June 24, 2003

"Pivotal Moment" in Afghanistan When

"Pivotal Moment" in Afghanistan

When a veteran diplomat of Frank Wisner's stature issues a warning like this we should all take notice.

Wisner:

"I want to be careful to say that, as I said in presenting the report in the first place, we're at a pivotal moment. We have to put the proper resources and attention behind this effort and sustain it. If we do not, we face a real setback. I hold to that conclusion. Maybe there are a few good auguries here or there: a road is making some progress. But there are also many very unpleasant signs: a slowdown in the political process to permit elections and discouraged non-governmental organizations, some of which, in carrying out vital relief missions, have [staffers who have] lost their lives in the pursuit of their missions.

I think of it in strategic terms: this is a pivotal point. The Karzai government has to make itself credible, the warlords have to take a step back, disarmament has to take place, the writ of the government has to be extended, [formation of] an Afghan National Army has to be accelerated, the international community, particularly the regional powers, has to come around and give real support to allow Karzai to succeed. And finally, the money's got to be available: $15 billion over five years."

Here's the text of the report he co-chaired.

I urge you to read it as it shows well the limitations of our efforts in Afghanistan to date. We need to devote more financial resources, train more military, keep outside interlopers at bay with more alacrity, and much more if we hope to leave a viable nation state in place that will not relapse into a (quasi-)failed state that allows terrorists, drug traders, and other sources of instability to take root. Put simply, we need to show the world we don't just talk the talk on nation-building in countries we occupy but walk the walk. Otherwise our "victories" in Afghanistan and Iraq will prove very Phyrric indeed.

Note: Other, shall we say, knowledgeable sources have concerns too.

Posted by Gregory at June 24, 2003 10:13 PM
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