Oh Dear God No

by Joshua Foust on 5/12/2009 · 1 comment

This Joe Klein post is making its way around the blogs:

The Washington Post has an interesting tidbit today on the McKiernan sacking. Apparently, the general was cautious about standing up local militias to defend against the Taliban, an experiment that has recently begun in Wardak Province…

When I was in Afghanistan last month, a Pashtun from Wardak warned Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mike Mullen that many of the people signing up for the local militia were from the Hazara minority. “It won’t work,” the man said. “The Pashtun see this as not our government.”

In the end, the only possible solution in Wardak and other majority Pashtun provinces is reconciliation with the local Taliban (who are, in truth, a closer equivalent to the Sunni tribes in Anbar who changed sides and became the Awakening Councils). The best possible deal would be acceptance of the Taliban into the Afghan governing structure in return for a pledge–and supporting intelligence–that they will no longer give aid and comfort to Al Qaeda (who are, once again, mostly foreign fighters).

Let’s ignore Klein’s excuse for wisdom here. If it is true that McKiernan was supposedly too cautious about something that very obviously will not work, and that was a major reason for firing him and putting in McChrystal… well, let’s just say I’m even more befuddled than before. But that’s assuming the APPF or whatever is the real reason why McKiernan got sacked. We just don’t have the data to support something like that yet.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

steve jeremiah May 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

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