Who runs Afghanistan? That’s a good question, because the figurehead leader is Ashraf Ghani, but the Taliban is still a very strong presence here, and many tribal areas are still under its control. The U.S.-led coalition forces left the country in December 2014, and since then there has been violence and instability. Afghanistan remains a country riven by dissent and civil strife, and though there is a government in place, few Western leaders trust that this government is clean or effective, given the country’s recent history.
The Assad family has run Syria for many years, and the country has always been under tight restrictions imposed by their leaders. Even among middle east nations, Syria is considered a pariah, a corrupt regime that brutalizes and murders its own citizens and wages war against one type of terrorist (ISIS), while sponsoring terrorism in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. World leaders view the Assad government as one of the most corrupt and ineffective in the world, and all efforts to negotiate with them have ceased.
Pakistan is a strange country, because while it professes to be a U.S. ally and a pro-Western nation, it is also known to harbor numerous terrorists, and was the hiding place of Osama Bin Laden for more than a decade. Many U.S. officials believe the Pakistani government is in collusion with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, while presenting a ‘We fight terrorist’ stance to the outside world. Pakistan’s government is plagued with graft and greed.