Cover: After the Taliban

After the Taliban

Nation-Building in Afghanistan

by James Dobbins

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Winner of the 2008 Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy

Given by the American Academy of Diplomacy

Abstract

In October 2001, the Bush administration sent Ambassador Dobbins to war-torn Afghanistan to help the Afghans assemble a successor government to the Taliban. This memoir recounts how the U.S. administration reluctantly adjusted to its new role as nation-builder, yields insights into how government and diplomacy really work, and explains why the United States has failed to stabilize either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Since 1995, the American Academy of Diplomacy has celebrated distinguished writing about U.S. diplomatic efforts and achievements with this prestigious award. It seeks to honor books, and their authors, dealing with the practice of American diplomacy with emphasis on the way U.S. foreign policy is developed and carried out.

Book Review Excerpts

"During his long diplomatic career, Dobbins became an expert in helping to put together states shattered by civil war or invasion. Having served in this capacity in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, he was a natural pick for this role in Afghanistan as the United States turned to the task of overthrowing the Taliban and chasing al Qaeda after 9/11. Dobbins weaves into his narrative such matters as how he wended his way through a thicket of bureaucratic infighting and engaged in multilateral diplomacy with Afghanistan's many factions, Afghanistan's neighbors, other outside powers, and the United Nations."

- Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008

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