June 25th, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Opinion: How will McChrystal's exit impact Kandahar, Karzai?

Khalil Nouri is the co-founder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native Afghan think tank for nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan. The statements and opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Khalil Nouri. 

There is no doubt that the controversy around and resulting exit of Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a huge distraction to the impending campaign in Kandahar. The fallout could alter the course of the difficult war by significantly redefining the shape, form and function of the entire effort in Afghanistan.  

The replacement of McChrystal is a major blow to the already slow-moving counterinsurgency operation in Kandahar, where the prospect for success throughout Afghanistan hinges upon success in the Pashtun heartland city that cradled the Taliban more than a decade ago.

McChrystal enjoyed the closest relationship of any American official with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai was in support of McChrystal’s continued service as the top general to lead the NATO operation in his country. 

With McChrystal’s removal, Karzai’s mental state could become even more fragile because his sense of isolation from U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, State Department envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates could increase.

Any revision to the current plan may lead to other developments - a policy change could alter dynamics in Kandahar that place Karzai’s tribe in a position to dominate other tribes in the region. A new doctrine could break the tribal dominance the Karzai family has over Kandahar.   

McChrystal had been walking a fine line in dealing with Karzai and power brokers in Kandahar. Whatever the case, there were some strong value-added influences that Karzai needed from McChrystal to keep his allegedly corrupt family afloat and in power.     

How will the Karzai family behave now that McChrystal is gone?

If McChrystal had carried on with his job, undoubtedly, some fences would have needed mending with his close colleagues, Holbrooke and Eikenberry. He also would have had to work hard to repair his relationships with civilian leaders. His relationship with them already had turned sour due to the many disagreements over the war effort.

Due to the July 2011 troop withdrawal date, McChrystal had a limited window to make his counterinsurgency campaign a workable one and to win the hearts and minds of ordinary folks on the ground. But with the severity of the tribal imbalance and rampant opium cultivation, it wouldn’t have been an easy task for him.

Because of this recent brouhaha, the Obama administration, in essence, was forced to have a policy review much earlier than the scheduled one in December. The current policy and the current policy creator have both come under early review. 

Unfortunately, McChrystal allowed a culture of arrogance and contempt for the civilian leadership to emerge within his staff, which - whether in peacetime or in war - is unacceptable in any military structure.

The war cannot be prosecuted successfully if there isn’t mutual trust and respect between the president and his general on the ground. And that officer cannot advise his upper chain of command effectively if he does not defer to that chain of command himself.

The fundamental issue here is that the military in Afghanistan is under enormous pressure and stress. This war is the toughest war in a post-World War II era. The so-called “graveyard of empires” cannot be dealt with by cutting corners or making snap judgments based on media exposure alone.

If I had Obama’s ear, I would have told him a fallen wheel in a vehicle will not make the vehicle run, no matter who the driver is. So, even though you may have replaced McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, the decision will not change the dynamics of the war.

Unless, a new policy review is conducted, native Afghan thinkers and policymakers within the Afghan-American community can really help in this effort. They have family ties to all of the players on the ground and can go where no other Americans can go.

Photo at top: U.S. soldiers carry a wounded Afghan National Army soldier to a MedEvac helicopter in Kandahar.

Filed under: Kandahar • Karzai • McChrystal
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. AME

    Well, those "Ops" people are not trying to hurt the innocent families.... The terrorizers as you call them hit our troops and then hide behind them like cowards... I've been a medic there recently and not only do we give medical aide to the locals but also to those women and children. The saddest part is, that if we save that childs life and limbs but they cannot work now or when they get older to make money for their families they will be be dead or starving... Who is anyone to say what is right or wrong in this world? Politcal leaders, the people with the large bank accounts? People fall in line with majority because its easier to stand in a line than stand outside of one...

    August 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dave in sactown

    hmmm....but we still need ops defending us against terrorists ...the women and children of the man participting in the fighting are on the man. Not us who have to clean it up. If he wasn't doing what he is doing, they wouldn't be in jeapordy in the first place.

    July 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dave in sactown

    We sleep best with special ops standing guard against terrorist.

    July 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dave in sactown

    Go special ops go!

