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A weak, partitioned Afghanistan may not be a desirable outcome, but a “soft” partition now would be far better than a “hard” partition later, after years of chaos and bloodletting — and infinitely better than the medieval Taliban’s return to power and a fresh reign of terror. Indeed, partition may be the only way to prevent Afghanistan from sliding into large-scale civil war and thwart transnational terrorists from re-establishing a base of operations amid the rubble.

Brahma Chellaney, a geostrategist, is the author of “Water, Peace and War” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).