Sunday, July 30, 2017

Commentary on Afghanistan Conflict

What the West Must Do. Zabihullah Noori, an Afghan journalist based in London, writes about the desperate situation in Afghanistan and what the international community must do to correct the downward slide of Afghanistan to instability. Read "The West on the Brink of Failure in Afghanistan", Tolo News, July 25, 2017.

Time for a 'Peace Surge'? Laurel Miller, a senior State Department official with the Obama administration, writes on the need to step up the support for negotiations with the Taliban. She believes that is the only strategy that will work to resolve the conflict. Read more in "A Peace 'Surge' to End War in Afghanistan", The New York Times, July 23, 2017. Miller is a senior foreign policy expert at the RAND Corporation. While with the State Department she worked on the peace process for Afghanistan from 2013 to 2017.

Fixing the ANDSF. The international community needs to make some drastic changes on how it does business in Afghanistan. The current approach of the past several years has not worked. Patronage networks, nepotism, ethnic favoritism, corruption, and poor leadership has hobbled the ANDSF and the security ministries. The senior leaders of the ANP and ANA need to be purged - getting rid of the corrupt and inept leadership. Resolute Support leaders need to step up and conduct a house cleaning to set things right. RS advisors need to get below the ANA corps and police zone level to interact with mid and lower-level leaders. In addition the National Security Directorate (NDS) needs to be strengthened as well. Read "Fixing Afghanistan's Struggling Security Forces", The Diplomat, July 24, 2017.

"Just a Little Bit Longer". The new Afghan strategy is still being developed - this after 16 years of conflict and an administration entering its seventh month in office. Read some background on this topic in "$700 Billion and 16 Years at War Is a 'Modest Amount,' U.S. Officers Say", The Daily Beast, July 24, 2017.

Afghanistan and Arab Gulf Countries. The countries in the Gulf region need to look at their policies towards and interaction with Afghanistan. Iran is extending its influence with the Taliban as well as continuing to support the Afghan government. This should be a matter of concern for Arab Gulf countries. Read more in "Where Afghanistan is heading and what it means for the Arab Gulf",, July 24, 2017.

Mistrust of Pakistan. One observer examines the issues that poison the relationship between the United States and Pakistan in "Pakistan-United States relations: Mutual mistrust continues", Modern Diplomacy, July 25, 2017.

Identity Politics in Afghanistan. Patricia Gossman provides some insight on how ethnicity and corruption plays a big role in Afghan politics and governance. Read "Afghanistan's Deadly Identity Politics", Foreign Affairs, July 24, 2017.

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