Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Policy America Could Live With

Afghanistan for the Afghanis.
What Karzai wants, rather, is for Western forces to take a less active role in engaging with residents, leaving such interaction to Afghan army, police and government officials.

"We want, as part of that review, for the international forces to gradually take distance from the daily life of people," Daudzai said. "Because people are getting tired with the way they are behaved with."

Daudzai described a recent evening when he headed home from the palace only to be caught in a time-consuming traffic check by international troops.

"That's not their job. . . . That's the Afghan police job," he said. "Or in the rush hour, going into the market with these heavy cars, not letting anybody overtake them. Or on the main highways, they go on the wrong day. Like, for instance, on New Year's Day, everybody goes out for a picnic, then you see a huge NATO convoy comes on that day and blocks the whole road.

"This is what we mean by taking distance from their lives."

The US would do well to listen to the Afghanis and stand down. We certainly don't need to occupy Afghanistan to protect America from terrorist attack. The only "terrorist threat" to America from Afghanistan is what it was on 9-11: a bunch of narrow-minded and absolutist believers are willing to kill and injure others to further their cause and might train and organize in Afghanistan.

A reasonably competent national security team should be able to identify and disrupt planned attacks without resorting to military occupation. You know, like what Bush's team did NOT do with the early warnings of airplanes as fire bombs on 9-11.

Leaving Afghanistan to local control is likely to be pretty ugly, though. But I don't see that more years of war and occupation added to the past nine years of war and occupation is any less ugly.



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