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Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

CNN International News with Christiane Amanpour

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
AFGHAN WARRIOR: THE LIFE & DEATH OF ABDUL HAQ
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
KABUL’S HORIZONS
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
Win hearts and minds in Afghanistan to win the war
Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
How the US Funds the Taliban
Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
Cabinet of Warlords
Afghanistan and the lessons of history
Clinton says Karzai ‘must do better’
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan
After Afghanistan election, governors seek distance from 'illegal' Karzai
Karzai was hellbent on victory. Afghans will pay the price
Matthew Hoh: Please refute what I'm saying, we are stuck in the Afghan civil war
As US looks for exit in Afghanistan, China digs in
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistani
The Afghan '80s are back
Pashtun peace prophet goes global
Afghan Road Builder's Dream Thwarted by Violence
A white elephant in Kabul
The Afghan Runoff: Will It Be a No-Show Election?

Ashraf Ghani- Afghanistan's Disputed Election Complicates U.S. Strategy

On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja

Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times


Afghanistan Cross Road CNN


The last frontier


Bruce Richardson
 

Articles

CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team
What the CIA’s cash has bought for Afghanistan

Khalilzad: A Satan Whispering in the Hearts of Men
The Afghan trust deficitt
Will We Learn Anything from Afghanistan? Part 1
Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
William R. Polk
General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence
Afghans want Taliban peace talks
Bombing Weddings in Afghanistan: It Couldn't Happen Here, It Does Happen There
Hekmatyar's never-ending Afghan war
Covert American Aid to the Afghan Resistance; A Top-Secret U.S. Foreign Policy Plot to Induce and Effect Soviet Military Intervention
Afghan brain drain fears as Karzai urges education reforms

US considers launching joint US-Afghan raids in Pakistan to hunt down militant groups

Real security in Afghanistan depends on people's basic needs being met
Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy
Former Taliban Officials Say U.S. Talks Started
Taliban ready for talks with US, not Karzai government
Emboldened Taliban Try to Sell Softer Image
Leaked NATO Report Shows Pakistan Support For Taliban
Insight: Few options for Afghan, U.S. leaders after Kandahar massacre
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television
NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles
BFP Exclusive: Karzai Clan Attorney Threatens US Journalist, Uses Intimidation Tactics
Afghanistan Chronicles
Arduous path to Afghan 'end-game'
Fear in the classrooms: is the Taliban poisoning Afghanistan's schoolgirls?
A comment on the recent events of student poisoning in Afghanistan
Rape Case, in Public, Cites Abuse by Armed Groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s Peace Talks Hit Brick Wall
THE ANATOMY OF US’S DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN
VOICES OF EMPIRE: FROM CIA’s CULTURAL GREAT GAME TO GLOBAL GREAT GAME TODAY
WHITE PAPER FOR THE PERMANENT PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN
King Karzai
A Federal System of Government is Not Suitable for Afghanistan
CHINA AMO DARYA OIL DEAL
Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins
U.S. Envoy: Kabulbank Was 'Vast Looting Scheme'
Speaking with the enemy: how US commanders fight the Taliban during the day and dine with them at night
Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Musery
How to Win Peace in Afghanistan
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Criticism of Afghan War Is on the Rise in Britain
Troops 'fighting for UK's future'
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Afghans still skeptical about Obama
US Defence Department struggling with public release of report on bombing in Afghanistan
Afghanistan on the Edge
Q+A: Who are the Pakistani Taliban insurgents?
Afghanistan Past & Present
Bombs for Pashtoons and Dollars for Punjab
Help! I'm being outgunned on K Street!
ANGELS CHASING DEMONS: “Jesus Killed Mohammad”!
U.S. tested 2 Afghan scenarios in war game
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama hearing range of views on Afghanistan
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Afghans tricked into U.S. trip, detained
In the Afghan War, Aim for the Middle
Obama pulled two ways in Afghanistan
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Gates: Mistake to set time line for Afghan withdrawal
Afghans question what democracy has done for them
High stakes in Afghan vote recount
Two Perspectives On Resolving The Afghan Postelection Crisis
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistanis
The Afghan '80s are back
How to Lose in Afghanistan
US in Afghanistan proposes revamped strategy
US 'needs fresh Afghan strategy'
US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips
Lessons from Vietnam on Afghanistan
Afghan Pres. Skips Country's 1st TV Debate
A proud moment for Afghanistan
Rival to Karzai Gains Strength in Afghan Presidential Election
Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
America and international law
Hamid Karzai pulls out of historic TV debate just hours before broadcast
Karzai says no to first Afghanpresidential debate
Afghan election: Can Karzai's rivals close the gap?
Karzai opponents hope to beat him in second round
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
Well-known traffickers set free ahead of election
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Why the Pentagon Axed Its Afghanistan Warlord
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
The Irresistible Illusion
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit
We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
Obama orders probe of killings in Afghanistan
Obama admin: No grounds to probe Afghan war crimes
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
The Irresistible Illusion
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit

