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Afghanistan is “Still Winnable, but Only Just”

The New Yorker’s George Packer has posted an interview with David Kilcullen, an expert on Afghanistan who “few experts understand counterinsurgency and counterterrorism better than.” According to Kilcullen, the war there is “still winnable, but only just.” He identifies four problems with the current strategy: 1) “We have failed to secure the Afghan people”; 2) “We have failed to deal with the Pakistani sanctuary that forms the political base and operational support system for the Taliban”; 3) “The Afghan government has not delivered legitimate, good governance to Afghans at the local level”; and 4) “Neither we nor the Afghans are organized, staffed, or resourced to do these three things.” A U.S. governmental transition usually takes six to nine months, Kilcullen says, “but nine months out from now will be the height of the Afghan fighting season, and less than a month out from critical Presidential elections in Afghanistan. If we do this the ‘normal’ way, it will be too late for the Obama Administration to grip it up.”