The Realist Prism: Afghanistan, Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

The Realist Prism: Afghanistan, Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

Events in Egypt have taken center stage in global news coverage, displacing developments in Afghanistan in what amounts to a mixed blessing for the Obama administration. For while critics have taken the White House to task for its approach on Egypt, particularly over its mixed messages and lack of a unified response, they have paid less attention to the recent string of Taliban bombings in Kandahar -- and the potential implications for the administration's war strategy.

The attacks killed the province's deputy governor, Abdul Latif Ashna, and targeted the home of Kandahar's police chief, Khan Mohammad Mujahid, who was not killed or injured. They are also focusing on government officials throughout the southern part of the country -- with Bak district's acting chief, Sayed Mohammad, assassinated earlier this week -- as part of an attempt to disrupt the Afghan government's efforts to staff itself in these volatile regions.

Even before this recent wave of attacks, the government was having difficulty in building a more effective presence. Last October, Hajji Mohammed Anis, the provincial chief executive, lamented that he was unable to fill more than 600 government positions. In many areas, the only government presence is a district chief and a police chief, meaning that other services -- including health care, education and dispute resolution -- cannot be provided. In addition, with some 600 government officials, village elders and aid workers having been killed in the past nine years, the Taliban's campaign of targeted intimidation is having an impact, as people are less and less inclined to join the government.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.