Monday, November 17, 2008

More on Afghanistan and Pakistan

George Packer published a question and answer session with David Kilcullen in The New Yorker this week on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kilcullen served in the Australian military and is an expert on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. He worked for David Petraeus while Petraeus was ramping up for the "Surge". The Q&A offers some good points on how to deal with Pakistan and why a "Surge" in Afghanistan wouldn't work. Also, check out the October 2007 interview of Kilcullen by Charlie Rose. More good info there. From The New Yorker:

"Pakistan is extremely important; indeed, Pakistan (rather than either Afghanistan or Iraq) is the central front of world terrorism. The problem is time frame: it takes six to nine months to plan an attack of the scale of 9/11, so we need a “counter-sanctuary” strategy that delivers over that time frame, to prevent al Qaeda from using its Pakistan safe haven to mount another attack on the West. This means that building an effective nation-state in Pakistan, though an important and noble objective, cannot be our sole solution—nation-building in Pakistan is a twenty to thirty year project, minimum, if indeed it proves possible at all—i.e. nation-building doesn’t deliver in the time frame we need. So we need a short-term counter-sanctuary program, a long-term nation-building program to ultimately resolve the problem, and a medium-term “bridging” strategy (five to ten years)—counterinsurgency, in essence—that gets us from here to there. That middle part is the weakest link right now."

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