As Gen. David Petraeus takes over the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan, he is right to continue a strategy of counterinsurgency and to strengthen it with a plan that seeks to give local Afghan communities the means to defend themselves. However, both the recently announced local defense plan, which pays community members to don a rifle and police uniform, and the over-arching counterinsurgency of which it is a part take the wrong path to reducing violence in Afghanistan.
As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2008, the U.S. "cannot kill its way to victory." Yet, the Pentagon has emphasized "providing security to the people," in counterinsurgency parlance, primarily by defending them or, in the case of this new local defense force, by arming them. This is not enough to resolve the problems that have allowed insurgents to thrive in the first place, which require political solutions that change the very conditions that facilitate the insurgency. ...
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.
- World Citizen: In New Rivalry, Great Powers Come Calling on India and Pakistan
- Despite Talk of Peace in Afghanistan, the Taliban Prepare to Fight
- Qatar Ties Reflect India’s Middle East Balancing Act
- As U.S. Draws Down, Afghanistan’s Women Weigh Uncertain Future
- Hard-line Politics in India and Pakistan Stymie Deeper Trade Ties