Mikey wrote:Indeed - there are no absolutes in Western policy about such things, just decisions about whether the nutters can be used for us or agin' us.
Yup. So this includes healthy intelligence protection (which the US really got better at in the past 11 years) and making sure the locals don't have the time to sit on their hands with nothing to do for too long.
As long as you find a way to make sure they are too busy fighting someone else (ex: the Northern Alliance, as feeble as they currently are) without anyone of them dominating the other, they won't waste too much of their time facying attacking the US. This is usually the kind of high-profile job they do when they wanted to mark political points, not actually gaining a strategic advantage.
Their ties and funding coming from Pakistan was also a bit worrying. I am not sure what is happening with that country, been a while since we've heard anything of consequence happening there. The civilian government is apparently keeping things under control... relatively speaking, obviously.
(Off course, I might also just be misinformed. If someone is actually keeping up with Pakistan, please come forward
Deepcrush wrote:The key to a last victory will be giving the Afghans a more fragile/local target and setting ourselves as a support resource while pushing them to take the lead. The US will have to not only accept but encourage itself to take second chair to local governments, even if we normally wouldn't trust them with such a position. The sooner the US backs out of being the UNs muscle and leaves it to the UN to make up the difference the better for all.
Agreed, but I don't even think you need to involve the UN in the situation. Just make sure the Qabul-based government can give a solid fight to the Talibans, and you established a balance of power that can last a while without your direct (and costly!) implication.
Obviously, this is easier to say than to do. I've read in Foreign Affairs recently that the Afghan police and army is still pretty ineffectual beyond basic infantry training and knowledge of the land. Little coordination with air support, supply organization, etc... So they are still heavily dependant on military advisors for basic operational efficiency.