What is the plan for ending the Afghan war? Right now, the plan is for the US to simply pick up its toys and withdraw combat forces while leaving behind occupation forces. Since this is not a war, there are no objectives… unless you consider killing Usama Bin Laden an objective.
The goal is a framework for political transition where each side’s demands are boiled down to the irreducible essentials — providing a better deal for each party than they could get from battling on. [reference 1]
Both sides need to agree on terms to end the war based on what each nation wants.
Gen. Ehsan ul-Haq, a former chief of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence directorate and a former chairman of the Pakistani joint chiefs of staff, sees two baseline U.S. demands: No al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, and no return to the Taliban’s oppressive policies toward women; the Taliban, according to Haq, has just one irreducible demand:No more foreign forces in Afghanistan.
What this means is that the US will have to let Afghanistan continue treating women as they always have. Is the US willing to sacrifice another 2,000 troops to gain equality for women in Afghanistan? Is Afghanistan ready for this? Apparently not.
Either way, you as the voter should be researching what your candidate wants to do to end the war in Afghanistan. Let me save you some research here and tell you that neither candidate has laid down a solid framework to end the war. Vote anyway, and hope the winner figures out that the US cannot simply pick up its toys and leave without a plan.
When you do cast your vote, bear in mind that not all Afghanis are terrorists. One may be tempted to lump all Afghanis into one category based on what you hear in the news with the green on blue killings. What many of us missed out on in the news is the white on green retaliations, or other Afghanis fighting back against other Afghanis…in support of America [reference 2]. Despite a few tragic stories of Afghanis turning on American trainers, the majority of Taliban are pushed out of major population centers. This is a minor victory that Americans should keep in mind. Furthermore, American should look at the recent uprising in white on red violence–Afghanis fighting off the Taliban themselves!
These trends speak well for the future of Afghanistan, but the international community should know these gains are fragile, and reversible, if we lose our will to succeed.
Despite the bad news that dominates the media, American voters should consider the lesser known successes in Afghanistan and compare that to the candidate’s potential to put together a logical framework to end the war.