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Thread: Afghanistan: The Dysfunctional War

  1. #1
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    Post Afghanistan: The Dysfunctional War

    Gentlemen,

    I've attached and excerpted a timely and important paper written by a colleague of mine about how to win in Afghanistan. He has served two tours in Afghanistan as a Special Forces Officer (and is preparing for a third) and while a civilian he was the Country Director of Afghanistan in the Secretary of Defense's Office and then worked as Vice President Cheney's key staffer on Afghanistan where he worked on the final Bush Administration policy review. His assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, of the interagency, and of how we are waging this war are rooted in first-hand experience in the field and in Washington, D.C. and his solutions are practical. Enjoy!



    Afghanistan: The Dysfunctional War
    By Michael Waltz

    Throughout a large swathe of the USG and the broader policy making community, Afghanistan has become accepted as the more morally just yet the less strategically important war. Afghanistan does not sit astride tremendous natural resources nor the Sunni-Shia fault line, it is not geographically in the heart of the Middle East nor enormously influential in terms of the future ideological or cultural direction of the region. While this line of thinking certainly has merit from a geopolitical context, it has led to a dangerous under-resourcing of the Afghan effort and a frustrating lack of coherence in countering a growing Taliban-led insurgency in one of the poorest and most forbidding places in the world. It has also led to a foisting of responsibility onto an often times unwilling coalition.

    While the Taliban cannot defeat the Afghan government and international coalition militarily, they can win strategically by turning the people against their government and outlasting our will to stay engaged. After seven years of unmet expectations, the patience of the Afghan people and the international coalition is wearing thin. Thus, we face a window of strategic vulnerability and opportunity in Afghanistan in 2009. The Afghan government, and its international contributors, cannot afford failed elections, or another year of poor governance and escalating violence. Pakistanís government is weak, faces multiple crises, and may fail, but our efforts in both countries can be turned around. With timely policy adjustments, some in the immediate term, 2009 can be a year in which we turn negative trend lines in our favor.

    Without significant changes however, the insurgency stemming from the Pashtun Belt, risks reversing our gains made in Afghanistan, destabilizing Pakistan, and granting Al Qaida continued sanctuary. Beyond the threat to the Afghan people and the surrounding region from a resuscitated Taliban-Al Qaida alliance, armed groups and rogue states worldwide will take heart from the failure of the West to achieve its goals in Afghanistan. The new Administration has a lot on its plate in the coming months. Regarding Afghanistan, its main priority must not only be to create, resource, and implement a strategic vision, but to explain its strategy and its ultimate goal to an American people that will likely grow frustrated with a protracted war and spending significant resources they would prefer to spend domestically.
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  2. #2
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    ...and ladies (?) (!!)

    Thanks, Dan, for pointing to a good resource.

  3. #3
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    How do we post this to a more public forum?

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