Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Likely To Ditch Karzai, Focus On Local Governance

SNOW TUNNEL - U.S. Army soldiers drive toward Afghanistan's Salang tunnel in the Hindu Kush Mountain range to check on security, Jan. 30, 2009. The soldiers are assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's Company A, 101st Division Special Troop Battalion. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Scott Davis


One thing that came through loud and clear during Defense Secretary Robert Gate’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week was that the war in Afghanistan-Pakistan is the top foreign policy priority of the Obama administration. The big question on everybody’s lips: What is the new administration’s new strategy to bring about a different outcome to the long festering security sore that is Afghanistan?

Gates said, to begin with, the military plans to speed more troops to Afghanistan to try and reverse the Taliban’s growing strength. But in his next breath he warned against sending so many troops that the U.S. is seen by ordinary Afghans as an army of occupation. When that happens, invading armies are sent scurrying for the exits by an enraged populace, either to the east over the Khyber Pass like the British, or north over the Amu Darya River like the Soviets. To avoid a Kipling-like outcome to our military adventure in Afghanistan, Gates says the U.S. focus should be on building up the Afghan army and police force as rapidly as possible so as to put an Afghan face on the much needed constabulary counterinsurgency force. Gates said many of the U.S. troops on their way to Afghanistan will serve as advisers to the fledgling Afghan security forces.

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My Comment: There are two wars occurring in Afghanistan right now. The first one is the military campaign .... in which the Taliban are slowly asserting their control over the country. The second .... the political campaign .... will be a defeat once Karzai and his government are swept aside in favor of a more regional focus.

With no effective central government .... an effort that has expended numerous lives, time, and monies will be for naught. A fractured central government will be translated into a fractured Afghan Army .... an Army which is the hope for Afghanistan (and for us).

The situation in Afghanistan is dire .... dire enough for the Obama administration to give up on the strategy of the past 8 years, and to proceed with an effort that is untested and unsure of success.

From what I can see .... we are clearly losing this war.

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