‘An Afghan Spring’

Southasia - - Editor's mail -

Re­fer­ring to your ar­ti­cle ‘An Afghan Spring’ pub­lished in the Septem­ber is­sue of SouthA­sia, I be­lieve though U.S. in­volve­ment in Afghanistan has sparked pro-demo­cratic move­ments in South Asia, greater need at the mo­ment is for Amer­ica to fo­cus more on help­ing Afghanistan build a govern­ment that won’t im­plode as soon as Amer­i­can troops leave the coun­try. Although the United States and NATO have made progress in clear­ing mil­i­tants from Tal­iban strongholds and build­ing up Afghan se­cu­rity forces, the coun­try is still a very dan­ger­ous place. Au­gust was the dead­li­est month for Amer­i­can troops, in­clud­ing sev­eral Navy Seal com­man­dos who were killed when their helicopter was shot down. Amer­i­cans should keep look­ing for the idea of ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Tal­iban on a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment. It should also con­sider sup­port­ing the ap­point­ment of an in­ter­na­tional me­di­a­tor who might be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to bring more in­sur­gent groups to the talks ta­ble. How­ever, the most im­me­di­ate ques­tion is where will Afghanistan get the $6 bil­lion to $8 bil­lion per year that it needs to main­tain a planned 379,000-man se­cu­rity force that is now paid for by for­eign donors? Or keep count­less other projects and jobs afloat? What will hap­pen if thou­sands of armed young men are un­em­ployed? Spring or no spring, Washington needs a plan to ad­dress these chal­lenges. Aj­mal Baber Kakar, Kabul, Afghanistan

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