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Page added on October 30, 2008

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‘We’re not going to win this war’

All the indications are that the US military and foreign policy establishment has already abandoned the ambitious neo-conservative objective of crushing the Taliban and remaking Afghanistan as a functioning democracy.

America’s Afghanistan policy is falling into the hands of the realists, whose highest priority is maintaining a tractable and viable client in Kabul, keeping Afghanistan securely inside the US sphere of interest, holding on to a key chess piece in Central Asia’s “great game” of energy resources and pipeline infrastructure, and offering the Pentagon another basing option to bedevil Russia and Iran.
Despite the absurdity of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar entanglement in Central Asia that will do little more than advance unilateral US security objectives, America’s allies will be willing to demonstrate their support for new US leadership after the disastrous George W Bush years, and will probably heed an American call for a redoubled effort in Afghanistan.

The key suppliers of money and manpower to the NATO effort in Afghanistan – Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and Australia – are all under administrations that have made continued engagement in Afghanistan a cornerstone of their foreign policies but now demand a fundamental change in course.

With a broad international consensus on Afghanistan, the US will now seek to impose a firm hand on the emerging policy process – and prepare public opinion still mired in the obsolete death-match-versus-the-Taliban-and-al-Qaeda mindset pursued over the past six years at the cost of thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars for a brave new world in which the Taliban enter the government and Afghan democracy goes out the window.

Asia Times

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