We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Stakes High in Afghanistan Ahead of August Elections
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
Outside View: Four revolutions
Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas
 

 

 

 

 

Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again


 


Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan  
Source: Council on Foreign Relations By: Interviewee: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

President Obama has withdrawn the last of the so-called 30,000 "surge troops" he sent to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, but Max Boot, a veteran military analyst for CFR, says there are "huge uncertainties about the outcome" in the country. He says that "we certainly do not have the sense of victory in sight that we saw in Iraq when the surge troops were pulled out of there." Even though President Obama campaigned in 2008 on a platform of bolstering forces in Afghanistan, "he has done very little to rally public support for the war effort, again because I think he's fundamentally ambivalent about the war himself," Boot says. He also says there are significant questions about long-term U.S. commitment "because neither President Obama nor [Republican presidential nominee] Governor Mitt Romney is eager to talk about Afghanistan."

In his 2012 speech to the UN General Assembly, President Obama devoted exactly one line to Afghanistan, saying: "We've begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014." What are your thoughts on the situation in Afghanistan?

As the last of the surge troops have returned home, the situation in Afghanistan remains very fragile and uncertain. The surge troops made demonstrable gains in the south, where they were concentrated. They had taken away many of the Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. But President Obama never sent as many surge troops as the generals had requested, and therefore made it impossible to simultaneously carry out operations in areas to the east and directly to the south of Kabul. As a result, the NATO command was never able to carry out the kind of "clear and hold" operations in those areas that were carried out in the south. There are still Haqqani sanctuaries located a few hours' drive from Kabul, with an especially dangerous situation in Wardak and Ghazni provinces, located between Kabul and Kandahar.

What did the commanders want?

The commanders were denied the opportunity to carry out simultaneous operations in the south and east. That became impossible when Obama decided to bring the surge troops home at the end of this month, a date which had no military justification whatsoever and was directly in contravention of the best military advice that he received from General David Petraeus and other commanders, who suggested keeping the troops through the 2013 summer fighting season or at very least until the end of this year. But now the troops have been pulled out during the 2012 fighting season, which is a real handicap for commanders trying to cement long-term success.

What does the future indicate?

There are still huge challenges that remain on the ground, including the fact that the Taliban and the Haqqani still have secure sanctuaries in Pakistan, as well as the fact that the level of corruption remains high in Afghanistan and the level of government capacity remains relatively low. There are also significant question marks about the depth and extent of the long-term U.S. commitment because neither President Obama nor [Republican presidential nominee] Governor Mitt Romney is eager to talk about Afghanistan. And when President Obama does talk about it, it's exclusively in terms of his desire to withdraw American troops. He seldom ever talks about what success would look like and how we're going to achieve it.

How is the Taliban faring?

Although the Taliban has certainly been set back by the coalition operations of the last several years, they retain significant capacity, as we've seen in recent weeks with the audacious attack on Camp Bastion, the main coalition base in Helmand province where they managed to destroy six AV-8B Harrier jets and do damage to two others, which was the greatest single-day loss of American combat aircraft since the Vietnam war. That's an indication of the kind of capacity they still retain.

There is also a threat from insider attacks, which have led to a temporary suspension of operations between coalition and Afghan troops at the lower levels.

So these are all significant challenges, which create huge uncertainties about the outcome in Afghanistan. We certainly do not have the sense of victory in sight that we saw in Iraq when the surge troops were pulled out of there.

Obama campaigned on a platform of doing more in the Afghan war. Why did the president shift so dramatically from seeming to be being enthusiastic about winning the Afghan war, to almost hoping no one notices it?

Well it's hard to intuit his thinking. I think the cynical explanation would be that his heart was never really in Afghanistan in the first place, that it was just a convenient campaign ploy during 2008 when he was campaigning as the person who was going to get us out of Iraq. He wanted to demonstrate that he was not dovish, that he was going to be tough on our enemies, and he called Afghanistan the central front on the war on terrorism and it was the "necessary war" and we had to win.

But then when he came into office, he was actually confronted with a hard military analysis of what was required to win. It was a lot more than he had talked about during the campaign, when he was talking about sending one or two brigades, which would have been 5,000 to 10,000 troops to Afghanistan. At that point, there were a lot of people in the administration led by Vice President Biden, who were arguing we don't need to have a big build-up, we don't need to do counterinsurgency, we can just keep a small special operations footprint and rely on that.

