Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Afghanistan Exit Strategy: "None of this is working."

International Crisis Group: U.S. plans to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 2014 would lead to a collapse of the government in Kabul and serious security risks for the region.. . the key to fighting the insurgency and bringing about the conditions for a political settlement in Afghanistan lies in improving security, justice and governance.

“The exit strategy sounds fairly simple: try to pound the Taliban, build support by protecting civilians, lure disillusioned Taliban over to the government and create resilient security forces”, says Candace Rondeaux, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Afghanistan. “The problem is that none of this is working.”

It's not that complicated. "Improving security, justice and governance" is the way to win, and there is no cheap and easy way to win. The key to improving security is to train up the competence and professionalism of the Afghan National Security Forces. Justice means justice - a judicial system governed by the rule of law and the Afghan constitution. Governance = democracy, which means fully free and fair elections, an accountable presidency and parliament, and a real civil service - not just a bribe factory run by a Popolzai patronage network.

If we deserve these things, Afghans deserve these things. What we desire for ourselves we demand for all - that's the progressive position. "Troops out" is for senile hippies and bourgeois reactionaries.

More: "It will take at least 15 years or more for the Afghan security forces to stand on their own," said Nadeem Akbar, a project officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

More: The handover of Canadian development projects to the U.S. in tandem with the cut in aid and the stinging criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper about Afghan corruption has filtered down to the impoverished streets of this city. The Taliban have also taken note, according to intelligence sources. Among rural villages they've spread word of the Canadian departure and attempted to turn it into a propaganda victory, something not unexpected.

UPDATE: Two Afghans accused of converting to Christianity, including a Red Cross employee, could face the death penalty, a prosecuting lawyer said on Sunday.


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