Sunday, March 18, 2012

Obama's Afghanistan policy

Karzai is a corrupt egotist. But.. Romney and McCain are absolutely right to slam the President for his Afghanistan policy. Obama took far too long in deciding to approve McChrystal's counter-insurgency plan back at the end of 2009 and then made the idiotic decision to announce the US withdrawal date from Afghanistan. This has pushed Afghans into a position in which many feel they must 'hedge' their bets when it comes towards supporting the Afghan govt/ISAF counter-insurgency effort versus the Taliban. The Taliban reside on a base of fear. It takes guts to stand with the US when the US has announced an intention to leave. This fear of the fluctuating commitment of the US is a major source of instability at both political levels (Karzai) and ground levels (settlements across Afghanistan). The President has put America in a terrible catch 22. A situation in which America is supposedly committed to securing Afghanistan's long term internal security and at the same time, is perceived as running for the exits. The President needs to alter this perception.

We need to focus on continuing to build security/governance at the local level as well as improving the professionalism of the Afghan national army and police. This will take a few more years and more patience, but we cannot allow Afghanistan to slip back into the hands of the Taliban (a group that contrary to western popular opinion has little credibility for the vast majority of Afghans). 
       We have expended too much blood and treasure to fail to avoid the absolutely avoidable outcome of failure.

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