INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS & SECURITY
Hard policy options in Afghanistan and lessons learned
HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf hosted two conversations recently on the lessons from the 20-year American war in Afghanistan, which ended with President Joe Biden’s recent withdrawal of U.S. troops. The first, a “Dean’s Discussion,” featured Professor Meghan O’Sullivan, who served in the Bush administration in the years after the 9/11 terror attacks, and Lecturer in Public Policy Eric Rosenbach, a former Army intelligence officer who later held senior Pentagon positions. Also joining the conversation was Farah Pandith, an HKS senior fellow who brought perspectives as an American diplomatic expert and a Muslim-American. In the second event, Elmendorf spoke with Professor Ash Carter, the former secretary of defense and now director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Reflecting on the costly 20-year conflict and the withdrawal, the guests aired views on what went wrong and what policy lessons the United States should learn.