The Pak Banker - - Editorial - Fatima Ayub

De­cem­ber 2010 As US and NATO sol­diers pre­pare for their tenth Christ­mas in Afghanistan, a new buzz­word is mak­ing the rounds: "tran­si­tion," the process of trans­fer­ring re­spon­si­bil­ity for se­cu­rity from in­ter­na­tional to Afghan forces ahead of the with­drawal of for­eign troops, which is set to be­gin in the spring of 2011.

But, in or­der to re­alise the hope that or­di­nary sol­diers take from the new jar­gon, Western lead­ers will need to forge a clear po­lit­i­cal strat­egy for Afghanistan, with­out which the coun­try will re­main at war.

Amer­i­can and Euro­pean mil­i­tary and civil­ian lead­ers have said re­peat­edly that there is no purely mil­i­tary so­lu­tion to end­ing the war in Afghanistan. Yet NATO states have no an­swer to the ques­tion that log­i­cally fol­lows: What would a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion en­tail? In­stead, they pre­fer to fall back on mil­i­tary­dom­i­nated plans for strength­en­ing the ca­pac­ity of the Afghan army and po­lice, while heed­ing do­mes­tic pres­sure to demon­strate that Afghanistan will not be an end­less con­flict.

Afghans them­selves are over­whelm­ingly sup­port­ive of seek­ing a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment to end the con­flict, as a re­cent Asia Foun­da­tion sur­vey of na­tional at­ti­tudes con­firmed. They have borne the brunt of 40 years of war, and are well aware that in­ter­na­tional forces are plan­ning their de­par­ture. Afghans' fears

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