fighting season is a far greater cause for concern than some brilliant Taliban strategy to topple the government and seize territory.