Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Afghanistan Quagmire Watch

Once again, I'll remind you that "winning" the war in Afghanistan requires a central government that serves and protects its people. Who said so? Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose 2009 memo pushed President Obama into doubling down on the war there. From the memo:
The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials,and ISAF's own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their government. These problems have alienated large segments of the Afghan population. They do not trust GIRoA to provide their essential needs, such as security, justice, and basic services. This crisis of confidence, coupled with a distinct lack of economic and educational opportunity, has created fertile ground for the insurgency. 
...eventual success requires capable Afghan governance capabilities and security forces.
 How's that working out?
KABUL, Afghanistan — Local police forces trained and financed by the United States have killed and raped civilians, stolen land and carried out other abuses against the Afghan villagers they are charged with protecting, according to a report released on Monday by Human Rights Watch. 
The accusations of violence, theft and impunity raise new questions about whether the local police and government-supported militias in Afghanistan, which are meant to play a major role in defending small villages against the Taliban, are instead undermining security at a critical moment for the country and the NATO-led war effort.
We're not winning. This, in fact, is exactly what it means to be losing in Afghanistan. After 10 years, it seems reasonable to ask if it's possible to ever win, or if the cost is reasonable. On the last count, the answer sure seems to be "no."

No comments: