November 18, 2009

THERE IS NO AFGHANISTAN:

What would victory look like in Afghanistan?: How can the British and Americans win the war in Afghanistan? By redefining “victory” of course. (Duncan Gardham, 18 Nov 2009, Daily Telegraph)

My guess is that one idea of victory for the Taliban would be watching foreigners leave their country.

Then they will hope to consolidate their power bases in Pashtun areas and attempt, at some point, to retake Kabul.

So what would victory look like for us?

The answer must be a regime in Kabul that is strong enough to withstand that attack and retain some influence over areas beyond the capital.

An alternative would be an acceptance of the notion, rejected in the aftermath of the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan is more suited to a federal set-up of states controlled by local strong-men with the power to keep the Taliban at bay.

Either way we will not be there to hold the Afghan National Army by the hand as they are asked to fight to the death in areas that are often hundreds of miles from their homes.


In his wonderful book, The Places in Between, Rory Stewart makes it abundantly clear just how little interest the average Afghan outside the cities has in what's even happening in the next village (unless they're waging a vendetta against it). So the idea that they can all be united under one central government that they consent to and will governed by is pretty silly. But it's just as silly for the Taliban as for us.

So just use its tribalism.

Break up the artificial states of Afghanistan and Pakistan and devolve power to the local level. E unum pluribus.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2009 6:54 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« FOREIGN TRIPS ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE A PRESIUDENT LOOK GOOD WHEN HE'S FAILING AT HOME: | Main | SO MUCH FOR AMERICAN LEGAL TRADITIONS...LIKE THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: »