Thankfully our leaders have realized that leaving Afghanistan would not only be a bad idea now, but also produce reputation problems in the future should we decide to participate in another small war. Leaving now would only embolden any future “freedom fighters”… the SAS have the motto right.
I propose a new strategy, not just “lets surge some forces and throw in some interagency for good measure”. We need to radically change our ideas about what will work in Afghanistan. The Karazi democracy idea is so G.W.

Let’s stop pretending that the Afghans desire western democracy, many of the older folks there can’t remember a good central government and the younger ones know nothing but religious extremism, and tribal warlords.

To frame this problem, let’s look at our Iraq strategy. In Iraq we have Kurds, Suni, Shia thee distinct ethnic populations with numerous tribal affiliations. Prior to our invasion a central government was the norm, (good is a matter of opinion) strong and stable, bellicose, but a central government none the less. The Iraqi people were used to this; many grew up with it, and most were able to operate within it. We realized that the strong central government resided mainly in Baghdad and therefore this should be the place that US forces, secure, support, leverage. We needed to increase the county’s reliance on their central government to ensure its legitimacy.

Afghanistan, when was the last time there was a stable strong central government, the 70s? The centers of power and influence are not in the government but within the tribal and ethnic leaders. The tribal and ethnic boundaries generally don’t line up with our maps and that’s ok. We need to find the Afghan centers of power and leverage them, support them, finance them, to help solve Afghanistan’s problems, and create stability. We need to stop trying to induce western values, morals and standards on a people that are so different then us. So let’s pick a few across the tribal/ethnic spectrum that we think are competent, generally moral, have a desire for stability and begin supporting them. Let’s leverage them to act as the governing bodies of Afghanistan. Lets help these ethnic and tribal leaders create a semi-federation whereby the tribes will govern themselves, we are not going to separate the intertwined religious, cultural and ethnic beliefs of a people, especially the ones in the hinterlands. The Afghans are accustomed to tribal hierarchy, a western style democracy not so much.
I am very intrigued by Major Mehar Omar Khan’s article: