Having weak borders contributes to the long slog that has become Afghanistan. Having President Obama for two terms didn’t help either, for as it stands now, the American’s must revisit a phase of our mission that was abandoned by team Obama. This means we must acknowledge profound loss of strategic capital and direction, components of warcraft that are irreplaceable. Even still, by any measure, Afghanistan remains both a proxy ground and a near permanent sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other emerging transnational terror groups, we simply cannot permit Kabul’s writ to remain limited. If Afghanistan is to regroup under American tutelage, then concepts like nation state, rule of law and other social, political markers of nationalism must take hold. As it stands now, we’re losing.
The social state of Islam makes it nearly impossible to coalesce Afghanistan into a nation state. We’re pushing against this reality in all directions while Islamabad’s proxies (seminary students called Taliban) run roughshod throughout Afghanistan.
As of now, the U.S. can assist in training, fielding competent capacities of Afghan forces, but an advisory role isn’t sufficient to deter both Iran & Pakistan. A widening on diplomatic and military fronts will be needed before Tehran or Islamabad rescinds effort. Secondly, air power and the rule of law are needed if the Afghan people are to secure an economic baseline from which to seed a viable nation state. To that effect an indigenous industrial base is required with additional institutions servicing a budding Afghan state. All of this has yet to begin.
By far, the largest problem is the strategic mindset of the Punjabi’s that rule Islamabad and their pathological hatred of India. Pakistani interests are inimical to the U.S. in Kabul, we run the risks of a near permanent rupture with Islamabad if Pakistan cannot reform itself out from a garrison state into a functioning political economy. To secure U.S. interests in Kabul, we need to fix Islamabad. A tall order. . .
Our counter-terror posture throughout Afghanistan should remain the targeting of Haqqani networks throughout Waziristan and Quetta including Pakistani territory. This is a deadly policy mix because it foments domestic instability threatening Pakistan, effectively making them less reliable as a putative ally.
The long hard slog that is Afghanistan continues, with no end in sight.