    July 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dean Schmidt

    I don't agree with you that usa is simply grabbing resources everywhere. If that were true it would be nothing but american companies oiling iraq and this is simply not the case. Both China and Russia have a major stake there as do others. We would have conquered Venezuela by now too. Regarding Afgh, yes they have tremendous resources (apparently) but it wasn't discovered to help usa get richer, it was to help Afgh reach a stable economy and pay for their own defense so usa and some of our allies don't have to keep paying for everything. Right now a major source of income for Afgh is opium so maybe this can change if Americans and others can reduce dependency. Pak has been an ally of usa since cold war days but it is unfortunate that our aid during R occupation of Afgh morphed into situation we have now. The real change was the rise of extremism in this region but yes it was helped along by our aid. There is still a chance that we might reach a solution in Afgh and Pak but it will take time. I still feel very strongly that a Taleban takeover of Afgh and then Pak would be a tragedy for many and would probably result in some type of global action due to the potential nuke threat. btw: I also believe a resolution also needs to be found for the Kashmir issue but usa obviously has its hands full and quite frankly we don't get much help from others.

    July 1, 2010 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Onesmallvoice

    Enough with the 'cut and paste' you clown.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ahmed

    I agree with what Dean Schmidt said, Open-ended wars are The Franchise of our time. war means business money and power. Nothing in history has so much brought fast money and great power like the present wars. With attempting Slogans like Freedom and Democracy Great Powers like United States can have endless wars with endless profits, history repeating it-self. In the past wars used to waged in the name OF GOD. Back to the main topic, McChrystal is just another Seller failed to comply with customs and rules of the today's world market.

    June 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samuel

    Anyone who thinks this was a "mistake" by McChrystal is naive. He knew exactly what he was saying and doing. Only fools talk freely to journalists, and McChrystal’s no fool. He has an honorable exit, fired by an inexperienced President who has never before held meaningful office. As the US withdraws from Afghanistan in disgrace, as it most surely will, it will clearly be Obama's failure, not McChrystal’s.

    June 27, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kushna

    General McChrystal was simply lost in the quicksand of Afghanistan. Actions and statements confirm them. Pakistan, an ally on war on terror has perfected the art of begging, fooling and backstabbing. With such a nation as neighbor, the US rulers are yet to wake up to realities. Soon they will have to rope in India, Russia and some more nations to handle the most dangerous militants threatening us and world peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    June 27, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    He made the same mistake MacArthur did. It's alright to have different views on the subject but you confine them to yourself. His actions was demoralizing to the troops and anyone else who came in contact wiht his ranting. I spent 31 years in "Army" green and I would never follow a leader like him I would resign or retire which ever came first. His comment that he would die for his men and they would die for him is a total ego trip from someone who has lost any reality.

    June 27, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dean Schmidt

    We cannot exit Afgh until the terrorist threat is neutralized or eliminated. The whole reason we are there is because the possibility of them gaining a safe haven (such as pre 911) and possibly taking control of next door Pak and nukes. Nobody on this board will sanction their home city getting nuked in the future by a terrorist bomb. This is the reason we are fighting and why it is so difficult, OBL picked this location for a specific reason! Even O knows this fight is necessary or he would not have us there. The other countries such as EU who are pulling out should be ashamed, their cities are just as vulnerable (if not more so) than ours. The problem is its always usa with 90% of the effort and $$$ and then our supposed allies and comiing up with the remaining 10% trainers, traffic directors, etc. Sorry to be so blunt but this is the truth and it must change. But at least we had some help, most of the world cares less, and maybe we should too! This is the future folks, get used to it. When Iran acquires nukes you will see even more of this type of intervention taking place. And for Russia who are empowering Iran with nuke capability, don't cry when a chechen nukes moscow instead of bombing your subways. These people mean business and are not afraid to die for their causes. Of course I would love to see us get out of Afgh and save lives and $$$ but lets be realistic. We are in a new reality and I don't see that ever changing back to what it used to be like. This is a new war and its war without end.

    June 27, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      No one in the West can function or have their daily lives in harmony until issue of terrorism is resolved.
      The NYT article below shows Pakistan is willing to make a deal for power sharing in Kabul by Haqani group who cradles Al Qaeda and has given OBL sanctuary and protection.

      "Pakistan Is Said to Pursue Foothold in Afghanistan"

      We are in a crucial jucnture ..

