a new article in the prestigious international journal Foreign Affairs warned Afghanistan is "sliding into chaos" and that the NATO-led coalition is doomed to fail without a dramatic change in strategy.
Author Barnett Rubin, a respected global authority on Afghanistan, says no amount of military sacrifice by NATO countries can produce dividends in Afghanistan without a massive, co-ordinated infusion of economic aid and a willingness to dismantle Taliban command centres in Pakistan...
- "High unemployment is fuelling conflict Eeffective economic aid is vital to addressing the pervasive poverty that debilitates the government and facilitates the recruitment of unemployed youths into militias or the insurgency."
- "The lack of electricity continues to be a major problem. No new power projects have been completed, and Kabulis today have less electricity than they did five years ago."
- "Rising crime, especially the kidnapping of businessmen for ransom, is also leading to capital flightEpeople throughout the country report that crime is increasing and complain that the police are the main criminals."
- The Ministry of the Interior and the judiciary "are deeply corrupt and plagued by a lack of skills, equipment and resources."
The Conservatives argue that you can't do re-construction until you have security. This logic could apply to some regions in the south, but how does that relate to relatively stable Kabul? Is it not a colossal failure that there is less electricity in the capital than before the war? What boogeyman is preventing this sort of re-construction, or is this simply a symptom of misguided priorities?
Why aren't coalition partners better monitoring aid money to ensure it doesn't fall prey to corruption? If the judicary and police are failing, then shouldn't our focus look to shore up these essential services? The problem with our government, they view security as the primary path to progress. However, as this assessment argues, you will never win militarily, you will never achieve your security, until you deal with poverty and give Afghans tangible proof that progress is possible.
Assessments like this should be alarming, the last thing we need is stubborn patriotism that fails to see the looming failures. The bottomline, our approach won't work, and our government has failed to tell Canadians how we will adapt to avoid further erosion. The next time Stephen Harper offers stoic resolve, with the "stay the course" rhetoric, someone should ask "what the hell that means?", because clearly it's a path to nowhere.