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After the Taliban


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About the Author

Amb. James F. Dobbins has held various State Department and White House posts, including assistant secretary of state for Europe, special assistant to the president for the Western Hemisphere, special adviser to the president and secretary of state for the Balkans, and ambassador to the European Community. He was the Clinton administration's special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo and the Bush administration's first special envoy for Afghanistan. Lead author of The RAND History of Nation-Building and The Beginner's Guide to Nation-Building, Ambassador Dobbins lives in Washington, D.C., where he currently directs RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center.


"After the Taliban is a superb read. U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan James Dobbins was masterful in orchestrating the peace following decades of violence and war. He stood up their nation's fragile participatory government. Those of us on the ground in Afghanistan during the difficult days of 2001 so admired the skill with which he represented America. This book will be a primer in the study of diplomacy for decades to come."--Gary Berntsen, former CIA officer and author of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. -- (5/2/2008 12:00:00 AM)
"James Dobbins has written a wise, interesting, and balanced account of the diplomacy surrounding the foundation of the first Afghan government after the fall of the Taliban. Dobbins's book is part memoir and part an explication of how American diplomacy really works. After the Taliban is the first account from the inside about one of the real triumphs of American diplomacy after the Cold War: the creation of the conditions that allowed the Karzai government to emerge. As Dobbins relates, a good deal of the credit for this goes to the Iranians, and a good deal of the problems that have emerged since in Afghanistan are the result of the U.S. underfunding Afghan reconstruction and not committing enough boots on the ground for stability operations. It is a fascinating account of U.S. policymaking at its best and its worst."--Peter Bergen, author of The Osama bin Laden I Know and Holy War, Inc.-- (5/2/2008 12:00:00 AM)
"One of the wisest and most experienced of America's foreign policy hands skillfully tells what went right and wrong in Afghanistan. This is a timely personal and policy story. Each chapter pulses with thoughtful lessons that were learned or should have been learned."--Bob Woodward, assistant managing editor, Washington Post, and author of Bush at War-- (5/2/2008 12:00:00 AM)
"This compact, immensely readable and highly intelligent book could hardly be timelier, since Afghanistan is sure to be in the news for some time to come. Combining personal recollections with a fast-paced narrative and probing analysis, Jim Dobbins sheds fresh light on America's war against the Taliban and on the reconstruction effort that followed. Dobbins is one of the nation's best, smartest, and--it is worth emphasizing in the context of the story he tells here--bravest diplomats. Given his extensive earlier experience in practicing the twin arts of diplomacy backed by force and force backed by diplomacy, he was the right man for a tough job. And as he demonstrates here, he is also the right chronicler of a high-stakes and still-suspenseful episode in U.S. foreign policy. His book is must reading, with lessons for the future as well as vital insights into the recent past."--Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state and author of The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation-- (5/2/2008 12:00:00 AM)

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