Eight years ago, a small number of U.S. personnel, working in tandem with local Afghan leaders, entered Afghanistan with a defined aim: to punish al-Qaida and overthrow the Taliban regime that harbored them. Over the past year, that mission has morphed into the much broader objective of rebuilding the Afghan state and protecting Afghan villages. Most recently, America's top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said a new strategy must be forged to "earn the support of the [Afghan] people . . . regardless of how many militants are killed or captured."
Such an undertaking, amounting to a large-scale social-engineering project, is unwarranted. The cost in blood and treasure that we would have to incur -- coming on top of what we have already paid -- far outweighs any possible benefits, even accepting the most optimistic estimates for the likelihood of success. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Despite Talk of Peace in Afghanistan, the Taliban Prepare to Fight
- As U.S. Draws Down, Afghanistan’s Women Weigh Uncertain Future
- Afghanistan’s Ghani Builds Regional Momentum for Taliban Talks
- Peshawar Attack: Pakistan’s Weak Security Puts Cities in Line of Fire
- Strategic Horizons: What Are the Real Lessons of the Afghanistan War?