Friday, July 16, 2010
Rethinking Somalia and Afghanistan
Meanwhile, former deputy NSA Bob Blackwill's idea is also generating a good deal of discussion ...
If US & EU try to replicate their current sand-box approach to Northern Afghanistan they will run afoul of Chinese, Iranian, and Russian interests. Specially given the fact that there is zero chance of getting a workable relationship with the Iranians going.
Warlords who dominate the Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara peoples until recently were part of the Kabul regime, which has been unable to provide effective government. The present Afghan army is mostly officered by Tajiks and manned by non-Pashtuns. Given the desertion rate of these troops, and the news that we are trying via cell phones to bypass the officers in getting pay to the police, it is hard to see the security forces of a northern state standing up to the Taliban.
It is also open to question whether the United States could hold the Taliban to the Pashtun south and east under partition in whatever interim period there would be. We would need to defend a line against enemy irregulars who could double in size once they have undisputed control of the Pashtun areas. None of our NATO allies are going to stay in a partitioned Afghanistan, and the mere fact of having retreated to a new line will give the enemy a sense that with additional time they can drive us out of the country.
A recent PowerPoint by Anthony Cordesman suggests that the prospects of the current surge in Afghanistan should be clear by mid-2011, and I would guess that the United States will continue the present course until then.