      June 27, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Zahir

      Mr.Scmidt, the reason for the US forces to be in Afghanistan is not just fighting terrorism, and their agenad icludes Oil, and natural minerals that have been found in Afghanistan and they worth trillions of dollars. It was the US, who made a deal with Benazir Bhutto the leader of Pakistan and the Taleban government in 1996 to built aroad and start a pipeline between Afghanistan and Pakistan to move oil from Kazakhistan that was owned by the American companies, and the most economic way was to get it to Karachi, since the Russians did not allow them to get to Black Sea.
      Pakistan have been the main source of problem in Afghanistan, and thanks for the US government for supporting and financing of Pakistani government that uses US money for sheltering and training terrorists, and send them to the west for destruction. General Petraeus new command in Afghanistan will not help US, to win this war, and the reason for General McChrystal resignation was that he wasn't pro Pakistani government's involvement in Afghanistan.
      There won't be any sollution for this war in Afghanistan unless we have a leader who can unite the tribes in Afghanistan, and we have no one at the moment. Like Khalil Nouri says:"a fallen wheel in a vehicle will not make the vehicle run, no matter who the driver is. So, even though you may have replaced McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, the decision will not change the dynamics of the war.
      I totally agree with him, since nobdy has been able to bring a unity among the tribes, so far.

      June 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ahmed

    i believe the strategy of the war will not be changed in general, but few schemes and divisions will have to be re-located and re-installed. Top commanders wouldn't endanger their battled troops for the sake of Mchrystal.

    June 27, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gary from Indiana

    Thank you Khalil:

    The General is responsible for the comments of his staff as he sets the culture and it doesn't take a genius to work out that none of these opinions should be expressed within earshot of a journalist.

    Regardless of McChrystal's military credentials, the President is his Commander in Chief, and the chain of command dictates that he follow orders and execute them to the best of his ability.

    Obama would have taken no joy in demanding McChrystal's resignation, for what is an absolutely appalling error of judgement.

    June 27, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jaybob

    Part of the American way of life means lives > money.

    If you're saying that this war is costing you money, and that is why you dislike it- wow, man. You are one sad person. I hope my life never depends on you. How selfish. Yet, you don't realize how much money you lose so that some folks can sit in the US on their butts in front of a TV and wait for a handout.

    June 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1GregM

      I would far rather a person sit in front of their TV here and be taken care of by those in the government they elected in THEIR OWN COUNTRY than to throw away resources and lives of our youth in a grandstanding manner to allow the politicians to thump their chests and proclaim they are the salvation to the world. It is disengenious for a politician to thwart the movements of military because to their own fears of retribution of the electorate. It ihas been proven out time and time again. VietNam is a prime examp0le of that premise and the failure is still a stain on our past.

      June 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jaybob

    Yes. Lay down and do nothing. Only worry about yourself. Let it all go to hell as long as it doesn't directly involve you. Do not bother standing up for the innocent.

    That's the American way, right? No. That is the mentality of cowards and selfish vermin. That mentality is why evil men are able to do so much in these forsaken lands.

    June 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard Ledford

      We already did something.

      We invaded Afghanistan, threw the Taliban out of power and beat hell out of Al-Qaeda. Every moment spent in-country since the early months has been a waste of time, treasure and lives.

      June 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Richard Ledford

    What did we learn from the Vietnam experience?

    In a word, NOTHING!

    Remember the magic words, "Exit Strategy," so important they were capitalized? We have none!

    Remember the Diem family? Now we have the Karzais!

    Remember the birth of the counter-insurgency doctrine in South-East Asia? Now we have the New Counter-Insurgency!`

    This adventure is going to end the same way as the last. It's merely a question of time, money and lives that are consumed before the moment of truth is faced.

    June 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  17. desert voice

    The leder of Afghanistan should be native Pashtun, beloved by all the Pashtun people. Not a small potato! Is there such figure in Afghanistan. Talk to him! There needs to be a change in Kabul and in Kandahar, now! Marjah has been a failure because of Karzai, who did not man the area with governmental forces ... but left it to the warlords from taliban!

    June 26, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      What are your basis if there is not such a leader?

      June 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      The only such leader is Mullah Omar!!! Talk to him!!

