Thoughts on the Future of the Afghan Conflict

“The War in Afghanistan is winnable.” – Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

  • While I agree in principle with the above statement, I have two reasons why it will get much worse before it gets better along with a possible trump card to success in Afghanistan. 60% of Afghanistan’s GDP comes from the opium trade. Furthermore, the Taliban gains most of its money from the trade. A U.S. commander was quoted as saying that where you find poppy fields you find the Taliban and where you find the Taliban you find poppy.
  • Enter 20,000 U.S troops by the end the year, who’s mission in part is to take away the cash coming from the poppy trade. The Taliban will not lay down on this one. The poppy is the purse string. As U.S. troops enter the south the Taliban will meet them and our boys will be killed. I mean 20,000 troops in the south where we have not been before. People are going to die, both U.S. And afghan non combatants.
  • Will democracy take and will it help the people are different questions. Wither it takes seems to being answered with yes which is getting louder every election cycle. However, whether it will be used to promote the welfare of all Afghans is still up in the air at best. All we have to look at to illustrate this point is the law that was passed by parliament and signed into law by Karzi that codified the cultural norm that already existed; shia women cannot resist their husbands advances. This basically legalized marital rape. Democracy in part helped to bring this about.

The Trump Card:

Here comes the flop; Pakistan. No matter what the U.S. is able to accomplish in Afghanistan it will NOT matter if Pakistan falls apart next door. The ISI helped to create and strengthen the Taliban. These are same group tasked with routing the taliban out of the frontier providences. Additionally, Pakistan has 172,800,000 people and nuclear weapons. In light of the population size any additionally collapse of governmental control could plunge the country in to a humanitarian disaster that will be horrifying in its scope. Add the possibility of al queda or the Taliban getting a hold of nuclear weapons. In light of this I am hard pressed to think anything other than that as goes Pakistan so goes the region.

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