Thursday, March 26, 2009

Preview of Afghanistan Review

The National Security Council's Afghanistan review will be release publicly tomorrow and was briefed to senior members of Congress today, so predictably some details are leaking out. Apparently at least 4,000 troops will be added (on top of the 17,000 already headed there) in order to train the Afghan military and police. Benchmarks will be a large component, and Obama will try, yet again, to convince Pakistan that their biggest threat is the militants, not India.
I'll run something more in depth when the document is actually out, but a few initial comments:
1) I hope the benchmarks are for the Afghan government on corruption, training, and governance issues. Coming up with counter terrorism benchmarks are next to impossible. As we've found with the Predator strikes, one dead terrorist/insurgent does not necessarily equal one less terrorist, especially if civilians are killed as well.
2) What will happen if (and I predict when) Afghanistan fails to meet the proposed benchmarks? Would we just leave? How will that leave us any different then our current situation?
3) I sure hope all the smart people in the Administration have put their big heads together and come up with something better than convincing Pakistan that India is not their biggest threat. That hasn't worked, and I have no reason to believe it will this time.
In related news, Friend Of The Blog Jim Arkedis discusses the decision to widen Predator drone missile strikes in Pakistan to include terrorist/insurgent groups that have only attacked within Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He seems to think it's an effort to buy Pakistan's loyalty. The term Global War on Terror may be officially dead, but terrorism, and insurgencies, are still a global enterprise.

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