Whereas the consensus of his military advisors, Secretary of Defense Gates, General Petraeus, General Stanley McChrystal, and even Secretary of State Clinton was: We need to make a much more ambitious commitment if we [are] to prevent the Taliban from retaking Kandahar city and much of Afghanistan. At that point, my read is that Obama was ambivalent and he tried to split the difference by sending more troops, but not quite as many as the generals wanted, but more than the Biden faction wanted, and by also putting a timeline on the commitment, which is something the military did not want.

This may have made sense from a political perspective, because in politics, success is often in the art of compromise. The problem is it doesn't make sense on the battlefield because you're fighting a determined enemy, and doing things halfway can result not in a half measure of success, but in total defeat.

That's my best read of what's been going on.

When the United States launched its initial attack in Afghanistan at the end of 2001, there was of course great enthusiasm as the U.S. troops marched into Kabul with their Afghan allies. But now no one even ever talks about Afghanistan. Why did Americans lose interest?

I think primarily because the war has dragged on for so long. Depending on how you count it, it's the longest war in American history, or at least the longest overseas war. And it's gone on year after year and the public has lost interest. There is an inherent boredom and a lack of interest in what's going on because it's a war being fought by a tiny percentage of the population, often isolated from the mainstream of society.

The troops care, their families care, their friends care, but very few other Americans care.

And that's exacerbated by the fact that President Obama, amazingly enough, even though he's ordered all these troops into harm's way, almost refuses to talk about what they're doing or why it's important or the progress of their mission. So he has done very little to rally public support for the war effort, again because I think he's fundamentally ambivalent about the war himself.

How good are the Afghan troops who are now left alone to fight the Taliban?

I hope that the Afghan troops will not be left alone to fight the Taliban even after 2014. They have actually improved tremendously in many ways over the last several years, their numbers have expanded up to 350,000 and the competency, especially of the Afghan army, has expanded significantly. They are largely respected by the Afghan people. Polls show that the Afghan army is [one of] the most respected institutions in Afghan society. They are not viewed as being sectarian; they do have a balance between Pashtuns, and Tajiks and Hazaris and other ethnic groups. But there are several problems, largely at the upper levels. While the troops fight hard, the infrastructure to support them is really not up to where it needs to be yet.

These are all capabilities where American advisors play a vital role. And I think the Afghan army can continue to perform competently, and can continue to do what it is doing now. But it's going to need a substantial advise-and-assist force even after 2014 to keep them operating, because if you pull out that backbone of the Afghan forces, the whole force is going to collapse.

Are U.S. advisers still helping out on intelligence and training, and does the United States still have helicopters helping out the Afghan troops?

Absolutely. There are still some 68,000 U.S. forces in the country and U.S. advisory teams are embedded at various levels of the Afghan military, but the greatest support that the Afghan army receives right now is not so much from the embedded advisers, it's from the coalition units that are operating on the ground alongside of them. That is why it is of such concern that cooperation at the level below battalion has been suspended because of these insider attacks. If that suspension stays in place for any substantial period of time, it's going to take away the number one tool that U.S. forces have to improve the combat effectiveness of the Afghan army, which is simply working alongside of them, showing them how to do things by example, and also providing fire support, and they have access to med evacs. That partnering relationship is at the heart of what is improving the performance of the Afghan army.

Earlier in the year there was a lot of talk about possible negations between the U.S. and Afghan governments and the Taliban to have a cease fire agreement. Whatever happened to those negotiations?

They went nowhere, and it's hard to see any reason why they would go anywhere because what incentive do the Taliban have to make any concessions when they think that we're going to leave after 2014. Their strategy is simply to wait us out and take over the country once were gone. They've certainly suffered setbacks, but they are not convinced that the Afghan government and security forces will last or that we will have a long-term commitment to Afghanistan. And as long as that's the case and as long as they continue to enjoy sanctuaries in Pakistan, they have no real reason to negotiate seriously.

Has Mitt Romney had anything to say about Afghanistan?

He thinks that setting a timeline for departure is a mistake, but in general terms he does support the 2014 deadline, and [says] that when he comes into office he would meet with his military advisers to reach the best decision in terms of how to proceed on troop levels. We've had a drawdown to 68,000 troops now. President Obama has said that he would wait until after the election to make any further decisions about any further drawdowns. But that's going to be the first line of business confronting the next president, which is how many more troops are we going to take out of Afghanistan and on what timeline.

 

 

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