Afghanistan:The Bad News: REDUX
Three independent reports are all sounding alarm bells over the mission in Afghanistan, warning changes are necessary if NATO is to succeed in its objectives.On the positive side:
The reports suggest the nation's future is in jeopardy if government bodies and civilian institutions aren't strengthened, and if the insurgency isn't properly shut down.
They follow the release last week of a Canadian report from a panel led by John Manley. It recommends that Canada remain in Afghanistan beyond the February 2009 exit date, so long as NATO countries provide more troops and Canada's role shifts from combat to one of training and support.
One of the three reports, put together by the Afghanistan Study Group, suggested the nation is at a crossroads and the progress that has been made over the past six years is at risk of being undone. The report cited factors such as the stubborn insurgency, slumping international commitment, regional challenges and rising doubts within the country that Afghanistan's future is secure.
"The study group believes two possible courses of action would have dire consequences -- either withdrawing forces from Afghanistan or adopting a minimal approach," the report states.
"If international forces are pulled from Afghanistan, the fragile Afghan government would likely fall apart, again becoming a failed state while the Taliban and other warlords would gain control of various areas and eventually fight each other."
The two other reports were released by the Atlantic Council of United States and the U.S. National Defense University's Center for Technology and National Security Policy.
Maj.-Gen. (Ret.) Lewis MacKenzie agrees with some of the contents of the reports. He told CTV's Canada AM that greater co-ordination is needed among the 25 provincial reconstruction teams working on the ground, poppy crops must be replaced with a viable alternative, and said all changes must come with the support of the Afghans.
He also said the report focuses on the negative but doesn't put emphasis on the progress that has been made.
"When we went (to Afghanistan) the Taliban were organized in fairly large groups, now they've been forced to go into a traditional counter-insurgency. The implications for failure were much bigger then, then now," MacKenzie said.
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