Sunday, June 11, 2017


Does Afghanistan Deserve One More Chance? The White House will soon determine if the request for 3,000 to 5,000 more troops for Afghanistan will be honored. These additional bodies will provide more advisors (some at the tactical level), more close air support, and more Special Forces operators. A key component of the assistance that the Afghans need is in the form of advisors. But the advisors need to be high quality people that are forward deployed with Afghan tactical units. However, this increase in support to Afghanistan should not be unconditional or open ended. 'Conditionality' should be applied to the Afghan security forces and to the Afghan government. Corrupt Afghan security officers and government officials need to be removed. Ineffective and incompetent Army and police senior leaders need to be replaced. Read more in a report by Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) published on June 5, 2017 entitled Giving Afghanistan a Fighting "Last Chance".

Afghanistan: In a State of Chaos. Ben Anderson, reporting in Vice News says that "Afghanistan has Collapsed Into Chaos" in a report dated June 7, 2017. Doom and gloom.

In Interests of Peace Should Afghans Forget the Past? Most insurgencies don't end with a military victory but with reconciliation. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has returned to Kabul with a warm welcome from government officials but many older Kabul residents remember the past. Read "Afghanistan: Is Peace Possible Without Justice?", The Olive Branch, United States Institute for Peace, June 7, 2017.

Pakistan - Afghanistan Relations. One observer tries to make sense of the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not so sure the article attains this goal. See "Blame Game and Pak-Afghan Relations", Eurasia Review, June 11, 2017.

Kabul in Midst of Political Crisis. Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and author, provides his perspective on the lack of public confidence in President Ashraf Ghani in "Viewpoint: Can Afghan leader tackle crisis of confidence?", BBC News, June 6, 2017.

Staying the Course in Afghanistan. Helle Dale, writing in The Daily Signal (June 8, 2017) tells us "Why the US Must Stay the Course in Afghanistan".

An Economic Approach to Helping Afghanistan. Jennifer Staats believes that the United States should join India and China in building economic opportunities for Afghanistan. Read "To Help Afghanistan, Leverage China's Investments", The Olive Branch, United States Institute for Peace (USIP), June 6, 2017.

Podcast on Washington's New Afghan Strategy. A 34-minute podcast featuring two observers - Douglas Wissing and Sameer Lalwani - of the Afghan conflict is presented by Gandhara, June 6, 2017.

Killing Mullah Mansour - Did it Achieve Objectives? In May 2016 President Obama authorized a military drone strike against the leader of the Taliban as he was traveling through Pakistan in a vehicle. Did the 'decapitation' strike achieve anything of consequence? Or did it set back the progress of peace talks with the Taliban and cause resentment with the Pakistan government? Read Did Killing Mansour Work?, by Micah Zenko and Jennifer Wilson, Council of Foreign Relations, May 25, 2017.

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