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Closer To A Progressive Consensus On Afghanistan? « The Washington Independent

I mused earlier about how establishing a national consensus on the Afghanistan might still be possible. As it turns out, Jason Rosenbaum, one of the progressive forces behind Get Afghanistan Right, read Les Gelb’s op-ed in The New York Times and noted approvingly that Gelb, a founder of the National Security Networkwhich doesn’t always see eye to eye with Get Afghanistan Right — wrote something he could embrace. Jason emailed me:

I would agree with a lot of what Gelb said. It’s particularly noteworthy that Gelb has proposed a timeline of three years for a possible withdrawal, which I feel is a key component of a plan to start splitting the Taliban from Al-Qaeda, jump-starting Afghan self-governance, and forming a true coalition government. Our goal with regard to Afghanistan should be to keep America safe, and I think Gelb is starting to outline a policy that could protect our security interests without a commitment of 30,000 or 100,000 ground troops.

One definite point of agreement concerns negotiations to, as Jason writes, split the Taliban from al-Qaeda. As best I can tell, Bill Roggio thinks it can’t work (though here he’s talking about Pakistan), but it’s unclear to me if Bill believes on principle we shouldn’t pursue it. Besides him, everyone from Jason to Gen. Petraeus to the Afghan government to President Obama is in favor of it, so it’s happening.

Also, I should have mentioned this earlier, but Jason’s co-blogger at the Seminal, Alex Thurston, another GAR leader, wrote a thoughtful post about what he’d like to see in the Obama administration’s Af-Pak review.

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