How to Solve Afghanistan
Image Credit: US Army

How to Solve Afghanistan

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If President Barack Obama is serious about finding out whether a political settlement of the war in Afghanistan is possible in 2011, he’d use the scheduled review of US Afghanistan policy to order a ceasefire, halt the faltering offensive in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, put an end to the lethal night raids by US Special Forces that have killed hundreds of low-level insurgents, and stop the drone-fired missile attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on the other side of the border.

And then he could press Pakistan to bring insurgent leaders to the bargaining table for direct talks with the United States, including the Quetta Shura Taliban, the Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and the forces led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, all of whom have close ties to Pakistan’s army and its intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI).

He should – but he won’t.

Sometime in mid-December, the president will meet with his senior national security team to evaluate the war’s progress. It’s virtually certain that Obama’s year-end review will result in no change of policy, no course corrections, and a commitment to remain engaged in combat until 2014 and beyond.

That’s not because Obama’s strategy is working.

By all accounts – except the US military’s overly optimistic reports – that progress is nil. After tripling the level of American forces in a year and launching offensives in Helmand and Kandahar, the Taliban insurgency continues to grow, spreading from its southern stronghold and the areas east of Kabul into Afghanistan’s previously calm northern provinces.Kabul is surrounded to the east, south and west by Taliban-controlled areas, and the insurgents can strike the capital itself with gunmen and suicide bombers at will. The Afghan government has little or no influence over provincial and district administrations anywhere in the country, and the Afghan National Army is unable to operate except as a cosmetic accompaniment to the United States and NATO.

Last December, when he announced the second of two escalations of the war in 2009, Obama placated the liberals, antiwar activists, and Congressional Democrats who are his political base by promising to begin drawing down US forces in July 2011. Since then, the Pentagon has mightily resisted that deadline, and key officials such as Gen.David Petraeus and Secretary of Defence Robert Gates have emphasized that any withdrawal will be dependent on conditions on the ground. In November, after Petraeus delivered a rosy report to the NATO summit in Lisbon, the United States, NATO, and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed that the foreign forces would remain engaged in combat until at least 2014, and a senior NATO official declared that the combat forces would likely remain through 2015 and possibly longer.

In any case, Obama has never made clear how, exactly, conditions might affect the withdrawal. If, by July 2011, clear and indisputable progress has been made, does that mean that the White House will decide to maintain forces at or near current levels in order to consolidate the gains that will have been made? Or, on the other hand, if by then it’s clear that the Taliban is stronger than ever, or that the Taliban has strengthened its grip on large swaths of Afghanistan, does that mean that the United States will maintain forces at current levels, or even increase them, in order to avoid complete defeat? It isn’t clear. Indeed, success or failure,it’s likely that Obama will want to sustain the war.

Comments
11
Peter
June 21, 2011 at 15:18

Simple pull all troops out of Afganistan and let the Russians back in to solve the problem

Guy
March 13, 2011 at 14:06

That’s not true. Saddam is not the only one in ME that offered girls education and didn’t impose covering on girls. most of northern Arab countries do that already. and before Saddam, Iraq already offer girls full education. he is done nothing to women except kill their husbands and children in worthless wars and oppression. it amazes me people in course of criticizing republicans try to portray Saddam as not so bad on expense of us his people.

Tiki
December 20, 2010 at 02:59

The previous commentators are so ignorant and typical neocon nonsensical hawks. The Taliban hosted Bin Laden based on their culture and the fact that Bin Laden helped Afghanistan get rid of the Soviet occupiers. The Taliban never attacked the U.S. All the 9/11 perpetrators were Saudis, Egyptians plotting out of Germany and none of them were Iraqis or Afghans. The Afghans are primarily interested in getting rid of their new occupiers and the corrupt Karzai government imposed upon them by the West. The nonsensical fear (originated by Bush) that “if we don’t fight them there, we will have to fight them here” is pure hogwash. How can the Taliban or Al Queda ever invade the U.S.? They might try to sneak in a bomb here or there, but there is no way they can carry out a large scale invasion that requires an army to battle.

arul
December 12, 2010 at 00:40

Sorry,
I left halfway. The real end game will be Saudi-Pakis. That is the mother of all problems. US do not have the balls to bomb them. They knew poor Saddam does not have anything to depend Iraq (remember Indian FM comment at that time – If Iraq has nukes, the US will piss and stay away).
@ stoicheion,
I guess you are from USA. If you do not know the following information, just try to understand.
Iraq/Saddam is the only Muslim country which offered education to all girls and banned compulsory covering of women/girls. Saddam is not angel, but definitely better than most of the ME thugs.

