Petraeus On Afghanistan

By
Thursday, January 08, 2009 at 5:23 pm

The last time I heard Gen. David Petraeus, commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, talk about Afghanistan, he was endorsing the Karzai government’s efforts to explore negotiations with reconcilable elements of the Taliban. Now the Central Command chief is putting together a massive strategy review for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Persian Gulf that pretty much everyone in the defense community is waiting to see. Today he’s on a panel at the U.S. Institute of Peace conference talking Afghanistan.

He prefers the term “transnational violent extremists” to “terrorists” — as in, Afghanistan can’t again become a haven for transnational violent extremists. Petraeus opens with the challenges in Afghanistan, where there “is nothing easy,”  and they’re well known: a deterioration of security; rampant corruption; poor governance.” And then:

“Afghanistan is not Iraq,” Petraeus says, reminding that “every case is unique” in counterinsurgency. (What about the so-called Sons of Afghanistan program, which is basically a template lifted from Iraq? He doesn’t say.)

He quotes Gen. David McKiernan’s much-cited “tyrannies of topography, distance and weather” to distinguish the two countries, and adds that the “human terrain” is much different, in terms of illiteracy rates, tribal ties and natural resources. Basic services — electricity and water, in particular — lag well behind Iraq, which itself is not exactly service-heavy. Petraeus might have added that Afghanistan basically lacks infrastructure as well.

“Achieving progress, needless to say, will take time,” Petraeus adds, requiring a “sustained” commitment. Progress in security needs to go hand-in-hand with development of infrastructure, the rule of law and governance capabilities, including the provision of credible elections. (All this is basic counterinsurgency stuff.) More Afghan security forces are necessary, but so are “greater civilian contributions” and greater international assistance.

“It’s not possible to solve the problems internal to Afghanistan without addressing the challenges” to Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan, and especially in Pakistan’s northwest frontier province, which Petraeus cites as more dangerous to Pakistan than India. (Diplomatic!) “The central Asian states must also be part of the strategy for Afghanistan,” he contends. That might be an interesting component to Petraeus’ south-Asia review. There are also congruent interests with “Iran, although there are also conflicting interests,” and with a smile, Petraeus quickly changes the subject away from that controversy.

“Partners, not occupiers,” was how Petraeus summed up the basic relationship between the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. It’s as much a goal as a description of the situation America faces in Afghanistan. In the end, a “sustained commitment” from the United States to the entire region has the greatest chance of producing success and stability, from the perspective of U.S. interests. Not a word about talks with the Taliban this time around, though.

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Comments

5 Comments

Jaff Sassani
Comment posted January 12, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

Dear Reader

Gen. David Petraeus, Dr.Bzrezinski, former defense Sec. Mr. William Perry has one thing in common. They are calling for economic improvement for the region. The US Government to be successful need economic Union for the region in parallel wit military forces to fight the terrorist organizations. Please read our program and the people’s region demand for economic improvement in the region.
Gen. David Petraeus is saying
“Achieving progress, needless to say, will take time,” Petraeus adds, requiring a “sustained” commitment. Progress in security needs to go hand-in-hand with development of infrastructure, the rule of law and governance capabilities, including the provision of credible elections. (All this is basic counterinsurgency stuff.) More Afghan security forces are necessary, but so are “greater civilian contributions” and greater international assistance.”

We are pleased at the “Jaff Sassani Organizations (SKDC)” if you can support the establishment of the AU or ATU. Your support does mean a lot for our organizations’. We appreciate your work with others regarding our proposed Eryan (Aryan or Iranian) Economic Union (AU) or with Turkish people (ATU). The problems are the Turks of Turkey; they are depending on the lobbyist in the Washington D.C. and EU to form the “Turkic Economic Union”. The Turks plan are going to eliminate 20-30 million Kurds; for them to make such a Union plus few hundred years of war in the region. We are going to listen to your advice; please fell free to send us message and emails.
Our goals are clear. We want peace and stable region. We are hoping that the USA, EU, Russian, India and Israel will hear our call for peaceful solutions instead of Turkey’s war plan and distractions’.
We really appreciate your support and hope for peace and prosperity for the Middle East and Asian’s people in the region.

Read more about our works and support for our plan in the

Sassani News agency

http://news.navimap.org/en-news-2415913.html?ne…

In Favor of the AU or ATU Economic Union Plan by Jaff Sassani's “SKDC” – OpEdNews
10/01/2009

In Favor of the AU or ATU Economic Union Plan by Jaff Sassani's “SKDC”
OpEdNews,?PA?- 1 hour ago
by Mullah Mohammad Afgahani Page 1 of 1 page(s) For the last one year I have been monitoring the activity of the Jaff Sassani organizations (SKDC) in Iran


Jaff Sassani
Comment posted January 14, 2009 @ 8:37 am

Please read the article by Shaho Jonroy below:

Iran & the U.S Government Negotiations' are very difficult Negotiations

http://www.opednews.com/populum/diarypage.php?d…

The U.S Government under the President Bush made many moves which caused Iran & Russia to move toward closer cooperation. President Bush’s diplomacy of inviting former Russian President and current PM Mr. Putin to his fathers house did not produced any thing for the American’s interest. Indeed President Bush did hurt the American’s interest in many other fronts too.

Georgia, U.S. Sign Strategic Partnership Charter and the USA in other former Soviet Union’s countries in Asia are an alarming bill for the Russian, Iranian and Chinese Governments without doubt.

The new U.S Government is increasing the forces in Afghanistan and asking Iran for cooperation. It looks like President Bush’s invitation to PM Putin to his fathers house for negotiations.

The new U.S Government priorities should be first to fix the US Economy. The second most important priorities are to fix the damage done overseas by the U.S Government under the Bush’s presidency.

The new U.S Government should sit down with the key allies in Europe to come up with the renewal understanding about the Europe, Russia and the World in large. If it is acceptable by the Europeans Union then they should confront Russian together to come to understanding instead of suspicions moves by the U.S Government alone in the former Soviet Union regions and the war of Iraq and Afghanistan.


Ben
Comment posted January 18, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

(What about the so-called Sons of Afghanistan program, which is basically a template lifted from Iraq? He doesn’t say.)

Saying Afghanistan is different from Iraq means that the comprehensive strategy will be different. A comprehensive strategy is made up of smaller programs, and though even the smaller programs will likely be different, we probably don't know exactly how they will need to be different. So it makes sense to copy one program from Iraq and modify it on the fly to adapt to the realities of Afghanistan, rather than try to do everything from scratch.

Metaphorically, even though we're building a completely different strategic structure in Afghanistan, we're going to reuse building materials and architectural principles.


Ben
Comment posted January 18, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

(What about the so-called Sons of Afghanistan program, which is basically a template lifted from Iraq? He doesn’t say.)

Saying Afghanistan is different from Iraq means that the comprehensive strategy will be different. A comprehensive strategy is made up of smaller programs, and though even the smaller programs will likely be different, we probably don't know exactly how they will need to be different. So it makes sense to copy one program from Iraq and modify it on the fly to adapt to the realities of Afghanistan, rather than try to do everything from scratch.

Metaphorically, even though we're building a completely different strategic structure in Afghanistan, we're going to reuse building materials and architectural principles.


shredding paper fort
Comment posted September 11, 2010 @ 8:59 am

nice reading your comment. thank you for the perspective.


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