0000300 - Carl Robichaud is a program officer at The...

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© 2007 World Policy Institute 1 Carl Robichaud is a program officer at The Century Foundation, where he directs the Afghanistan Watch program. He is co-author of the report, Rule of Law: The Missing Priority . Afghanistan is increasingly seen as Iraq in slow motion. It is not. The headlines of car bombs and casualty tolls echo each other, but mask deep differences in each society and in the dynamics of each insurgency. As Iraq has descended into civil war, Afghan- istan’s center has held. The government re- mains weak, but power holders and the public show no appetite for a return to in- ternecine fighting. The insurgency remains solvent because of safe havens across the border in Pakistan, but has been unable to expand upon its toehold in Afghanistan or offer a compelling alternative to the status quo. In the short-run, the only way Afghan- istan could capsize is if the ballast of inter- national support is withdrawn. Unfortunate- ly, this scenario seems increasingly likely. The Taliban are fond of saying that “the Americans have watches, but we have time.” 1 A quarter of the United States pub- lic now favors a pullout from Afghanistan in the next year if things do not improve, and an additional 40 percent believes troops should be withdrawn “as quickly as possi- ble,” if a basic level of stability is achieved. Polls in Canada, Britain, and the Nether- lands—the NATO countries which are shoul- dering the alliance’s military burden in the volatile South—suggest about half of those surveyed want troops withdrawn within a year. 2 In Germany, two thirds of the public now opposes its military contribution, and in February a dispute over Afghanistan col- lapsed the center-left Prodi government in Italy. National leaders continue to assert that “we cannot afford to lose” in Afghanistan, but many of their constituents believe they already have. Military Solutions to Broader Problems Afghanistan can still be salvaged, but con- tinued donor commitment is not sufficient without a reformed strategic approach. Doc- tors sometimes refer to the period immedi- ately after a multi-system failure as the “golden hour” during which intervention is especially consequential. Unfortunately, the United States and its allies missed this win- dow in Afghanistan by pursuing a flawed approach with far too few resources: one RAND study, which suggests that high per capita aid during the first couple years of an intervention correlates with relative success, notes that Afghanistan received $57 per capita, compared to Bosnia ($679 per capi- ta), Kosovo ($526), and East Timor ($233). 3 Additionally, Iraq diverted resources from Afghanistan, including critical human capi- tal: development experts, diplomats, intelli- gence assets, and special forces. This has all been well documented.
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  • Fall '11
  • GaryMoncrief
  • World Policy Journal, Afghanistan Watch program, Afghanistan multiple surveys, Afghanistan intervention

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0000300 - Carl Robichaud is a program officer at The...

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