Ah, was it just ten years ago that Republicans in Congress shouted hurrah for their president’s decision to invade Afghanistan? Ah, the winds of autumn have changed direction. Today, it is not only Republicans, but Democrats who urge the president to get the hell out of that poor country and seek financial relief desired by the American people. Senator John Kerry, who has supported the war in Afghanistan, urged President Obama to shift directions and attempt new approaches in Afghanistan or face the prospect of a massive defeat, in America, that is. The current military strategy does ensure some success in killing militants, but the unanswered question is: does a focus on killing militant leaders or soldiers result in victory? Then again, how does one define, “victory” in Afghanistan?
It is clear that killing militants does NOT lead to a victory in which the people of Afghanistan enjoy peace and security in their lives. It is time for new strategies. We urge:
1. Begin withdrawal of US forces in order to force Afghan’s military to assume greater responsibility.
2. Arm local tribal leaders and force them to defend their own villages.
3. Make clear to President Karzai that any further financial aid comes at the price of reform and an end to corruption.
4. Reduce use of planes and drones to lessen the prospect of civilian deaths.
5. Set a firm deadline when 95% of all US troops are gone.