Global Politics

What next for U.S. in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan's Ambassador to the U.S. is Said Jawab and he says the problems in Afghanistan cannot be solved unless Pakistan stops offering safe haven to the Taliban. (So what do you say to the notion that Senator Obama would like to see more combat brigades in Afghanistan and the U.S. should attack even if it has to go into Pakistan to capture Taliban operatives?) I completely agree. They're dangerous for the future safety of the region. (What would you show U.S. officials first in Afghanistan?) I'd show them how much better we're building up our national army, how we spend our resources, and our police force. People are afraid to support us, and we need to provide security and assure them that they can support us.

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My name is Jean McKenzie, I'm the director for War and Peace Reporting in Afghanistan. The U.S. needs to decide what we're trying to do here. we need to know how we're going to use extra troops, if we add more. Just adding more troops is going to make things worse, not better. A military solution to a complex problem is not realistic. Afghanistan is in dire need of security, that's its main need. The policies we've been pursuing have pushed away security. We need to deliver on the promises we've made. We need to convince Afghans that they're better off with us here.

I'm Bill Arkin, online columnist for the Washington Post. The U.S. needs to take a deep breath. Nothing that's going on in Afghanistan hasn't happened before, and this is more about a challenge with Pakistan than it is with the government in Kabul. The Taliban is getting stronger, but we're not going to do be able to do anything without solving the Pakistan problem. More troops? Why? You can't apply the same counterinsurgency strategies we've been using in Iraq.

My name is Sarah Chase and I run a cooperative in Afghanistan that makes skin care products. The main concern for the U.S. has got to be cracking down on corruption. We put the current government in power and the ordinary people here say they get the shake down from the Taliban at night and the government during the day. It's time for U.S. officials to begin methodically demanding better behavior from officials. More troops are needed, but less corruption first.

++ an excellent approach to gauging US policy both now and going forward in Iraq. Very interesting.