Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Rajan Menon assesses Afghanistan's political dilemma

The U.S.-led efforts at nation-building, says Rajan Menon, are meeting a variety of obstacles, not the least of which is the power of the Taliban.

Rajan Menon, the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor and Chair of International Relations, has been asked twice by the media in recent weeks to offer commentary on the political situation in Afghanistan.

On Nov. 2, Menon and James Dobbins were interviewed by Marty Moss-Coane on her one-hour show, Radio Times, which airs on WHYY-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate in Philadelphia. Dobbins is director of the Rand Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center and former special envoy to Afghanistan.

A podcast of the interview can be heard here.

On Oct. 21, Menon’s op-ed column, “Nobody wins in the Afghan runoff election,” was published by the Los Angeles Times. Menon warned that the runoff election between President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah, which was then set for Nov. 7, would not ease the task of nation-building in Afghanistan. The runoff had been scheduled following allegations of vote fraud against Karzai in the original presidential election of Aug. 20.

Last weekend Abdullah, the nation’s former foreign minister, withdrew from the election. The nation’s Independent Election Commission canceled the Nov. 7 vote, and declared Karzai president for another five-year term.

In his op-ed column, Menon discussed Afghanistan's political impasse against the backdrop of the growing power of the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as the Obama Administration’s efforts to bring about a runoff.

Menon, a Fellow of the New America Foundation, is an expert in international security issues, especially as they pertain to the republics of the former Soviet Union and to the nations of Central and South Asia. His most recent book, The End of Alliances, was published by Oxford University Press in 2007.

Story by Dina Silver Pokedoff

Posted on Tuesday, November 03, 2009

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