It’s generally recognized across the board, now, that the Taliban won’t be militarily defeated, nor is there any immediate prospect of a political solution to the conflict....Force them to discuss it!
So, the U.S. will leave Afghanistan locked in the throes of the same civil war that was underway when it first invaded in late 2001, albeit with the scoreboard having been reversed: The Taliban is now the insurgent force, while its erstwhile enemies, the Northern Alliance, form the basis of the regime in Kabul...
“The United States military often tends to behave as though you can create an effective allied military by just running them through the right number of training courses, giving them the right number of weapons, paying salary in sufficient amounts to raise a large enough force,” warns George Washington University professor Stephen Biddle. “But success and failure in building a third-world military, which is essentially what we are trying to do in Afghanistan, usually turns on soft questions like politics, whether the military in question gets captured by cronyism and politicized–and in this case, whether the politics of their relationship with their mentors works.”
It’s not hard to see how that relationship is poisoned if U.S. personnel suspect their Afghan charges could, at any point, shoot them in the back. The resultant wariness among American trainers towards their Afghan charges becomes a vicious circle, warns Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger and consultant to the U.S. military in Afghanistan. “The Afghans must surely sense the Americans and other Westerners do not fully trust them, and it would only be natural for them to respond to that mistrust in kind.”...
“The war is going to be in a condition of long-term stalemate as of 2014,” [Biddle] warns, “and what that means is that the U.S. Congress is going to be asked to write multi-billion-dollar-a-year checks to keep this war going for a long, long time.” Whether or not Washington will remain willing to fund Afghanistan’s security after most U.S. troops leave remains an open question — and not one that’s likely to be discussed on the presidential campaign trail.
August 24, 2012
Nobody wants to talk about it: