The 21st Century Phenomenon



The United States needs an “exit strategy” in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama said in an interview with the CBS “60 Minutes” program, on Sunday 03/22/2009, even as America expands its military, diplomatic and economic efforts against Taliban insurgency. “There’s got to be a sense that this is not a perpetual drift.” He said (see also – Afghan Policy Review ).

Mr. Obama’s comments come as his administration prepares to roll out its new strategy for Afghanistan amid rising insurgent violence that has called into question the viability of a seven-year-old US-led effort to create a functioning democracy in Afghanistan.

The US president announced last month that he would send 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer (2009) in response to a deteriorating security situation, adding to the 36,000 already there (see – Obamas deployment). US commanders have said that as many as 30,000 additional troops are needed to overcome a stalemate in parts of Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama also signaled that the US was redefining its role in Afghanistan. While the Bush administration favored a broad goal of promoting democracy, Mr. Obama said his primary goal was simply to get Afghanistan to a point where it was not used as a site from which to launch attacks on the US. He narrowly defined the US mission in Afghanistan as: “making sure Al Qaeda cannot attack the USA homeland and US interests and our allies. That’s the number one priority.”

The government of Afghan leader Hamid Karzai said it welcomed the US review but warned against any “quick fixes”. Correspondents say the review comes at a particularly low point in relations between Washington and President Karzai’s government (see – Afghan Failing-State).

Earlier, Richard Holbrooke, the USA special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said USA policy would no longer treat the two countries separately.We have to integrate the two and I hope the rest of the world will join us in that effort,” he told the BBC (see also – Toughest Challange).

The remark came just two days after UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said UK, the USA and their allies face a “strategic stalemate” in some parts of Afghanistan, and amide ongoing deterioration in Pakistan as well (see – Strategic Stalemate).

Iraq has almost the same number of population, a better infrastructure and the country is smaller then Afghanistan, despite that USA needed over 150,000 troops to contain and, eventually, to decrease the violence and to restore some degree of stability. The number of NATO-ISAF troops in Afghanistan, which will reach 100,000 in summer 2009, is far from enough.  

Many European countries, allies to USA and members in NATO, fear Afghanistan might turn to a second Iraq which will suck endless resources for years to come and doubt if it worth it. 

President Obama’s comment about “exit strategy” and the last reference of David Miliband are a clear declaration that in the war in Afghanistan the Taliban gained the upper hand, so far, not only in Afghanistan but in nuclear Pakistan as well (see – As If Democracy ).


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