The headlines are not particularly encouraging. The Taliban appear to have adopted a new tactic that is intended to discourage the transformation of the country. They are recruiting assassins to join the Afghan security/defense forces and then turn on their American and other “allied” trainers. It has come to be labeled “Green on Blue” attacks. Washington has dispatched its top Pentagon Chief and other officials to ask the Kabul Government to do something? Of course, the question is to do what.
Losing the "Body Count" War:
More drone strikes were also announced over the weekend, also the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Fitr. As the news reported, almost a dozen were killed including two top Taliban commanders. I ask though who are the other 10 or so Afghanis killed along with the alleged Taliban commanders. As much as the killing of a commander dents the Taliban capacity, the death of innocent civilians undermines our efforts at transforming Afghanistan toward a more stable as well as democratic and open society. See our Film for Blog: “Afghan School Girls as Targets or Source of Hope”.
Focus on Development & Rule of Law"
All accept that military victory in Afghanistan is not possible. The UN has long embarked on a route distinguished from the US and NATO. The UN is focused on development and rule of law projects. Washington and NATO have also sought to enhance efforts in the civilian/development sphere. These are ever more evident also in our reports. I suspect that once the US elections are over, Washington will again recalibrate its strategy, anywhere from accelerated withdrawal and disengagement to even more refocus on development/civilian options. We hope it is not abanadonment.
The big concern is that the frustration will grow to level that the country will be effectively surrendered to the Taliban, or at least to a form of chaos and civil-war that persisted prior to Oama Bin-Laden and the US/NATO effective occupation. That would be bad for most Afghanis and particularly tragic for a new generation of women/girls whose education/entrepreneurial options may be severely curtailed along with fundamental rights. See our Blog for Film: “UN Women’s Affair Head Murdered in Afghanistan”.
Withdraw or Re-engage on Basis of Different Approach?
The gun can longer win in Afghanistan but perhaps it is education, knowledge and the internet that may prove more lasting in helping Afghanis fashion a more progressive future. Honestly, I do not know if it will succeed. However, Afghanistan is too critical to abandon, a mistake committed in the past. It is also a country and people that will not be conquered by outsiders – it may though be transformed from within. The indications that Film Annex and Citadel Software have observed are positive – especially from communities, families and children hungry for opportunity, education and to be connected with the rest of the globe. Film Annex has become a leader by employing a simple strategy along with technology to further education and entrepreneurship. For more detail, see the following: “Afghanistan Business Incubator”. The “View” statistics would also appear to support the case of ongoing interest. Afghanistan WebTV Audience.
The outcome of over a decade of military engagement in Afghanistan at best is unclear. The alternatives though are more evident, if not in guarantees at least more favorable results for a progressive Afghanistan. It would also translate into less unnecessary loss of life among Afghanis and the allied forces (ironically and sadly today we also received news of the deaths of 3 New Zealand allied soldiers, including the first woman killed in combat).
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