The Rumi Forum presented “After the Taliban: Nation Building in Afghanistan” with Ambassador James Dobbins.
In October 2001, the Bush Administration sent Amb. James F. Dobbins, who had overseen nation-building efforts in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, to war-torn Afghanistan to help the Afghans assemble a successor government to the Taliban. From warlords to exiled royalty, from turbaned tribal chieftains to elegant émigré intellectuals, Ambassador Dobbins introduces a range of colorful Afghan figures competing for dominance in the new Afghanistan in his just published book After the Taliban: Nation Building in Afghanistan. His insider’s memoir recounts how the administration reluctantly adjusted to its new role as nation-builder, refused to allow American soldiers to conduct peacekeeping operations, opposed dispatching international troops, and shortchanged Afghan reconstruction as its attention shifted to Iraq. At his speech, Amb. Dobbins will probe the relationship between the Afghan and Iraqi ventures. He’ll demonstrate how each damaged the other, with deceptively easy success in Afghanistan breeding overconfidence and then the latter draining essential resources away from the initial effort.
Ambassador Dobbins directs RAND’s International Security and Defense Policy Center . He has held 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 has handled a variety of crisis management assignments as the Clinton Administration’s special envoy for Somalia , Haiti , Bosnia , and Kosovo, and the Bush Administration’s first special envoy for Afghanistan . He is lead author of the three volume RAND History of Nation Building and The Beginner’s Guide to Nation Building. In the wake of Sept 11, 2001, Dobbins was designated as the Bush Administration’s representative to the Afghan opposition. Dobbins helped organize and then represented the United States at the Bonn Conference where a new Afghan government was formed. On Dec. 16, 2001, he raised the flag over the newly reopened US Embassy.