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Afghanistan: The View from Prague

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010

Just a quick note to explain the light posting this week. I just got back from Prague, where I attended a "pre-London" conference on PRTs in Afghanistan organized by the Prague Security Studies Institute and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

It was a very informative few days, with the panel presenters and audience made up almost exclusively of ground-level actors working in Afghanistan. I'll be writing it up for the WPR front page tomorrow, so I don't want to go into too much detail. But I'll just note two initial impressions.

First, when we hear about the lack of "unity of action" between and among the various components of the Afghanistan war effort, what often goes unstated is that, in addition to a lack of coordination, there's a good deal of internal tension and turf battles going on.

And second, everyone seemed to agree that Afghanistan represents an extremely complex environment for what is being attempted there. I would add that this complexity includes the infosphere, where it remains very difficult to discern between opinion shaping, technocratic wishful thinking and the multiple -- and at times contradictory -- realities on the ground, as described by the actors.