ship since the early days of the invasion of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan when American support for the myriad of mujahadeen fighters effectively secured the independence of this country from the Soviet sphere. American support for the mujahadeen – both covert and overt - culminated in the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989 and US support during this period of heightened tensions during the Cold War remains quite ironic in light of present circumstances and the aftermath of 9/11. Seeking to provide a thorough and in-depth introduction to the complex American-Afghan relationship, this essay will summarise the most important features of Afghanistan in society and politics and those which are affecting American relations to it. We will then analyse what still are the main US aims in its relations to Afghanistan. We will apply this analysis to the general aims into wider US grand strategy in the twenty-first century. We will also analyse key features of US relations to Afghanistan in the post-Cold War period and explore how the Obama administration presently changing or carrying these policies on. This brief will explore the key choices to be made by the US Administration and look at the main issues and positions on US policy towards Afghanistan. Finally, we will make key recommendations of current US policy towards Afghanistan and while being prescriptive in nature, will argue for alternative policies which can be pursued (Strayer 1998).
The US military presence in Afghanistan remains controversial, both at home and abroad, but incredibly important in light of the unique social situation in what is arguably one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Warlordism, economic stagnation and endemic fighting over the course of the past century and a half have relegated Afghanistan to the ranks of some of the poorest and wretched countries on earth. By arguing that Afghanistan is “wretched” one is obviously making a value judgment but what is