Expert Voices

Without a political solution, no end in sight for Kabul attacks

Afghan security personnel standing next to burnt-out car
Afghan security personnel gather next to the vehicle that was used in a suicide bombing in Kabul on November 16, 2017, killing at least nine people. Photo: Shah Marai / AFP / Getty Images

Since recent attacks in Kabul have come amid a low point in U.S.–Pakistan relations, they have been viewed as a possible signal of displeasure from Pakistan’s military establishment—known for close links with militant groups—over the Trump administration’s cuts in security assistance.

Yet what they most reveal is the resilience of the Taliban, which still has the power to inflict mass civilian casualties, and the inability of the U.S and allied forces, despite greater conventional military strength, to do anything to prevent these attacks. Meanwhile, Pakistan maintains it has lost leverage after launching its own domestic counterinsurgency campaigns geared toward eliminating Taliban safe havens.