Afghanistan: on the cliff-edge (Paul Rogers in openDemocracy)

The Taliban’s sophisticated, deadly new tactics are bringing the group closer to Kabul. The United States response is to redouble the failed tactics that helped achieve this outcome…

From the Pentagon’s perspective, what is to be done? Most of the foreign forces in Afghanistan are under Nato control in the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf); but this is largely under the leadership of the United States, and the overall war in Afghanistan is dominated by US planning and support. Britain, together with Canada and the Netherlands, may be heavily involved in counter-insurgency operations, but they are relatively small actors in a scene where the Pentagon is the driving-force.

Thus, the views of Washington are decisive: and the overwhelming judgment there – across the political spectrum – is that Afghanistan is now the central focus of the "war on terror". The John McCain and Barack Obama camps each take the view that there must be a substantial increase in the use of military force in Afghanistan, especially if some limited withdrawals from Iraq become possible (see Godfrey Hodgson, "America’s foreign-policy election", 28 August 2008).

Thus, the bottom-line is that there is only one answer to the Taliban revival, the revitalisation of al-Qaida, and even the jihadist presence in western Pakistan: the application of intense military force. There is simply no other way.

This has three key consequences…

Afghanistan: on the cliff-edge (Paul Rogers in openDemocracy)

Missie-Afghanistan (VK-blogsite)


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