The South Asia Channel
An articulate plan for security
By Asma Nemati It’s about time the Obama administration focused on what’s necessary for Afghanistan: security. With Hamid Karzai’s presidency renewed, the U.S. has another chance to show the world community, and — more importantly — U.S. citizens, that there’s still hope for Afghanistan and that the Obama administration is serious about tackling down major ...
By Asma Nemati
It’s about time the Obama administration focused on what’s necessary for Afghanistan: security. With Hamid Karzai’s presidency renewed, the U.S. has another chance to show the world community, and — more importantly — U.S. citizens, that there’s still hope for Afghanistan and that the Obama administration is serious about tackling down major problems. But, what are these problems? What’s the reality on the ground?
As someone who talks to many Afghans — from government officials to shopkeepers, students and others — and the international community on a daily basis, the answer is very clear: Afghans need security and stability before anything else can be put forth. In the past, there have been several problems with providing an adequate strategy to tackle this problem, most of which have led to the Taliban winning back major parts of the country. However, this cannot be tolerated anymore, neither by the Afghans nor the international community that’s here to help.
In terms of security, more troops are fundamental. But this has to be spelled out clearly by the Obama administration. When speaking to Afghans here, they agree that more troops are needed, but an entire plan is also needed to know when the troops will arrive, where they will be deployed, what will they carry out, and — this is what concerns Afghans a lot — when they will be leaving. The what part is the most important one; Afghans here agree that more troops are necessary to support Afghanistan’s own security forces, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.
Among the increased number of troops, Afghanistan needs many experts to train and coach Afghans in security-related issues. Not only will this involve Afghans in rebuilding their own country, but it will also enable them to see results coming from their work. This will also allow a realistic timetable for U.S. forces to leave: as soon as effective and transparent outcomes are seen.
Moreover, focus needs to be placed on clearing out Taliban strongholds in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taliban are gaining numbers and sympathizers in what has become a recurring nightmare that Afghanistan and the world community only woke up from nine years ago. We cannot afford to wait any longer and let the area be run by thugs who have absolutely no respect for humanity, let alone themselves and their countrymen.
Asma Nemati, a researcher from Kabul, is an instructor at the American University of Afghanistan.