Afghanistan Strategy Is Not Working

Canadian journalist, Thomas Walkom, writing in the Toronto Star, states bluntly the strategy being used in Afghanistan, “put simply, it isn’t working.” He notes recent deaths of Canadian soldiers and aid workers clearly demonstrated the strategy of providing security for the Afghanistan government so it can develop a program of stability has failed. UN figures show Afghanistan has become LESS safe since 2006 despite the dispatch of thousands of coalition forces to the nation. Walkom points out the Canadian aid workers were murdered within fifty miles of Kabul while on a major highway, and a Canadian soldier was killed by a security guard working for “our side.”

The reporter interviewed former CARE Canada president John Watson who worked in Afghanistan while the Taliban were in power. Ironically, the CARE worker was able to accomplish more in providing assistance while the Taliban ruled and even built educational facilities for girls. Walkom also cites figures about the growth of Afghanistan’s economy which has nearly doubled in the past few years, but a considerable portion of that growth is linked to increased production of drugs.

The recent death of a Canadian soldier by someone working for a security firm and the recent death of a security firm member by Canadian soldiers forces Walkom to conclude: “Afghanistan remains a country where groups of armed men, many of whom are ostensibly on the same side, roam the country shooting at one another.”

The Canadian reporter’s remarks do not provide evidence there is need for return of the Taliban, but he is identifying an important need, creating a vibrant non-drug based economy and having a military strategy that can cope with the Taliban. Those simply are not in operation in Afghanistan.