Force Only? America’s Future Intervention in Afghanistan/Pakistan

An important debate is raging on the future of the Western intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Congressman Michael Honda has two important articles, here, and here. CRDC expert and ICAR student Neamat Nojumi, a former mujahaddin,  has an important piece here.

Central to these analyses is that military force alone will never solve the Afghanistan conflicts, nor will an intervention work that does not directly address the role that Pakistan has played in perpetuating this conflict for decades. Another more difficult question is the Taliban, how to compete with them more effectively,  how to defeat them, and whether to engage any of them.

All of the recommendations seem excellent. I also recommend reading The Kite Runner which has profoundly affected my life and my appreciation for what Afghanistan has gone through and who or what is responsible. I never cease to be amazed at how effectively modern states and empires destroyed what is best and most true in local cultures and religions.  The weaponization of Islam by the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan is something that generation upon generation is paying for. That does not mean that there are not intolerances that abound in religion and culture, but it does mean that what was the worst in these cultures became weaponized, and what was best was stoned to death just as thoroughly as the Taliban stoned to death their innocent victims in the Kabul Stadium.  The United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, have an obligation to revive what was best and most true in Afghani culture, to help them evolve through consensus in order that a new Afghani society will eventually emerge where Shi’ite and Sunni, men and women, Hazari and Pashtun, will thrive together in a new social contract.

The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
© Marc Gopin