Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sign of the Times continued

There are some interesting developments contained within this piece about declining security in Afghanistan.
  • Oxfam no longer has any signs in Afghanistan.  My reaction: isn't local ownership the goal, rather than advertising Western organizations?
  • Most NGOs now use Afghans for most of their operations.  My reaction: isn't employing the indigenous population the way ahead?
What is less interesting is the "news" that the parliamentary elections are going to be challenged by the decline in security around the country.  We knew that long ago.  And, to be clear, not winning is losing for NATO.  Unless there are discernible ways to show progress, the locals will still sit on the fence or bet the other way while folks in the home countries lose patience.  So, the general quoted at the end does not quite get it:
A top coalition general bristled recently when asked about views among some critics that NATO was losing the fight. “How do they know we’re losing? I can lay out rhyme and reason about where we’re making progress. We’re building, they’re destroying. I say to them, prove it.”
 The onus is not on the Taliban to prove it is winning.  The onus is on the Karzai government to show improvement, and the onus is on NATO to protect the people of Afghanistan.  Sure, we knew violence was going to increase as troops surged into areas that had not be challenged lately.  If the violence subsides as NATO establishes some control, then we can make the claim that there is progress.  Again, the problem is that we have lost patience because of so much wasted time from 2002-2007.

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