President Obama has identified Afghanistan and Pakistan as key priorities on his foreign policy agenda and is likely to call on Europe to assist in his efforts to bring stability to the region. Carnegie's Gilles Dorronsoro led a roundtable discussion on why it is critical for both Europe and the United States to consider the myriad of perspectives within Afghanistan and throughout South Asia as they attempt to address the mounting challenges in the region.

Experts emphasized that success, no matter how it is defined, can only be achieved through a coordinated international effort to improve both internal Afghan economic development and security. An essential part of ensuring the latter is targeting Taliban safe havens in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

Other highlights included...

  • Dorronsoro suggested that the current attempt to create a rift within the Taliban is unlikely to work — the Taliban perceive themselves as gaining ground in the conflict and suspect that the NATO alliance is likely to withdraw in the near future.
  • Without markets, logistic chains, and security, the Afghan economy will not be able to move away from poppy seed production.
  • Both India and Pakistan need to be fully integrated into future Western strategies. Defeating the Taliban will not be possible without action in the FATA.
  • India and Pakistan will need to improve their relationship in order to combat strategic measures, such as the November Lashkar-e-Taiba attacks on Mumbai,  taken or encouraged by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda  to take Pakistan's military attention away from the FATA and combatting terrorism.