Tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 1, World Affairs Council of Charleston (WAC) will host Jarrett Blanc, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C. This event is part of the WAC Speaker Series and begins at 5:15 pm with a reception and the lecture will follow at 6:00 pm.
Topic: ‘After 18 years – The Good News – Hope on the Horizon: Ending the ‘Endless War’ in Afghanistan – The Reality: Anything but Easy.’
Description: The U.S. war in Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001, three weeks after the 9/11 attack. We struck the Taliban government in Kabul sheltering Osama bin Ladin. The Taliban were driven out, a new Afghan government was established, elections were held, and Afghanistan embarked on a new course. Up to 100,000 U.S. troops, plus large allied forces, maintained peace and stability. Over 18 years, hundreds of billions of dollars were spent. Sheltered in neighboring Pakistan, the Taliban regrouped to attack U.S. and Afghan security forces, at a cost of 2500 U.S. casualties and thousands wounded. U.S. forces now total 14,000 with Afghan forces bearing the brunt of attacks. President Trump seeks to end our U.S. military presence. Formal talks with the Taliban, held in Qatar, are described as very promising, perhaps close to a peace agreement, but the obstacles are enormous. Meanwhile, Taliban territorial control in Afghanistan is expanding. Devastating terrorist strikes on Kabul and other cities continue. In addition, driven out of Iraq and Syria, ISIS is now a growing terrorist force to be reckoned with. In short, we face an extremely difficult situation.
Jarrett Blanc was the Deputy and later Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the State Department. He played a key role in developing and implementing the security assistance program for Afghanistan, mediated the Afghan election process, led efforts to spark an Afghan-led peace process, and negotiated the Taliban’s release of Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl. He previously managed the first election process in Iraq and for many years specialized in managing complex governance operations in conflict-prone areas such as Kosovo, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon and Nepal. He twice received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award and also the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service, its highest civilian award.
Mr. Blanc is widely published, has lectured at several universities, and has been a visiting scholar at various policy institutes. He is a graduate of Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities.
(Image and content credit WAC website)