Friday, March 16, 2012

Afghanistan: more bad news

Update: A quite revealing column about Karzai by Joshua Partlow.

I haven't said anything about recent events in Afghanistan (including Koran burnings and the reaction; the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by an as-yet-unnamed U.S. soldier who has now apparently been flown out of the country by the military [update note: he has now been named]; and the Taliban's suspension of the barely-begun peace talks). None of this bodes very well, though there is disagreement about how damaging these events are to the NATO/ISAF position, and Obama and Cameron have been trying to put the best face on things.

Those, such as S. Walt, who argued from the beginning that the Afghanistan 'surge' was a mistake feel that their judgment has been vindicated, and I was hard put to do anything but agree with Walt's recent post to that effect. Commenting on a post of mine in August 2010, Hank suggested that patience was required. About a year-and-a-half later, I'm not sure that a great deal has been accomplished; we won't know for sure, I suppose, until the ISAF forces leave and the Afghan army and police are more or less on their own. But I suspect that the Afghanistan surge will go down as one of Obama's biggest foreign policy mistakes (or even, per Walt, the biggest).

P.s. See also this interview on 'The World' (PRI) about, among other things, how the soldier accused in the shootings might have been able to walk off the base unnoticed.


hank_F_M said...


It's a war stupid!
One of my best lines and I'd forgotten about it.:- )

As much as most everyone would wish otherwise it still is a war. This sort of war in never short. i.e. that the enemy is of preference switching to IED's from direct engagements is a positive sign. Two steps forward one step back. Though recently we managed to take several back without any help.

Back at the end of 2009 the President had two choices heads reinforce tails pull out neither of which was a good choice. Is Walt suggesting we should have pulled out or does he think there was a third option?

The update quotes President Karzai: “Afghanistan is ready right now to take all security responsibilities completely.”

Al Quada is all but shut down in that area which was our main goal. An Afgani government that can manage it's own security is a nother main goal. I say call his bluff and do it loud enough that he can't back down.

Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

LFC said...

Walt's position, I believe, is that instead of 'surging' in 2010 the pres. should have announced in Dec. 09 the start of a withdrawal. I don't think Walt favored some third option or even thought there was a third option. (There was the option favored by Biden which wd have relied more on special ops forces etc but that was basically a start-to-withdraw plan also.)

I'm not sure exactly what to say about Karzai's quoted statement except to wonder whether he really meant it seriously or whether it was an expression of his frustration/anger, understandable in light of the recent events.