Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan troop decision necessary

Guest post by Jared Stancombe

Jared Stancombe, a 2009 graduate of Indiana University, is currently an analyst for a U.S. government agency responsible for national security. He is also in the officer selection process for the U.S. Marine Corps. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Ed. note: This is Jared's third guest post on Afghanistan and the Afghan War. You can find his first two here and here. -- MJWS


Obama's decision to send approximately 34,000 new troops to Afghanistan is a necessary decision to finally disable al-Qaeda's ability to reorganize along with the Taliban in the southern region of the country. With a timeframe of 18 months, the insurgents may simply wait it out; however, it is my opinion that this timeframe is necessary.

The ultimate goal in Afghanistan is not to make the struggling state become stable, but rather to disable and disrupt al-Qaeda from launching attacks upon U.S. interests. Fixing Afghanistan is an effort that would take generations, and Obama has realized that Afghanistan is only a component on the effort to disrupt terrorism across the globe.

Yemen is increasingly becoming politically unstable and Somalia is a failed state with a substantial al-Qaeda influence. The focus of al-Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan but the Baluchistan region along the border with Pakistan . Also, domestic threats threaten U.S. interests, and some Americans have been recruited by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

Afghanistan has failed politically. Karzai no longer has the legitimacy he once had, and the institutions that the U.S. has invested millions in do not deliver the basic services to the Afghans they are responsible for. The Karzai regime is beyond corrupt, and a centralized national government is not the fix for local problems. Afghanistan is a countless mess of localized problems that a centralized government cannot solve comprehensively.

With this failure, we must build up the Afghan National Security Forces, allowing the government to take charge of the counterinsurgency effort and pacify its own country. The fact of the matter is that we will not win in Afghanistan , the Afghans will. That is a primary objective for the counterinsurgency: to empower the country to defeat the insurgents on its own.

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