Within a year of 9/11, the United States successfully invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban, installed a moderate and popular government, and established good relations between the country and its neighbors.
What was the secret behind this remarkable success? Why is it that Iraq would prove much harder? And how is it that the Taliban is currently making a comeback?
Ambassador James Dobbins, the Bush administration's first Special Envoy for Afghanistan, gives his first-hand impressions of the quest for a stabilized Afghanistan- World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C.
Ambassador James F. Dobbins
Ambassador James F. Dobbins was appointed by Secretary of State John Kerry as the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan on May 10, 2013.
Ambassador Dobbins most recently served as director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. Dobbins has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. Dobbins has had numerous crisis management and diplomatic troubleshooting assignments as the Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations' special envoy for Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia. Diplomatic assignments include the withdrawal of American forces from Somalia, the American-led multilateral intervention in Haiti, the stabilization and reconstruction of Bosnia, and the NATO intervention in Kosovo. In the wake of September 11, 2001, he was named as the Bush administration's representative to the Afghan opposition with the task of putting together and installing a broadly based successor to the Taliban regime. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghan government, and, on December 16, 2001, he raised the flag over the newly reopened U.S. Embassy.