In November 2001, the United States had essentially accomplished its goal of overthrowing the Taliban regime that harbored al Qaeda.  Eight years later, the United States finds itself at a strategic crossroads, facing a resurgent Taliban insurgency that retains links to al Qaeda. This panel presents views on the current situation and possible directions for U.S. policy.

Fotini Christia is Assistant Professor of Political Science at MIT. She completed her PhD in Public Policy at Harvard University in 2008. Her research deals with issues of ethnicity and civil wars.  Fotini is presently working on evaluating the impact of community driven development efforts in Afghanistan.  She most recently published a piece on reconciling with the Taliban in the July/August 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs, and has also worked in the Middle East and Central Asia writing on her experiences from  Afghanistan, Iran, the West Bank and Gaza, and Uzbekistan for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.

Austin Long is an assistant professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he teaches international security policy and strategic studies. He was previously an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation.  In 2007-2008, he was an analyst and adviser to Multi-National Force-Iraq; in 2009 he conducted research in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  His work has been published in International Security, Survival, The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, and The American Interest.

Abraham Wagner is an Adjunct Professor at SIPA and Research Fellow at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies. He teaches in the areas of national security, defense policy, counter-terrorism and intelligence.  Wagner has published a number of books, including a four-volume series with Anthony Cordesman titled Lessons of Modern War.  Volume II – The Afghan and Falkland Conflicts, is an analysis of Soviet military operations in Afghanistan.  Wagner has received a BA, an MA, and a PhD in political science and international relations as well as a JD degree, and also teaches at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzilya, Israel.  He previously served for 30 years in the federal government at the National Security Council Staff, the Intelligence Community Staff, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and as a member of various government boards and advisory panels.

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