"The lack of trust between Karzai and the West could directly hurt the campaign on the battlefield in coming months, when U.S. troops launch the war's biggest operation in the southern city of Kandahar, said Tim Ripley, who writes about defense for Jane's publications in Britain.
"The obvious problem is, the aim of counter-insurgency war is to win the population to the cause. And if you don't believe in the cause, it's difficult to sell it to the population," he said.
"They seem to be not having much confidence in the Afghan government, and the Afghan government doesn't have much confidence in us either."
In recent days, U.S. military officials have briefed reporters on the Kandahar operation, saying they would prefer to sideline Karzai's half-brother, the province's provincial council chief and most powerful man.
Karzai stands by his brother and is unlikely to accept any pressure to reduce his family's interests."
"unlikely to accept any pressure to reduce his family's interests." Really? I wonder what Dr. Kass advises the CoS USAF and Mullen about this.
I said earlier that the outcome of the effort at Marja would be decisive and that appears to have been a good guess.
Marja is an experiment. What is being tested is the hypothesis on the part of the COINistas (Nagl et al) that the foreign coalition can "reform" Afghan government enough to make the true Taliban irrelevant.
Afghanistan is not Iraq. Despite its varied sectarian and ethnic groups Iraq has a solid core of nationalist identity that is reappearing as a power.
Afghanistan is a less "westernized" place. Family, clan, ethnic nation and Islamic variety are more dominant features of the country.
Karzai is a typical Afghan. His family interests, those of his cronies and their families, these things come first. Whatever is left over can be "spread around." We have encouraged this feeling by the extent of our toleration for corruption fueled by drug money and poorly administered foreign funds.
Having done that, we launched a "crusade" for governmental virtue at Marja and expected the Afghans to fall in line with our notion of how to do things. "Do what we think you should and all will be well," is our message. Karzai came to visit this COIN experiment and was lectured by local people sheltered behind the marines. He has been told that he should abandon the interest of his half brother. He was lectured by President Obama.
Be careful or you will break this man and then what will you have? Direct rule? pl