Feature

Afghanistan: The need for a U.S. exit strategy

Without an end date for U.S. military activity, &ldquo;there is absolutely no chance&rdquo; of winning Afghan hearts and minds, &ldquo;whether by coercion or negotiation,&rdquo; said and editorial in <em>The Nation</e

EditorialThe Nation (Pakistan)

How refreshing to see the U.S. pull its troops from Iraqi cities, said the Islamabad Nation. There are still plenty of troops in bases in Iraq, of course, but at least “there seems to be an exit strategy.” Now if only Washington would come up with a similar strategy for Afghanistan.

Many Afghans believe that their government is just a puppet of the United States, and the presence of American troops only bolsters that belief. History teaches us that Afghans “are a fiercely independent people” who will continue fighting as long as it takes “to drive out foreign occupation.” That means the problem of militancy on our border with Afghanistan will continue until the Afghans “know that there is a definite plan for the occupation forces to leave the country.” Without an end date for U.S. military activity, “there is absolutely no chance” of winning Afghan hearts and minds, “whether by coercion or negotiation.”

Those who say the U.S. can’t leave until Afghanistan is peaceful have it exactly backward. Afghanistan will never be calm until it feels itself to be, once again, fully sovereign.

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