An exit strategy is not a political strategy and that is what’s lackingFebruary 15th, 2012
I am sorry to harp on about Afghanistan, but there are still 10,000 British troops there, and they need and deserve a proper strategy behind which to deliver their extraordinary efforts. I have just read the below piece from Ahmed Rashid, author of brilliant books on the Taliban and on Pakistan. It is a written submission to the Munich Security Conference earlier this month. It is devastatingly clear – and I am afraid reinforces my concerns about William Hague’s statement to Parliament last week. Rashid explains why it is important to be leery of security happy talk, but also sets out what is missing from current approaches from the west and what is necessary to give those approaches the name “strategy”. None of this is easy. And maybe I am missing something. But the core need for a twin track of reinforcing internal and external (ie regional) political settlements, in which the west is a legitimate but not sole actor, brokered from outside eg by the UN, is as true now as it has ever been. As I said in my blog last week, the problem is that not only is our leverage declining, but it seems so is our willingness to spell out what is needed.
Security vs. Reconciliation: The Afghan Conundrum by Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books