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What’s Next for Afghanistan
December 16

What’s Next for Afghanistan

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12:00 pm - 01:00 pm. Time zone: America/New_York

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The fall of Kabul in August 2021 brought an ignominious end to two decades of war in Afghanistan. Having returned to power, the Taliban have doubled down on their hard-line policies including harsh repression of women and girls. Short on revenues, the cash-based Afghani economy is at risk of economic collapse and the country is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as winter descends.

Please join the American Security Project on December 16th to discuss what created the conditions for Afghanistan’s collapse, developments in Afghanistan post-withdrawal and conditions under Taliban rule, and options for the West to prevent further destabilization in an already volatile neighborhood. ASP CEO Patrick Costello will be joined by Ambassador Doug Lute, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former Senior Coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Dr. Carter Malkasian, former special assistant for strategy to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford from 2015 to 2019 and author of The American War in Afghanistan: A History, and the Honorable Mary Beth Long, the first woman confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

About the Speakers

Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Ambassador to NATO.  Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017.   During this period, he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

A career Army officer, in 2010 Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service.  In 2007 President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2009 he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia.  Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House.

Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide.  From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated.

Through his military-diplomatic career, he received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany.

General Lute holds degrees from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and United States Military Academy at West Point, which named him a Distinguished Graduate in 2018.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a charter member of the Senior Military Advisory Group of the United States Institute of Peace; a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy; and a member of the board of the Atlantic Council of the United States.


Dr. Carter Malkasian was the special assistant for strategy to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, from 2015 to 2019. He has extensive experience working in conflict zones. He spent nearly two years in Garmser district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a State Department political officer. Before that, he deployed as a CNA civilian advisor with the Marines, twice to Iraq’s al-Anbar province, for a total of 18 months, in 2004 and 2006. From May 2012 to May 2013, From October 2006 to July 2009, he directed the Stability and Development Program at CNA.

In his most recent book The American War in Afghanistan, Dr. Malkasian provides the first comprehensive history of the entire conflict. Malkasian is both a leading academic authority on the subject and an experienced practitioner, having spent nearly two years working in the Afghan countryside and going on to serve as the senior advisor to General Joseph Dunford, the US military commander in Afghanistan and later the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.


The Honorable Mary Beth Long is founder of M B Long & Associates, PLLC, an international legal and advisory firm. From 2007-2009, Ms. Long served as the first woman confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as Chair of NATO’s High Level Group (HLG), responsible for NATO’s nuclear policy. In her defense department roles, she also acted as Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense on the Middle East, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Asia, and Southeast Asia; and was the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Counter Narcoterrorism with a budget of over $1 billion. To those credentials, she adds more than a decade of Central Intelligence Agency operational experience (1986–99) on terrorism and other security issues.

After leaving government, Ms. Long founded Metis Solutions LLC. Under her tenure as CEO, the company was recognized in Inc. Magazine’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  She was recently featured in Forbes magazine’s Women Business Leaders. Ms. Long advises several Fortune 500 companies on international defense markets. From 2013-2016, she served as a Senior Subject Matter Expert for the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and as a Senior International Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Colombia.