Conflict & Justice

Deploying more troops to Afghanistan

(This is a substantial reinforcement, between 3-8,000 more Americans. Where exactly are they needed?) They're needed all along the border regions with Paksitan. All along, U.S., NATO and Afghan commanders have said they need more troops here, so it's a welcome announcement. (In general how does Afghan public opinion breakdown about international forces?) There's strong ambivalence. President Karzai just a few days ago said we don't need more foreign troops, just more Afghan troops. But when you get further into conversation with people, they recognize that it'd be a disaster if the Americans left. They'd just like the international forces to be more careful with their military operations. Karzai is also heading into an election year and has perhaps made statements like that to seem less in support of the Americans than he really is. (So how does this reflect on U.S. confidence in the Karzai government?) The need for more troops is indisputable, but confidence in Karzai has been flagging lately and questions about whether he can stand up against corruption. (How important is civil aid from the U.S. in the context of this extra surge?) Afghanistan even after seven years of U.S. investment is still one of the poorest countries in the world so it's imperative that they'll be able to build a sustainable infrastructure. (Has the infrastructure changed or improved over the last seven years?) The first four or five years were huge: more roads, more access to markets and health care. But in the last few years and few months, Afghans are more pessimistic than they were. Many people have emigrated, and there is a loss of hope.

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