Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, John Kerry has a must read OP/ED in today’s WaPo on Afghanistan. Taylor wrote here yesterday about some of the latest news on Afghanistan.
Kerry has been passionately speaking out on Afghanistan for years now. In a speech in 2006, he “argued that more troops were needed” there and he still believes that.
In his OP/ED today, Kerry says, “We must renew our original mission — and President Obama has rightly pledged to recommit to Afghanistan as the center of our global counterinsurgency campaign, beginning with the deployment of as many as 30,000 additional troops.”
[…] But troops alone will not bring victory. Our military commitment must be matched with realistic goals, beginning with a comprehensive new bottom-up strategy acknowledging Afghanistan’s history of decentralized governance and recognizing the capabilities of our NATO and Afghan allies.
Last year was the deadliest since we arrived in Afghanistan in 2001. A senior U.S. commander warned recently that “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
It is “equally important,” Kerry notes that we “execute this commitment without raising the stakes and turning Afghanistan once again into a magnet for the world’s jihadists.”
Our NATO allies have to shoulder a bigger burden, and we should continue to seek more combat troops with fewer restrictions. Jawboning reluctant allies has its limits; we will need to persuade countries unwilling to take on expanded combat roles to contribute more toward other aspects of the mission, including development and police training.
Afghanistan is not Iraq, and we should not expect the same results from a troop increase as occurred in Iraq.
Go read the entire OP/ED. Kerry, in my opinion has always been ahead of the curve on the issue of Afghanistan. I am admittedly biased when it comes to Kerry’s opinions on the issues, having worked for his campaign in ’04, but I think readers here will agree Kerry is right on this:
We went to Afghanistan to deny sanctuary to al-Qaeda and to replace the Taliban rulers who harbored it with a legitimate government strong enough to avoid destabilizing a vital and volatile region. Our goal hasn’t changed. Achieving it requires a more robust commitment of coalition troops and reconstruction aid. It is not too late to turn the tide, but only a comprehensive strategy, sufficient resources and bipartisan resolve will lead to success in Afghanistan.
In related news, the White House announced today that “a Middle East expert will conduct an interagency review of Afghanistan and Pakistan policy for the Obama administration.” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer will lead the review and it is expected to be completed “before the NATO summit in early April.”
[Originally published at TaylorMarsh.com]