I’ve been reading about the US presence in Afghanistan — this weekend in particular, with the election going on, it’s been on my mind.
Over the years I’ve read a lot about the human rights situation in Afghanistan, especially for women, but this week I’m trying to read more about the US war in Afghanistan — and in particular, arguments for and against Obama’s planned escalation of the US presence there,and basically our entire strategy.
- Rory Stewart, “The Irresistible Illusion” The London Review of Books.
- Gilles Dorronsoro, “The Taliban’s Winning Strategy in Afghanistan” for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- Andrew Exum and Nathaniel Fick, “Triage: The Next Twelve Months in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
- David Kilcullen’s February congressional testimony.
- Bernard Finel, “An Alternative Strategy for Afghanistan” at the Flash Point Blog
- Stephen Biddle, “Is It Worth It? The Difficult Case for War in Afghanistan,” in The American Interest.
- Bernard Finnel, “The Incoherence of COIN Advocates” (a response to Biddle).
- Stephen Walt, “Safe Haven (2): A response to Peter Bergen“
I’d also recommend this post by Matt Ygelsias. An excerpt:
This is a map of Afghanistan’s main ethnic groups that abstracts away from the reality that actual populations aren’t homogeneous. The biggest ethnic group is the Pashto. The Taliban is also an overwhelmingly Pashto-based movement. Historically, Afghanistan’s Uzbeks and its small Turkmen community have been very hostile to the Taliban. What’s more, the Hazara are Shiites so they don’t really have any choice but to be anti-Taliban. The Tajiks aren’t necessarily as hostile, but pro-Taliban sentiment is relatively rare among Tajiks, and since the Tajiks are the second-largest group the main leaders of the anti-Taliban coalition in Afghanistan have generally been Tajik.
All of which is to say that waging war against the Taliban means something quite different in the brown-colored Pashto belt than it does in the rainbow of non-Pashto areas.
As well as any Afghanistan-related discussion, please feel free to post any links on this subject you’ve found especially helpful.
(Many links via Matt.)