Monday, 14 May 2012
It is nice to see that Gen. John Allen, the supreme allied commander in Afghanistan, is thinking in terms of Afghanistan in 1989. I argued last month that the dangers Afghanistan faces in keeping its security forces stable and loyal suggest a scenario rather like the Soviet withdrawal. The article doesn't put any real meat on the bones of this analogy, though. I wonder what it means in effective terms: probably a clear awareness of the need for continued international contributions. We'll see how that goes in Chicago. The idea of turning over more control earlier to catch problems as they arise is interesting and nicely empirical, relying on evidence rather than assumptions about how things are going to shape up. But I would think that the way that ANSF units behave with a significant on-the-ground ISAF presence is likely to differ substantially from the way they'll behave after 2014, when the backstop isn't as strong.