      June 28, 2010 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      If I have to to talk to Omar then I will, not everyone can.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      Besides, he is not the leader that majority wants.
      Also, he does not want to lead Afghanistan, and that is for sure ..
      He just wants the NATO out..
      I suggest some research would help

      June 28, 2010 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  18. desert voice

    "Karzai’s mental state could become even more fragile." I told you so. Wherever someone becomes extremely uncomfortable for the American establishment, civil and military, the first effort is to proclam "his mental state in doubt." This is what Karzai apparently is, and this is what he is now facing. I am not his apologist. I just state the facts as they are. I have always been of the opinion that both Karzais mean trouble for the Coalition. I was shouted down by the "experts." The Karzais mental state, be as it may, is here not the issue. The problem lies in the psychological impact of them on the strategy in Afghanistan!

    June 26, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  19. Nikas Kindo

    "An eye for an eye will make the whole blind"
    M. C. GANDHI

    June 26, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  20. Steward

    It is a great shame that McChrystal has gone and having read the RS article it appears his staff were the ones making disparaging comments about some individuals in Obama's adminstration. The President seems incredibly thin skinned and intolerant of any dissent, a sign perhaps of the inherent weakness of character.

    It is Obama who fundamentally damaged our effort in Afghanistan by announcing a draw down date of 2011 at the same time as confirming the current surge of troops. Yes McChrystal's colleagues were guilty of speaking with unwise candour in front of journalists, but Obama is guilty of strategic idiocy and undermining any chance we may have had of a successful outcome.

    COIN doctrine requires ISAF to 'go long and light' in Afghanistan if there is to be any chance of success. I'm certain that Obama has neither the commitment, the vision or the moral courage to see through "his war" to an acceptable conclusion.

    June 26, 2010 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  21. Magic Wand

    Creation of Pakistan from inception was wrong.
    A disintegration of Pakistan is the solution to the entire region.
    I am for it and so is the majority, this would be a face saving exit for NATO and confiscation of weapons of mass distraction which everybody has fear that could end up in the hands of the extremism. The consequence would be far worse. Pakistan should be divided into Pashtunistan, which would be part of Afghanistan and Baluchistan should be by itself. A redefining of the region just as what occurred to former Yugoslavia. Once the old British theory of divide in rule is used on Pakistan then we will have peace. The fact is; Pakistan is the country in hostile with its neighbors therefore the perpetrator must go once and for all.

    June 26, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Salim

      Yes, Magic Wand, it is time for Pakistan to be contained

      Thank you,

      June 26, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      If that is what is needed than it will be the case.
      Our plicy proposal will only to contain inside Afghanistan and that will require a back door dealing which we are not making the call openly ..

      June 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  22. S R Wakankar

    To end this problem in the AfPak,only one solution is there, and that is INDIA.The whole region is OLD HINDUSTAN. Pakistan's point that India should not be there, is sheer stupidity.In fact, Pakistan itself is INDIA,otherwise, what is it?Is it Arab, Persian, or Central Asian?The problem lies with Pakistan and its deadly obsession with the old legacy of medieval anti-Indian Arab/Muslim Imperialism.Pakistan does not only believe in this dead old ideology of Muslim Imperialism which has no relevance today, but in deed,practices it also.In 1947,Pakistan attacked Kashmir using/misusing the Pashtun tribes and again in 1994,attacked Kabul in the same way, using them,destroying the unity of Afgan people.This attempt to annex Afganistan and make her the 5th province of Pakistan was an act of sheer aggression.So Pakistan has to change its policies, and become a "good boy of the class" if peace is to be gained.Pakistan's demand that India should not be allowed in Af.is something like saying "India should not be allowed to enter India".Afgans are Indians,like Pakistanis.What else are they?Pakistan should abandon its madness and follow B'desh which renounced the very word Pakistan.Pakistan needs a thorough transformation from inside.With anti-Indianism, it cannot march ahead.It should not dream about Kashmir or Kabul.It should live peacefully where it is.
    This problem can be solved by forming a joint SAARC Force posted either at Kabul/Kandhar/or Mazare Sharif for maintaining peace, law and order in South Asia.It can be given a form of S.A.'s Nato(SATO), but for this,change in Pak policies and outlook is the first condition.Af.,Pak.,India,B'desh-all these 4 nations are OLD HINDUSTAN.They should meet in Delhi and sort out.Delhi is the traditional centre of the area.So, how can Delhi be ignored and kept away?

