Fifteen years after the American-led international military intervention, Afghanistan faces mounting security, governance, and economic challenges. The Afghan Army and police remain highly dependent on U.S. combat power and the provision of significant amounts of technical and financial assistance. Early during its first term, the Trump Administration will need to decide on its long-term policy toward Afghanistan and Central-South Asia. Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador and Coalition Commander in Afghanistan, and Erik Jensen, the faculty director of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project at the Stanford Law School, will provide their assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and discuss U.S. strategic options.
Karl Eikenberry is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center, and a Stanford University Professor of Practice. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011 and had a 35-year career in the United States Army, retiring with the rank of lieutenant general. His military assignments included postings with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United States, Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan as the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces from 2005–2007. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and Stanford University in Political Science, was awarded an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and has an advanced degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University. He is also the recipient of the George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service and Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from North Carolina State University in December 2015. Ambassador Eikenberry is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a board member of The Asia Foundation and council member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. His articles and essays on U.S. and international security issues have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Washington Quarterly, American Foreign Policy Interests, American Interest, New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Financial Times.
Erik Jensen holds joint appointments at Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He is Professor of the Practice, Director of the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School, an Affiliated Core Faculty at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and Senior Advisor for Governance and Law at The Asia Foundation. Jensen began his international career as a Fulbright Scholar. He has taught and practiced in the field of law and development for 30 years and has carried out fieldwork in 35 developing countries. He lived in Asia for 14 years. He has led or advised research teams on governance and the rule of law at the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank.