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In Afghanistan, The Occupation Is The Problem

Posted by The Agonist on November 22nd, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Steve Hynd | Nov 22 | Newshoggers

Your Af/Pak “must-read” for today is by analyst Alex Strick van Linschoten, who lives in Kandahar. In a piece entitled “Five Things David Petraeus Wants You To Believe” he sets out the problems with Petraeus happy-talk about “momentum” in Afghanistan. It’s essentially un-excerptable so read the whole thing but Alex argues, convincingly, that the happy-talk points to endless occupation, not to any kind of exit strategy:

–”the surge has failed to shift public opinion in favour of either the American presence or the Afghan government”

–”there are serious problems with decapitating the insurgency without a sense of where all of this is leading politically”

–”members of the Taliban’s political wing see Petraeus as one of the key obstacles to a negotiated settlement”

–”Mullah Mohammad Omar retains ample power to act as a spoiler in any negotiations, so any sidelining or retirement from the leadership would have to be agreed upon or instigated by him”

–”There is now a deep seated suspicion of the foreign involvement, rooted in a failure to understand western interests or goals in southern Afghanistan. Unless this is addressed head-on, everything else being done is meaningless.”

read more at Newshoggers

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