After Afghanistan: The next challenges
Nancy E. Soderber
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
Institute for International Business and
Global Executive Forum
Center for International Business Education & Research
Nancy E. Soderber is vice president of the International Crisis Group and director of the New York office.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the formation of U.S. foreign policy, she achieved international
recognition for her efforts to promote peace in Northern Ireland; participated in a United Nations' mission
to Indonesia and East Timor; negotiated key UN resolutions regarding the Middle East and Africa; and
conducted shuttle diplomacy in Latin America. From 1997 to 2001 she served as alternative
representative to the UN as a Presidential appointee with the rank of ambassador, representing the U.S.
at the UN Security Council on national security issues, including conflict resolution and the promotion of
democracy abroad. From 1993 to 1997 she was the third ranking official of the National Security Council
at the White House.
The cost of fighting terrorism at home and abroad is staggering - an additional $67 billion tacked onto the
2003 budget. "And that's most likely just a down payment," said Nancy Soderberg, speaking before the
Global Executive Forum. But the cost of doing nothing is even more open-ended. The political unrest in
Afghanistan and the escalating conflict in the Middle East "risk fueling instability, raising the price of oil,
and undercutting the U.S. economy."
Although the Taliban have fallen, peace has not yet come to a country where warring factions have
historically taken up arms against one another as a way of solving grievances. Currently, Afghanistan's
rival warlords appear to be in a negotiating mode, but "the resumption of conflict remains a distinct risk,"
said Soderberg, pointing out that fighting has already broken out in some areas.
"The fact is that (interim leader) Hamid Karzai, although he is off to a