Former Ambassador Discusses The Long War in Afghanistan in Public Program

A composite image of two men engaged in a video conference call.

On Thursday, December 17, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum continued its digital public program series When the World Changes with Ambassador Richard Olson, former U.S. State Department diplomat and now a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace.

The conversation between Ambassador Olson and Clifford Chanin, executive vice president and deputy director for museum programs, covered the profound challenges and opportunities in the ongoing diplomatic efforts, in light of the start of American troop withdrawals. In the clip below, Ambassador Olson discusses the leverage that the Taliban does and doesn’t hold when it comes to negotiations.

Clip from "The Long War in Afghanistan"

2020_1217 The Long War in Afghanistan_Highlight_(Caps)

“The Taliban have military strength but they don’t have a lot of political strength. I mean, all of the polling for Afghanistan consistently, over many years, shows that, you know, the Taliban enjoys support amongst a small minority of the population. So, the trick in these negotiations is to mobilize the latent political strength on the Republic side against the Taliban’s military strength. Very-- difficult to do but I think that’s the challenge for the negotiations ahead.”

For more public programs like these, please visit our past program archive or check 911memorial.org/programs to learn of forthcoming programs.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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