Afghans largely recognize that their country has made considerable gains over the past decade, project director Jeffrey Laurenti argues in this background paper for the task force, but unreconciled internal divisions and the conflicting priorities of Afghans’ foreign friends have aborted the country’s return to stability. The concentric circles of neighborly interests in Afghanistan have been partly harmonized through the United Nations, with the critical exception of Pakistan’s, but a new fluidity may be opening possibilities for convergence on restoring peace and security.