    June 26, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ShareFacts

      We will have to accept the fact that Pakistan Army / ISI will never let India get into any role in Afghanistan..because they do not want to get encircled by india from both sides..

      As soon as we realize above, we can we out of this mess in Afghanistan..

      June 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Hanan Habibzai

    Mr Nouri has discussed a significant debate over the war in Afghanistan.He is really true by saying " If I had Obama’s ear, I would have told him a fallen wheel in a vehicle will not make the vehicle run, no matter who the driver is. So, even though you may have replaced McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, the decision will not change the dynamics of the war." I think even among his tribe Mr Karzai lost the faith because of huge and spreading corruption inside the government.People see no justice but they see killers getting around with lofty colors. No , the reality of Afghanistan is very different then early 2002 -2005.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      Mr. Habibzai,

      Thank you for your comment, I see at least 50 or higher percentage of the problem with Mr. Karazai himself leading Afghanistan in a wrong direction.
      Some of the problems should be blamed on the regional powers who all want to have a stake and interest in Afghanistan.
      If these two main problems are contained the rest are easy to fix.
      We will then have a prosperous Afghanistan.
      The policy should reflect those two main issues first. But now it looks counterinsurgency and elimination of ghostly figured Al Qaeda is on the table.

      June 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Smith in Oregon

    With Gen. McChrystal out, gone and history I expect fewer extreme black Op's that end up slaughtering a large number of Afghanistan children and women such as the numerous midnight black Op's raids which went wildly south and resulted in an enormous number of Afghanistan citizens become Taliban fighters, supporters and killing more US Troops in acts of revenge for their dead wives and children. Such extreme black Op's have the fingerprint of McChrystal all over them, designed solely to terrorize the Afghanistan people but backfired and ended up getting many US soldiers killed.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave in sactown

      ops does what ops does to help the cause buddy. Bravest americans serving.

      July 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Terry Green

    It is time for the American military and the Obama Administration to use their best asset; the Afghan native-born Afghan Americans. Afghan Americans have family ties to all of the players on the ground. They can go where no other Americans can go; and they do not need weapons to go into areas that are most dangerous to others. They can talk to their families and help the U.S. military withdraw with dignity. They can begin by helping to set up safe zones (neutral zones) where all sides can come and talk to each other. These safe zones can be the first areas for Afghan to Afghan based economic development projects such as water for farming and re-forestation; with cold storage to keep produce and meats from spoilage. Afghan Americans and Afghans around the world need to take the lead now so that the focus can change from a military focus to an economic and social development focus. A national Jirga council needs to be convened to vote on a "select Jirga" council of elders. The select Jirga council could then help Afghanistan return to the kind of political leadership structure that all Afghan's understand rather then the externally imposed rule that too many native Afghans reject. The select Jirga council could travel as ambassadors to many world capitals before returning home with new knowledge that will help them in their decision making. It is time for a change, and the change begins with the help of Afghanistan’s true successful middle class that is scattered around the world. They are the Afghans with the knowledge that Afghanistan desperately needs now. And, Afghan to Afghan solutions are needed now rather than foreign occupier solutions.

    June 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      This is a perfect example and approach .. I hope people can read your comment

      June 26, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Michael Hughes

    I think we are on the same page.

    June 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  27. I_Am_Muslim

    "I am a Muslim"
    Kill me and call it
    "Collateral Damage"
    Imprison me and call it
    "Security Measure"
    Exile my people and call it
    "New Middle East"
    Rob my resources, Invade my land,
    Alter my leadership and call it

    June 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Then please go back and tend to your camel herd.

      June 27, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • 1GregM

      Kill me – You've been at that for centuries yourself
      Imprision me -refer to number one above
      Exile my people-again refer to your own practices in number one
      Rob my resources- what is the difference between now and tribal conflicts your people seem to have perfected
      Alter my leadership- You have no leadership. You are a seventh century throwback with a death cult mindset whose contributions to civilization are so mniscul as to be virtually nonexistant

      It would be in your better interests to accept help in whatever form to better your living conditions and economics than to persist in the insane manner you have existed in for countless, unsucccessful conturies expecting change from a failed system. You may be a Muslim, but your perspectives and mannerisms are centered around your only ability – that being to grow opium poppies and ruin the world. Until you climb out of the self imposed hole you have been living in for centuries and join the civilized world, you have nothing to crow about and as far as I am concerned saying you are a "Muslim" is no call to fame. It is only a moniker of shame and failure.

