Michael A. Cohen

Only the U.S. Military Is Hopeful About Afghanistan
October 12, 2010

Arriving in Kabul the first thing that hits you is the aura and aroma of dust. It covers the capital city in a hazy sheen and, more to the point, in a distinct and powerful odor. Considering that Kabul reportedly has one of the highest percentages of atmospheric fecal matter in the world it's the sort of smell that, at least initially, strikes you in the face. It offers a useful preview of the more powerful smack of gloom that seems so evident in Afghanistan today.

All Silent on the Lefty Front
June 11, 2010

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a 151-page report outlining the increasingly grim situation in Afghanistan. The paper highlighted the Afghan government (and its security services) lack of capability; the enduring challenge of endemic corruption and poor governance; and the Taliban insurgency’s ability to maintain influence—often via intimidation—across broad swaths of the country. These challenges have already undermined U.S. military operations in Marjah, and could threaten the upcoming summer offensive planned for Kandahar, the heart of the Taliban insurgency. The entire U.S.

DISPUTATIONS: False Dichotomy
October 29, 2009

This summer, Stephen Biddle wrote one of the more influential and oft-cited articles in support of the current U.S. mission in Afghanistan. In "Is It Worth It?" in The American Interest, Biddle argued that by the narrowest of margins, the United States had strategic interests that necessitated the maintenance of a robust military presence in Afghanistan. In "Is There a Middle Way?" in the most recent issue of TNR, Biddle has focused instead on the operational elements of U.S. engagement in Afghanistan.