What Went Wrong in Afghanistan — and How to Make It Right By Peter Tomsen In the concluding pages of his fascinating memoir, War Comes to Garmser, Carter Malkasian, a Pashto-speaking U.S. diplomat who was stationed in a volatile region of Afghanistan in 2009–11, voices a fear shared by many of the Westerners who have participated in the Afghan war during the past 13 years: “The most frustrating thing about leaving Garmser in July 2011 and now watching it from afar is that I cannot be certain that the [Afghan] government will be able to stand on its own. … The British and the Marines had put the government in a better position to survive than it had enjoyed in the past. What they had not done was create a situation in which the government was sure to win future battles against Taliban [fighters] coming out of Pakistan.”
The Economist In the war in Afghanistan it is not always obvious which side Pakistan is on PAKISTAN REACTS WITH understandable resentment to criticism of its role in Afghanistan. During the long war there it has provided sanctuary to millions of refugees. It has lost far more troops fighting terrorists than has ISAF. After September 11th 2001 it swiftly repudiated the Taliban and threw in its lot with America and its “war on terror”. In 2004 it was named a “major non-NATO ally” by America. Its territory has provided ISAF with vital supply routes and bases for attacks on suspected terrorists by unmanned drone aircraft. Many of its civilians have also died in those and other attacks. It has provided intelligence that has led to the capture of a succession of al-Qaeda leaders. And the “American” war in Afghanistan has fuelled the rise of violent Islamist extremists in Pakistan itself, the “Pakistani Taliban”, bent on overthrowing the government.
Paul Rogers, 22nd September 2011 The United States’s political-military strategy for drawdown in Afghanistan is in trouble, even as Washington is tempted by increased high-tech military engagement in other theaters of war. The killing of Afghanistan’s former president Burhanuddin Rabbani in a suicide bomb-attack at his home in Kabul on 20 September 2011 removes a senior player who for decades was at the centre of the country’s political scene. A major incident in itself, which led the current Afghan president Hamid Karzai to return home from New York to attend the funeral, Rabbani’s death follows the concerted assault on key targets in central Kabul on 13-14 September that lasted twenty hours. The exact responsibility for Rabbani’s death is still to be established. But this and similar operations – such as attacks on Kabul hotels, and on the offices of the British Council in the city on 19 August – reflect the ability of the Taliban to hone tactics in recent months in response to the “surge” in United States troops into Afghanistan.
William Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security project at the Center for International Policy. Copyright, Huffington Post, 2011. Original article available here. President Obama’s long-awaited announcement of a troop drawdown in Afghanistan was in part driven by budgetary concerns. Public opinion is turning against the war, and its immense costs are part of the reason. For example, a recent Pew poll found that 60% of Americans think that the two wars have contributed “a great deal” to the national debt, a significantly higher percentage than those choosing what they saw as the next most likely cause, the state of the national economy. And members of Congress are increasingly critical of a war with a tab that is now running at about $10 billion per month.
By Afghanistan Study Group 1. MYTH If the Obama administration scales back the mission in Afghanistan, Republicans will portray it as “soft” and the Democratic Party will pay a big political price in the 2010 and 2012 elections. REALITY Our strategy in Afghanistan should be based on U.S. national interests, not partisan politics. Moreover, the war is increasingly unpopular with the American people. Voters will support a strategy that reduces costs, emphasizes counter-terrorism, and begins to bring U.S. troops home
Edward Kenney Afghanistan Study Group Last Fall I attended a conference by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce with keynote speaker Dr Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, the Afghan Central Bank Governor. The purpose of the conference was to reinvigorate foreign investment in Afghanistan in the wake of serious scandal involving Kabul Bank, one of largest Afghan financial institutions.
By Kurt Jacobsen and Sayeed Hassan Khan Published in Dawn HAS Obama unwittingly called his own bluff? The spooky so-called mastermind Osama Bin Laden is rubbed out, courtesy a Hollywood-style hit squad operation. What more is there to say? Everything, actually. But nervous authorities want to curb jubilation so as not to give the exasperated American public any funny ideas about pulling their stupendously expensive military apparatus out of battered Afghanistan.