2. The US, and the Afghani/Pakistani/Terrorist War

May-14-2010 | Comments Off

Bird’s-Eye: Nine years after the US invasion of Afghanistan, the questions are a lot clearer than the answers. We start with Foreign Policy in Focus and their panel discussion about whether to stay or go, and why. Juan Cole looks at a poll that shows the deep and increasing resentment of Western armies amongst our “allies: in Afghanistan, and Al Jazeera covers the effects of the US’s increasing war strained ties with Pakistan (see the blog cited above for a personal perspective on this)

* Afghanistan: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Almost nine years after the United States invaded Afghanistan, public support for a continued military presence has wavered and many politicians have called for an exit strategy. For those who opposed the invasion from the start, there is further debate: Can the “Out Now” position the antiwar movement has advocated for Iraq also be valid for Afghanistan? Or should activists voice a more nuanced stance that addresses, in particular, the prospective plight of Afghan women under Taliban rule? Foreign Policy In Focus was pleased to organize a critical conversation about these issues at the recent Left Forum in New York City. The event was moderated by FPIF senior analyst Mark Engler and featured panelists David Wildman, Sunita Viswanath, and Lorelei Kelly.

* Afghan anger at NATO Grows Juan Cole (Editor’s note: Poll is halfway through piece)

Opinion polling in war zones is fraught with difficulties, but the results of a new poll by the International Council on Security and Development carried out among over 400 male respondents in parts of Helmand Province and Qandahar, Afghanistan, in March, 2010, are extremely troubling…. The report finds that “61% of those interviewed feel more negative about NATO forces than before the military offensive. ” We aren’t winning hearts and minds, folks. In a startling statistic, nearly 80% of these Pashtun men say that they are now often or always angry, a doubling of this response from one year ago. Nearly half are specifically furious at NATO (over “occupation, civilian casualties and night raids”) and over a third are upset at war and instability (likely also blamed on NATO). Only 9 percent say they are angry with the Taliban!

* Ominous Signs for US-Pakistan Ties Al Jazeera (Thanks, Gabe!)

Speaking this past weekend on the 60 Minutes television show, Hillary Clinton praised Pakistani progress in fighting extremism, but added this, referring to the Times Square incident: “If, heaven forbid, an attack like this, that we can trace back to Pakistan, were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences.” Asked to elaborate – and given the chance to moderate her statement – she declined….It should be recognised and acknowledged, however, that it is not a matter of whether, but of when there will be another significant terrorist attack in the US. And if, God forbid, it involves some link to Pakistan, as well it might, there will be hell to pay. The open question is: Just what would the US do?



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