This program will take a look at the historical backdrop of the Afghan dilemma -- from the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the American occupation -- and consider policy options in this, the ninth year of American military involvement. What variables could spell success or disaster for the current Afghani government and for U.S. interests? What are the potential game-changers?
Milton Bearden, who retired from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1994 after 30 years in the agency"s clandestine services, is uniquely qualified to address these issues. As one of the CIA"s most senior officers, Bearden earned the agency"s highest decoration, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, for his service in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1989. He also is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the agency"s second-highest decoration, for his service in Sudan in the 1980s, and was commended for his leadership during CIA operations in the former Soviet Union and Germany. The author of "The Black Tulip," Bearden"s commentaries have appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Global Initiatives Group.