Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Art of the Possible
American efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan are at a turning point. Budget pressures at home, Osama bin Laden's death in Pakistan, the impending arrival of a new American ambassador and new military chain of command in Afghanistan, the beginning of the drawdown of American troops, and a new mood in Congress all are converging in a way that raises fundamental questions about the future of U.S. engagement in the region. Primary responsibility for stabilization must shift from internationals (mainly Americans) to Afghans over the next 2-4 years. On June 14, 2011, more than 200 policymakers and experts participated in an invitation-only, full-day working meeting at CSIS to discuss a realistic way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The main topics discussed were Afghan governance, the Afghan security sector, and Pakistani cooperation: what accomplishments are essential, which are not essential, and what lasting gains can realistically be achieved?