Friday, October 9, 2009

Five Myths on Afghanistan


President Barack Obama is entering a crucial decision-making phase on Afghanistan at a time when geopolitical mythology is dominating the debate, the Pentagon is requesting additional forces in Afghanistan.

The military bureaucracy is particularly vulnerable to such mythology.

The military has accepted five major myths with respect to Afghanistan.

Myth #1: Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who commands more than 100,000 US and international forces, has endorsed a counterinsurgency strategy that views the Taliban as a collection of armed groups with different political and economic objectives.

Myth #2: A Taliban presence would lead to a renewed sanctuary for al-Qaeda and, once again, the United States would be vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

Myth #3: Any loss in Afghanistan would have a domino effect in the region that would affect Pakistan, India and Iran, with the United States and NATO suffering a significant loss of credibility.

Myth #4: As part of its counterinsurgency strategy, the United States must invest billions of dollars to create more capable, accountable and effective governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. US nation building will enhance civilian control and stabilize constitutional government in both countries.

Myth #5: The Pakistani army would give up its fight against the Taliban if the United States reduced its own military efforts in Afghanistan.


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