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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Staring at the sun in Afghanistan By Gareth Porter

United States President Barack Obama and other top officials in his administration have made it clear that there can be no military solution in Afghanistan, and that the non-military efforts to win over the Afghan population will be central to its chances of success. The reality, however, is that US military and civilian agencies lack the skills and training as well as the institutional framework necessary to carry out culturally and politically sensitive socio-economic programs at the local level in Afghanistan, or even to avoid further alienation of the population. The US government does not even have enough people capable of speaking Pashto, the language of the 14 million ethnic Pashtuns who represent about 42% of the population of Afghanistan. It is in the Pashtun southern and eastern regions of the country that the complex insurgency that has come to be called the Taliban has been able to organize and often effectively govern at village level in recent years.


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