Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kajaki Dam stupidity

First, please see my Guardian piece on Afghanistan. It outlines my core approach to the conflict.

USAID (the US Government's foreign development agency) has decided to remove US funding and end major support for the completion of the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan. This action represents strategic insanity and a betrayal of the men and women (American, British and Afghan) who have given their lives in defense of this crucial initiative. Why am I so angry? Because the dam offers the prospect of bringing electricity to an area of Afghanistan (Helmand) that has long been a hotbed for insurgent activity. And by providing the literal fuel for economic-social development, the dam could achieve a major, sustainable success on the part of ISAF and the Afghan Government. A physical tool to suck support away from the Taliban and help lay the foundation for a more hopeful, peaceful future in Afghanistan's south. However, by terminating US support, US AID will probably end up killing the project. The Afghan Government simply doesn't have the capability and drive to get it done. Lead by Karzai (aka Mr. Moron) and without US leadership, the dam will probably end up being stripped in a corruption feeding frenzy.

From my perspective, this decision represents yet another example of the Obama Administration's policy failure in Afghanistan. An approach that's been defined by the pursuit of a narrow domestic political agenda in preference to the demands of national security. It makes no sense. And it isn't just me saying this, it's also the distinguished scholar, Vali Nasr.

Be under no illusions, as much as some would wish it to be so, the War on Terror will not end with Afghanistan. And Muslims will suffer rather than benefit from our rush to the exit.

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