Ever since I got back from vacation, I’ve been putting off one unavoidable post. It has to do with Afghanistan, where the online debate seems to have shifted from tactics to strategy. Namely, does the U.S. have a vital strategic interest in Afghanistan-Pakistan that justifies our continued military presence there? I think I’ve been dreading formulating my thoughts on this one because in some ways, I think the theoretical debate is irrelevant. Until we’re operating in support of a credible and legitimate national government, until we have a unity of command that includes allies willing to fight and able to […]
If July represents the first results of the Afghanistan surge, the portrait is sobering. With 75 troops killed, it was the deadliest month for the coalition since the war began. The British, who have about 9,000 soldiers in the country, were hit particularly hard, with eight soldiers killed in less than 24 hours recently. The painful news sounded political echoes in London. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee announced last week that “avoidable mistakes” have been part of a deficient strategy, leading to mission creep. It singled out the U.K.’s anti-poppy campaign, in particular, as a “poisoned chalice.” All […]
Anyone wondering what the Kyrgyz giveback to Russia would be for extending the U.S. lease at Manas didn’t have to wait long. That base is getting costly, especially since the logic for it ends with the operations in Afghanistan, whereas whatever concessions the Russians get in Kyrgyzstan are likely to have a lot more staying power.