IT is hard to tell when momentum shifts in a counterinsurgency campaign, but there is increasing evidence that Afghanistan is moving in a more positive direction than many analysts think. It now seems more likely than not that the country can achieve the modest level of stability and self-reliance necessary to allow the United States to responsibly draw down its forces from 100,000 to 25,000 troops over the next four years.
The shift is most obvious on the ground. The additional 30,000 troops promised by President Obama in his speech at West Point 14 months ago are finally in place and changing the trajectory of the fight.… Seguir leyendo »
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.
The problem with public military timelines is that if they are too short, your enemy will wait you out, and if they are too long, your enemy will drive you out. President Obama has come under fire for saying that United States forces would begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011. Was this a good idea?
From a purely military perspective, announcing a timeline makes no sense. It gives our adversaries insight into our plans, dulling the edge of strategic ambiguity. But changing the trajectory of this war requires much more than killing and capturing Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
Progress depends on two political developments: inducing the administration of President Hamid Karzai to govern effectively, and persuading Pakistan that militant groups within its borders pose as great a threat to Islamabad as they do to Kabul.… Seguir leyendo »