“This war is winnable.” I can’t say how often during my recent embed in the southern Afghanistan Province of Zabul, just north and east of Kandahar, I heard officers and noncoms say that. Implicit is that it's also losable; but what they really mean is winnable in comparison to Iraq.
Strange but true that Afghanistan – with four major ethnic groups, two official languages, and almost countless lesser languages – is far more of a proud, united nation than Iraq. They have Sunni and Shia, but their differences are just an excuse for a chat over chai tea. Further, while it's way too early to say if the Iraqi "surge" is working, the much-anticipated massive Taliban spring offensive in Afghanistan has thus far proved more a trickle than a deluge.
Still, as I note in my article in the June 11 Weekly Standard, “The Other War,” it would be a mistake to assume time is on our side. Afghans seem to be losing patience with the war effort, and while that may not help the Taliban (over 90 percent of Afghans dislike them), it can certainly hinder President Hamid Karzai in his efforts to keep the warlords at bay. It's warlords, not sectarianism, that pose the internal threat.
The most threatening is General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a major Northern Alliance leader against the Taliban. But before that, he fought on the side of the Soviets and the Communist government. Probably to undercut the government, which has essentially excluded him, he announced in May that he can raise an army and drive out the Taliban in six months.
Michael Fumento is a, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues as well as author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World .
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