A Deadline We Can Believe In?

President Obama said that troop withdrawals from Afghanistan will begin in 18 months. Some of his advisers have hinted that the deadline is flexible. So, should we stick to the timeline or not? Here are three opinions from experts on the subject.

1.- Advantage: Taliban.

By Ahmed Rashid, President Obama’s decision muddied the waters as far as American credibility in Afghanistan and Pakistan is concerned, and created misapprehensions in Europe.

2.- Just Stick To It.

By Marc Lynch, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the plan’s prospects, from the corruption in Kabul to the difficulties of state-building. But a clearly communicated timeline increases the odds of success.

3.- Military Time, Civilian Time.

By Nathaniel Fick, the strategic benefits of setting a timeline may outweigh its tactical costs, if it persuades President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan to make progress stabilizing Afghanistan.