Debate series

20 years after 9-11: Counter-terrorism at a Crossroads in Afghanistan


Conversation with Khalid Koser, Executive Director, GCERF

20 years after 9/11, it is clear that the threat of terrorism to global security has not receded. There are concerns that Afghanistan will once again become a safe haven for international terrorist movements, and that the Taliban’s victory will embolden violent extremism worldwide, accelerating their already growing appeal and reach in areas as diverse as the southern Philippines, Syria and Iraq, the Sahel, and northern Mozambique. It is also clear that international efforts to counter-terrorism have been largely ineffective. They have tended to view local conflicts through the prism of terrorism, overlooking underlying factors like social and economic grievances; they have had unclear objectives that have evolved in response to political expediency rather than the nature of the threat; and they have overwhelmingly relied on military responses, which in many cases have only generated more resentment. As military forces withdraw, not just from Afghanistan but also the Sahel, it is not clear what comes next. Drawing from lessons learned from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), this briefing charts a direction for a new approach to counter-terrorism.

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