arul
December 12, 2010 at 00:26

And then he could press Pakistan….
I thought that is what US has been doing so long. I did not know that US is doing fine massage to the Pakistani. Thanks for the info.
Bravooooo.
The entire symptom indicates that the collapse of US is mirror image of its cousin USSR. Sudden death. Only different is that the rest of world is well prepared for this in advance.
I have not seen a single analyst with coldblooded mind set to do the real analysis.

hk
December 11, 2010 at 05:03

Unless religions reduce to be personal preferences and Universal acceptance of the fact that we are all same same same same human beings…comes in front….we human beings will keep suffering.

Terry Vera
December 10, 2010 at 21:33

DITTO !!! LOL !!! Humor at this pathetic situation brings some needed sanity.

Faha
December 9, 2010 at 23:56

Afghanistan is not a country. Its borders were agreed upon by the British and Russians in the 1890′s when the Durand line was drawn. This resulted in the Pashtun population being divided between British India and Afghanistan. Afghanistan is obviously a failed state. One only needs to look at the previous 33 years of Afghanistan’s history to realize this. The solution to Afghanistans’ endless wars, which will continue indefinitely even when NATO leaves, is to abolish this failed state. The Turkmen regions of Afghanistan ( 1 million Turkmens-bordering nearby Turkmenistan ) should be annexed by Turkmenistan. The Uzbek regions of Afghanistan ( 2.5 million Uzbeks- bordering nearby Uzbekistan ) should be annexed by Uzbekistan. The Tajik regions of Afghanistan ( 7 million Tajiks- extending from the border of Tajikistan to Kabul ) should be annexed by Tajikistan. Inidependent nations should be created for the Hazara ( 2.5 million ) and the Nuristani people. What would remain of Afghanistan would only contain the Pashtuns ( 10 million ), the ethnic group from which almost all the Taliban origiinate. Pasthun Afghanistan should be incorporated into Pakistan, then the Taliban become Pakistan’s problem, not ours. They are already 25 million Pashtuns living in Pakistan. Another 10 million will not change the fact that Pakistan needs to crsuh the Taliban and related militias. If the Pakistan government refuses to do so, at least we will know who to hold responsible.

uke
December 9, 2010 at 23:29

I agree. The only way to defeat these goblins is to bomb them back into the stone age they so ardently wish to impose on the rest of the world. Only when we have made the price of their religion-inspired insanity too expensive will they finally take a clue and retreat back to their caves.

Then they’ll sit back and lick their wounds until it’s time to try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

uke
December 9, 2010 at 22:18

We should declare victory and go home. That sad country is an unsalvageable hellhole teeming with crazy, violent idiots whose minds have been poisoned by religion. Truly the place where empires go to die.

Not one more child should die over there because this fool president has no spine.

stoicheion
December 9, 2010 at 21:06

Won’t work. Religious fanatics are at war with America. Geography is just an incidental factor. If we are not fighting them in Afghanistan, we will be fighting them somewhere else.
There are only two ways to end the fighting. We surrender or they surrender.
War is always about the will to win. So whoever loses their will first is toast.
As a conservative, I agree with Dreyfuss. Afghanistan IS NOT the place to fight Religious fanatics. Iraq was the place for that only Bush didn’t finish the job and Obama quit Iraq for political reasons. So it looks like the battle will be moved to the USA.
The idea that theses religious fanatics want to talk about anything is strictly a Western delusion. You don’t negotiate with God (Allah). We are MUCH better at fighting then they are so they negotiate to buy time to recover from the last beat down we gave them. They have been doing this for almost 1500 years.
America is a little over 200 years old. Once the war moves to the lower 48, many more Americans will start to understand what is going down. I doubt that Mr. Dreyfuss will be among them.
VP Biden has the correct approach. Pull all US Army troops out. Leave a Marine division ( about 15 to 20 thousand troops). Bomb them. Bomb them some more. When they have had enough, they will quit and go home, home being another bomb crater…. I would expect this sort of campaign to take 20 or 30 years. That’s OK, bombs are cheaper then humans.
Meanwhile, the Obomination will be gone in two more years and maybe we can get a POTUS with testicles. At which point the war can move to some place where the USA can better bring it’s power to the war. Somalia, Iran or L.A. would be good. L.A. would be the worst choice. IF we get a choice. Cutting and running in Afghanistan would make it unlikely that we get a choice of where to fight next.

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