Dr. Christopher Kolenda served as a commander in Afghanistan and subsequently as Senior Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan to Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. From 2011 to 2012, he represented the Secretary of Defense in exploratory talks with the Taliban, making him the only American soldier to have both fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and engaged them in high-level diplomacy. Dr. Kolenda holds a PhD in war studies from King’s College London and is the author of Leadership: The Warrior’s Art and The Counterinsurgency Challenge.
In addition to Al Udeid Air Base, the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command and home of 11,000 anti-ISIL coalition soldiers, Qatar hosts the political office of the Taliban with the support of the U.S. in order to facilitate talks like those led by Dr. Kolenda. In so doing, Qatar plays a critical role as an ally in American strategy both militarily and diplomatically.
“Our partners should remember that Qatar – at our request – welcomed delegations from the Taliban and Hamas, and that Qatar is now home to our military headquarters for our operations throughout the Middle East.” – Former CIA Director, General David Petraeus
YPFP Discussion Event Photos