Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Afghanistan: What Now?

Fred Kaplin in Slate:

Meanwhile, Taliban attacks are up considerably from last year despite increases in NATO and Afghan troop levels. Gen. Dan McNeill, who recently finished a 16-month tour as NATO commander in Afghanistan, said last week that we need 400,000 troops to control the country. There are now just 110,000 (including 58,000 from the still-green Afghan National Army) and few prospects for recruiting many more—none for remotely approaching McNeill’s desired head count.

What a horrific mess. Kaplin concludes that a “grand bargain” of some sort has to be struck, but notes that the nations involved “have so many disputes, so many conflicting interests, it is hard to imagine what the outlines of such a deal would look like.” Indeed.