Editorial / Commentary / Opinion
Afghanistan Speech and Strategy
President Obama has announced that the United States will deploy an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, mostly to the Pashtun provinces of Helmand and Kandahar in the south, where the Taliban are in control. Though it suggests a goal of helping the Afghan state weather a Western withdrawal beginning in July 2011, Obama's plan is likely to make the circumstances of the withdrawal more unpleasant.
In his long-awaited address, the president presented a series of objectives but no clear strategy. Although al-Qaeda hasn't returned to Afghanistan in great numbers, he conceded that it maintains "safe havens along the border." Yes, on the other side, in Pakistan. Later, he articulated a goal to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Even as Obama spoke of focusing U.S. war efforts and preparing for withdrawal, he made it sound as though the United States should be fighting in two countries instead of one, aggregating distinct enemies together and fighting them all.
The signs were evident even in a Freudian slip in a Tuesday White House press briefing, when a senior administration official said, "our goal is to prevent the return of the Taliban -- I'm sorry, of al-Qaeda -- and to prevent the Taliban from overthrowing the Afghan government."
The new troops will not stay in southern Afghanistan long enough for the Afghan army to establish control there and build functioning government institutions. And, indeed, the presence of foreign troops fighting on behalf of a corrupt government in Kabul only makes that government more unpopular, which helps the Taliban grow more entrenched, even as they take losses.
Obama's speech was just a speech. His point about arming Afghan militias and building security from the ground up is where the country is actually headed. But as the Taliban continue to gain on Kabul from several directions -- including the north, where new troops would make more of a difference -- Obama's plan will make it harder for the government to survive and likely that the United States will leave Afghanistan looking worse than it does now.
Gilles Dorronsoro is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, is an expert on Afghanistan, Turkey, and South Asia. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views. hare these views.
Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by . Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .
All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld. All comments expressed are private comments and do not necessary reflect the view of this website. All comments are posted and published without liability to Petroleumworld.
Fair use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator.Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article, write to email@example.com
Petroleumworld News 12/ 04/09
Copyright© 1999-2009 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors
Send this story to a friend Any question or suggestions,
please write to:
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+
Windows NT 4.0, '95, '98 and ME +/ 800x600 pixels