On March 6th this space argued for getting out of Afghanistan NOW! Given the events over the past 11 days, NOW can’t come soon enough.
President Karzai wants troops out of the villages. The villages are the focal point of the strategic imperative. If we’re not in the villages, there is simply no reason to be there other than security for the Karzai government, the same government that murdered two American officers at the Interior Ministry, demanding apologies and is ‘angry’ that we will not allow a trial by Afghan authorities related to the tragic shootings last week. This government is not worth saving at the cost of more American and coalition life. It has been long reported that outside Kabul there really is no government in Afghanistan. This is the Karzai government receiving bags of cash from Iran.
President Karzai wants to take over security operations sooner as opposed to later, 2013 by his calculus. Let’s cooperate fully and make it 2012 instead.
The Taliban breaks off peace talks, a clear demonstration of what dominates the Taliban mind set. That mind set has nothing to do with peace! It’s about getting us out, so they can return to the ongoing war for control of the country. The peace talks were never about peace, it was solely protective of Taliban resources, allowing them to be ready to move when the time comes. The Taliban war on the Afghan people will commence, regardless of a withdrawal date and regardless of what we do in the moment.
Demonstrations continue in the full bloom of anti American passion. Leave them to their devices and continue to ‘take out’ suspected terror support infrastructure. What can they do about it short of complaints? The complaints, and the war, will continue, with us or without us.
The alleged attempt on Secretary Panetta could not have gotten as far as it did without collusion within the ranks of Afghan political and military organizations intent on breeching security. Afghan corruption is rampant. Government control is tenuous, at best. Pakistan created the Taliban; there are no signs that a stable Afghanistan is viewed by Pakistan as a strategic benefit. They want a compliant Afghanistan on their western border; the preferred options are continual conflict or Taliban control. Without Pakistan and the U.S. sharing objectives in Afghanistan this is simply a political dance with no good end in sight.
I agreed, in principal, with the President at the time of the Afghan ‘surge’. However, changing conditions and experiences must alter decisions when their effectiveness has run its course. Decisions have short life spans, especially if they are the correct decisions, demanding new decisions based on new circumstance. We need a new decision.
It’s time to allow President Karzai to have what he’s asked for. Leave NOW!