How to Win in Afghanistan?
James Meek of the New York Daily News wants to know “in bullet points” how to win in Afghanistan.
Don’t we all!
Nir Rosen: “More troops just means” more problems. “You’d need like 100,000 more troops, and you’re not going to get that.” Winning is “a meaningless concept.” You’d have to kill way way too many Afghans to kill the Taliban, which would only give them more support. “I think you’ve got to start asking why is the U.S. in Afghanistan, should the U.S. be in Afghanistan.”
Christine Fair: “I share [Rosen's] skepticism.” Pakistan is “far more important.” But there are “very legitimate security interests” in Afghanistan. The sense of occupation needs to shift to an increased role for the Afghan parliament.” More troops could, however, build “a police force and… an army,” so expand the training program. And where’s the functioning Ministry of Justice? “You’re just building a security service.”
Seth Jones: This is a “regional issue.” His goal would be “to end, or at least to minimize, the insurgency that has a relationship to Al Qaeda,” as opposed to fighting all comers. Have to get rid of the safe havens. “The strategy has got to be to increasingly Afghanize the counterinsurgency.” More troops have to be used for “partnering efforts” with the Afghan security forces. And have to “work with local groups in villages across the country.”