The focus now should be on the implementation of the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and the region. Commentators debate the pros and cons of the approach, but it is now U.S. policy. It requires careful coordination and integration of the tools of American power—military, diplomatic, economic and development—to move toward its objective: a negotiated Afghan political settlement. The policy’s specifics must now be defined and executed.
The rationale for continued U.S. engagement—to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a base for terrorist attacks as it was in 2001—carries much weight given the threats from radical and terrorist groups emanating from Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the region. “Right now (the Taliban) calculates that it can win,” argues a senior U.S. official, and if the United States were to leave precipitously the outcome would be “a state of chaos.” Yet, the tools and actions needed go far beyond “kinetic” actions.
The U.S. approach needs to address: 1) the situation in Afghanistan itself (political, economic, development and military); 2) the role of Pakistan as an enabler of the Taliban and other violent groups and as a possible facilitator of peace; 3) the regional context: other neighbors and key players who can help or hinder a peace process and the India-Pakistan rivalry, which adds a nuclear dimension; 4) the important role of U.S. allies and partners in Afghanistan and in forging a path to peace; and, 5) the objective of achieving a negotiated political settlement which incorporates the Taliban.
Umm, s’cuse me and all, but..”incorporates the Taliban”? Really?
Let’s see, would that be the same Taliban that we’ve been engaged in a fruitless, umpty-leven year slog trying to remove from power? The murderously savage thugs who arm, equip, train, shelter, and fund Muslim terrorists, and have for years? THAT Taliban?
The same Taliban who did this? THAT Taliban? They’re to be our “partners in peace” now?
What the ever-loving blue-eyed Hell ever happened to defeating these vile bastards, pray tell? No, never mind; probably best not to answer that one. It would be too fucking depressing.
Far as I’m concerned, the only “plan” Trump needs to be working on regarding Afghanistan is the airlift schedules for pulling every last bit of American materiel, personnel, and armament right the hell out of there—down to the last bullet, bandage, jerry-can, MRE, and tent stake. Yesterday wouldn’t be too soon. But hey, guess that’s just me.
Sheesh. Who the hell came up with this tripe, anyhow?
Earl Anthony Wayne served in Afghanistan 2009–11. A retired U.S. Career Ambassador, he is a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Senior Nonresident Advisor at CSIS.
Ah. “Career Ambassador”…and wouldn’t you just know Woodrow Wilson’s black name would pop up again, even in as far-flung a context as this.