October 02, 2010

Today's essential Afghan reading

Joel Hafvenstein, in a tightly argued piece on the most likely Afghan outcome. One can quibble (and there's some very strong quibbles in the comments) but it's hard to argue with the overall forecast.

We are simply not going to see a stable, insurgency-free Afghanistan at the end of this tunnel. America will continue to subsidize Karzai and his motley coalition, in the hopes that like Najibullah, he’ll be able to hang on in Kabul even after the troops are gone. The Karzai government will never reach the “position of strength” from which we’d like to negotiate with the Taliban. Instead, I’m guessing we’ll try to freeze the conflict at a level of violence which, while high, will be tolerable to Western interests and minimize our loss of face. The losers will be the majority of Afghans, whose country will remain a wound for the foreseeable future, stuck with the system we’ve given them.

Also this week, Anand Gopal reporting from the front lines of the Afghan election:

A clutch of U.S. military vehicles idled nearby; the gunner from one gave us a friendly wave, seemingly oblivious to the spectacle of plainclothes men marching detainees across the street at gunpoint. This polling center, too, was closed—the result of a brawl over who had the right to stuff ballots at the station. All that remained was blood-stained soil, scraps of clothing, and a few dazed men shuffling away from the center.

Posted by BruceR at 01:20 AM