February 19, 2010

THEY'RE LEARNING AT LEAST:

U.S. Bets Best Ally In Surge Is Old One (MATTHEW ROSENBERG and PETER SPIEGEL, 2/19/10, WSJ)

A few hours after dusk last Friday, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top allied commander in Afghanistan, stepped into an armored car for the short drive from his headquarters to the presidential palace in Kabul. The time had come to decide whether to assault the Taliban town of Marjah. It was up to President Hamid Karzai to make the call.

For both the Americans and the Afghans, who have been fighting together for more than eight years, it was a novel moment. As Mr. Karzai said after being roused from a nap: "No one has ever asked me to decide before."


The exchange, described by Western and Afghan officials with knowledge of the meeting, encapsulates the new American strategy that is at the heart of the effort to reverse the tide of the war, beginning with the offensive in Marjah in southern Afghanistan. By giving Mr. Karzai responsibility over key elements of the campaign, Western officials are hoping he will seize the battlefield advantage given to him by the arrival of thousands of fresh American troops and turn it into a chance to re-establish his government's—and his own—credibility.


Of course, this Administration was trying to topple him just a few months ago, but credit for moving on after their failure.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2010 7:00 AM
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