Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well! I accept!

The Obama Administration has taken over and revamped the White House website, accordingly outline what is on "the Agenda." I was surprised to see that Iraq warranted its own headline on a list including Defense and Foreign Policy. So where is Afghanistan? With President Obama pledging to "review" the US policy on Afghanistan as he sends in roughly 17K more troops to join the 34K already there (13K shy of the requested number), I wonder if they are even close to seeing a clear strategy for the country. There is the obvious worry of a failed state, and no one wants that, especially in such a sensitive region. However, per the presentation last week, the US needs to decide what we really can expect from Afghanistan (and how much we are willing to sink into the seeming money pit).

The timing of the troop increase makes sense: Afghanistan will soon be warming out of a cold winter, increasing the fighting from the insurgents (hope I used insurgency correctly). But, considering the truce the Pakistani Army just declared with the Taliban in Swat, things could be turning even more sour. Although the US tried to spin this one optimistically (the Paks will be more conducive to aiding the US in moving logistics/communications through the area and Khyber Pass). Needless to say, the Indians aren't so jubilant about this, fearing repercussions in the North from the Taliban and similar terrorist organizations .

Karzai seems optimistic about the escalation. It's obvious something else needs to be done, and swiftly (death tolls continue to rise). This is a good step forward for Obama (and also a follow through from the campaign/debate trail) but it's hardly the beginning. Perhaps this deployment warrants that extra heading on the White House agenda. At least to remind the US people that Afghanistan is still at the forefront of the administration's to-do list.


AR said...

I think that stability in Afghanistan is an important issue, but really the lynchpin (can we still use that word?) of our war on the Taliban is Pakistan. Even if Afghanistan is stabilized and the Taliban removed, if they just find safe refuge in Swat or some other region of Pakistan, the whole effort is wasted.

EP said...

Word. And there are mumblings of the Taliban invigorating the Indian Islamic groups in the Northern Punjab to declare Sharia within India. Not only a loss for the US and Afghanistan, but for India as well.