As the Obama Administration hopes to start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan from July this year,a prominent American expert has said that situation in this war-torn country is not getting better as Taliban is becoming stronger and the Karzai government weaker.
“Washington’s strategy is based on making the Taliban weaker and Afghan government stronger,but the situation on the ground is the reverse – Taliban are getting stronger and the government is getting weaker. This will be a tougher and tougher problem,” said Jessica Mathews,president,Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,a Washington-based think tank.
“This will be a tougher and tougher problem. As members of the coalition leave,the United States will have to pick up more of the slack. Despite talk of a draw down,this reality may mean instead that there is a request for more funds and forces,” she said.
“In Afghanistan,we’re likely going to see a lull in fighting during the harsh winter,but violence will pick back up,” she said.
“At best,the coalition will be in a holding pattern in Afghanistan in the new year. If there are any draw down of US troops it will be largely symbolic,just as the Pentagon has said in the past. The more likely scenario is that the United States will find itself immersed in a war where more of its coalition partners will be leaving and the situation on the ground is not improving,” Mathews said.
Despite this reality,as Washington begins to look ahead to the presidential election in 2012,no one will want to bring the war front and center.
Unfortunately,there will likely be little US public attention paid to Afghanistan in 2011,even though it should be a priority,she observed.
Whereas Afghanistan was the heart of global terror 10 years ago,it isn’t today,she argued,adding that in many ways,it’s much harder to deal with the threat when terrorists are operating out of 15 or 20 countries,rather than a small handful.
“There are countries like Yemen that offer a welcoming environment for terrorists to operate and are increasingly states of concern. And in this new environment,the war in Afghanistan still produces a jihadist recruiting message,” she said.
“On the other hand,terrorists linked to al-Qaeda have been unable to carry out a major attack in this period. This is a testament to the effectiveness of Western intelligence and military action against militants around the world,” she said.
“Still,al-Qaeda is a quick learner and the threat of terrorism looms large. It’s not easy to do a scorecard: in some ways global terrorists have been significantly weakened and in some ways,by broadening their base of operations and becoming less centralized in their decision-making,they have gotten stronger,” Mathews said.