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An Alternative Approach for Afghanistan
by Major Mehar Omar Khan
Over the last three months that I've spent in the United States, I've heard with concern and trepidation the growing calls for a possible pull out from Afghanistan. No sane citizen of our world, let alone a Pakistani infantry officer who may soon end up being another name on an ever-growing list of the fallen soldiers in the war against terror, enjoys thinking about the painful possibility of our world's greatest military power and history's most inspiring nation retreating in the face of an onslaught by Kalashnikov-wielding bearded barbarians riding on the back of motorcycles, hungry horses and perspiring mules. What is being realized with increasing intensity is the pain of a seemingly endless and bloody war for almost a decade now; the pressure of a US public opinion that's almost irreversibly weary of war (at least for now); the misery of a mismatch between resources and mandate; the rising groans of despairing allies un—to persevere and, the scary scarcity of success stories. However what needs to be realized is the fact that abandoning Afghanistan will be an unmitigated tragedy.
For the United States, I believe, Afghanistan is not a case of 'success or failure'. The USA is too big and too powerful to fail against a collection of miserable fanatics holed up in the treacherous mountains of Southern Afghanistan. It's instead a case of doing too much with too little care and attention. It's a challenge (still quite surmountable) aggravated by ditching smart choices and contracting wrong compulsions.