Your Ad Here

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Expert Back From Afghanistan: U.S. 'Cannot Afford To Lose 2 Wars'

The U.S. government must do more to deal with its less-publicized war -- the ongoing conflict against the Taliban and other forces in Afghanistan, according to a Washington expert who recently returned from Afghanistan.

The United States, which ousted Afghanistan's Taliban regime in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, must, for instance, put the survival needs of the Afghan people ahead of drug eradication, says Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

If Afghanistan does not get more support from the United States, it is almost certain that the Taliban and hostile elements in Afghanistan will have a much more successful 2007 offensive than they had in 2006, Cordesman says. "And we really, to put it bluntly, cannot afford to lose two wars. And I think that is the path that we are headed on without urgent action," he says.

U.S. and NATO forces are winning tactically in Afghanistan, Cordesman says.

"The problem with that is we won tactically in Vietnam," he says. "We are winning tactically in Iraq. The problems are not tactical victory; the problems are, are you actually gaining control of the countryside? Are you actually winning political support? Are you reducing Taliban influence or are you watching it expand? Are you developing effective NATO forces or are you keeping what people in Afghanistan call stand-aside forces? Do you have enough U.S. forces? Can you take an aid mission, which now is limited by finance and manpower to what, in some ways, are projects, which, while important, are more showpiece than projects that reach into the field, and substitute for the lack of Afghan governance in the field until you can develop that Afghan governance?"

Afghanistan needs about $6 billion in aid, or roughly three times higher than what the U.S. government is spending, Cordesman says. "And depending on how you define this, this is either half of a month in Iraq, or it is a month in Iraq, depending on how you are doing the counting," he says.

Afghans living in the countryside of Afghanistan are without water, without power, who do not have roads to get to an area where they can function, where it will take time to get them basic clinics and schools, Cordesman says.

"You are talking about a society in which people have drug loans to start the year – essentially a sharecropping type system," he says. "To put eradication before survival is a disastrous aid to the Taliban. And we have to have a program which links this to an overall development program and to a counterinsurgency campaign."

Afghanistan is a producer and exporter of poppies from which heroin is made.

Bookmark and drop back in sometime.

Enter your Email

Preview Powered by FeedBlitz


Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger RTO Trainer said...

Cordesman didn't come to Camp Phoenix. That said, I don't see how he can know what's going on here if he ignores the effort that is the backbone of what we are trying to accomplish.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Scott Nance said...

Sounds like you're in Afghanistan. What's your take of what's going on there?

5:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home