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Watches and Time in Afghanistan


 

David Kilcullen, the Australian anthropologist who partnered with U.S. General David Petraeus to implement the American “surge” counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, spoke via satellite to the Conference of Defence Associations Institute seminar in Ottawa today.

He was asked about the impending NATO troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, where Kilcullen’s experience is deep and ongoing.

“You find a lot of fear and sitting on the fence by Afghans,” he said. “Because the Taliban are telling them, ‘Sure, you can cooperate with the foreigners, but they’ll be gone in 18 months and we’ll still be here.’”

Kilcullen said the biggest threat to Afghanistan’s future is instability, and he said the source of this instability is not necessarily the Taliban, but a weak and corrupt Afghan government, which needs to be reformed before it is strengthened.

“If you are extending the reach of a government that everybody hates, you’re not helping. You’re hurting.”


 

Watches and Time in Afghanistan

  1. is Kilcullen's position that the average Afghan would be running to join a militia in order to install and promote western style deomcracy in lockstep with American policy otherwise?

  2. This has been the problem since day one.

    Eventually we'll all leave.

    So all they have to do is wait it out.

  3. So we should all keep our troops fighting and dying to protect Afghanistan from the weak and corrupt government we set up to govern the country?

    Well, I have an alternative suggestion:

    We leave now and let the chips fall where they may. We let them all know, however, that if a terrorist-friendly government emerges from the rubble, that we will take it out as quickly as we did the first time, except this time we will leave a week later. And if another terrorist government emerges after that, we'll take that one out too, and leave a week later. Etc.

    All in all, this would more effective and less costly in treasure and lives than what we're now doing.

    • Yes, because fighting the whole damned country will be so much easier.

      If we were to keep going in, trashing the place, then walking out the door, it wouldn't be very long before we'd have to make the place glass just to find a landing zone.

  4. “You find a lot of fear and sitting on the fence by Afghans,” he said. “Because the Taliban are telling them, ‘Sure, you can cooperate with the foreigners, but they'll be gone in 18 months and we'll still be here.'”

    This is the problem with setting arbitrary timetables rather than benchmarks.

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