Sunday, November 14, 2010

Karzai: Yankees Go Home

Washington Post: "KABUL- President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that the United States must reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan and end the increased U.S. Special Operations forces night raids that aggravate Afghans and could exacerbate the Taliban insurgency."

Essentially, Karzai wants Americans to pursue a counterterrorism strategy -- focused more on the Pakistani borderlands -- than the current nation-building counterinsurgency. And if that's what he wants, that's probably what he should get: Afghanistan is a sovereign country, after all. Unless we're willing to suggest that he's implicitly sheltering terrorists by ordering a reduced American troop presence in his country -- thus making him the enemy -- we should probably start ratcheting down the war after a long and mostly failed decade.

Of course, Karzai might just be making sounds in public that his countrymen want to hear while begging Americans, behind the scenes to stay. I'm dubious his government could survive long without its American patron. But I'm not sure how long America can survive its patronage. Karzai wants us to draw down and go home. Maybe it's time to do just that.

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