Sunday, October 11, 2009

Commenting on a New Afghanistan Strategy

Torgny has left a new comment on the post "A Viable Afghanistan":

I support Obama in most issues of his politic, but not in this one. War is a strategy that usually proves being destructive, and can only be used for self-defence. Violence tends to create more violence, so we have to be very careful how to use it. The real war is in my opinion about winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. But American troops complain that Afghans don’t support them. Despite eight years of war, the war about the hearts and minds has so far been lost. Something must be wrong. You can’t say that we are helping others and they are only disgraceful to us.

I doubt that torturing Afghan people will provide any military help, but we can be sure that it has made the people in Afghanistan very hostile to USA. The frequent air-raids where many civilians are being killed. Imagine what reaction it would be in USA if Mexico sent air-planes to USA hunting drug-dealers and many American children were killed in these raids.

What is the purpose of this war? What is it supposed to accomplish? Why is USA losing the most important war in Afghanistan – the war of the hearts and minds of the Afghan people?

Torgny, I agree with you.

However, it’s irresponsible and even immoral to abandon Afghanistan again for the second time. We supported the Afghan mujahideen (known today, as that movement evolved, as the Taliban) in the Soviet–Afghan War from 1979-1988. In 1988, once the Soviets withdrew, US interest in Afghanistan ceased. The US decided not to help with reconstruction of the country and instead they handed over the interests of the country to US allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan quickly took advantage of this opportunity and forged relations with warlords and later the Taliban. And, so, we have the situation we are in today.

A new strategy with increased emphasis on soft power, involving more civilians from all likeminded countries participating in conjunction with NGOs, while diminishing hard power as the tribal areas become more secure, I believe is a winning strategy. If the United States and the world community ignore Afghanistan, yet another time, we will be fighting there again in some future war. I guarantee it.

I believe the following video from CBS’s 60 Minutes of Sunday, October 11 addresses your concerns, validates some of your concerns, and introduces us to some other concerns.

Watch CBS News Videos Online