      June 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  28. I_Am_Muslim

    "I am a Muslim"
    Kill me and call it
    "Collateral Damage"
    Imprison me and call it
    "Security Measure"
    Exile my people and call it
    "New Middle East"
    Rob my resources, Invade my land,
    Alter my leadership and call it

    June 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Michael Hughes

    Christ could be leading U.S. troops in Afghanistan and it wouldn't matter – check that – Mohammad could be leading troops in Afghanistan and it wouldn't matter (sorry Kal). I think Petraeus is good for a much needed image overhaul. There is something about a magnetic personality combined with hyper-intelligence that's reassuring. Petraeus has said all along Afghanistan would be the tougher fight – he is a wise man, but he isn't in charge. He can't tell Obama: "if I were you – I'd get us the hell out of here so more soldiers aren't killed and more Afghans aren't beheaded." I see Petraeus perhaps negotiating behind the scenes with mid and eventually senior-level Taliban and must determine which ones have a price. I don't think they all do. There are some of the younger Taliban that would rather die than capitulate for material gain. I think older savvier Taliban are ripe for the pickin. Just my thought. You know how it is... you get close to retirement age... Great article kal – you speak the truth. Never in Afghanistan's history have they ever accepted anything imposed on them from external actors. Even Islam wasn't accepted in that manner – it was indigenous. As "T" said, our mission in Kandahar is doomed unless there's an alternative to Karzai. It's about time to actually let the Afghans select their leader according to Afghan custom – not fraudlent elections.

    June 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri


      It doesn’t matter which General is in charge. If the wheel is coming off the operation will not move forward.
      In hindsight, the Afghan tribal politics is so complex that anyone can manipulate and twist it towards their interest. That is what the powerbrokers in Kandahar are good at. If Petraeus wants an equal but counter force to confront that political dilemma then he should find an honest Afghan to advise him else he will be doomed to fail in this Afghan jungle of powerbrokers.

      While back I wrote an article about major Jim Gant who introduced his “One tribe at a time.” Here is a paragraph that I wrote:

      “However, it is needles to say that the Afghan society is a barely penetrable jungle— with its more than fifty ethnic groups, 400 plus tribes and vast sub tribes and clans, religious groups, mystical brotherhoods, mafia networks, village communities and nomads’ camps, with the clienteles of political actors, the militias of the warlords, bands of robbers and urban neighborhoods, plus marriage alliances, professional guilds and internationally networked trade and bazaar structures. In such a jungle, even the gutsiest gladiator with all his might is quickly lost.”

      June 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sam

        finding an honest Afghan advisor in this jungle of 400 tribes would be harder then find Osama.

        July 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      If we let Afghans chose a leader they may end up chosing a leader which is not good for protecting our interest. Did we spend a Trillion $ to let them chose a leader for them selves in clean elections?

      July 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  30. ShareFacts

    I request everyone to watch recent interview by CIA Analyst: Ray McGovern, where he explains why US STRATEGY NOT WORKING in Afghanistan,

    Google "Afghan Intel: Obama getting half the story" and watch he says..

    Following armies have already tried with their military might in Afghanistan and have failed. I think we need to start reading some History and what it tells us.

    Alexander the great
    USA <-- Now we think we can change history

    Get out now and save young American lives and taxpayers dollars!!!

    June 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      US has most advanced weapons and still a strong economy. Its different then Russia who had poor weapons and poor economy.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  31. ShareFacts

    No matter we like it OR not, If we want to end this conflict in Afghanistan, we have to get help from Pakistan, so they can force Afghan Taliban to get on with negotiations with USA.

    We have already tried alone for 9 years alone and its not working..

    We will have to accept the fact that Pakistan Army / ISI will never let India get into any role in Afghanistan..because they do not want to get encircled by india from both sides..

    As soon as we realize above, we can we out of this mess in Afghanistan..

    June 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny-Boy

      Good point. It should also be mentioned that a negotiated settlement with the Taliban is not necessarily tantamount to a defeat. Our fight is with Al Qeada, and the two organizations can be split from one another.

      June 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  32. T

    Karzai has to go with all his cabinet and his brothers.

    June 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khalil Nouri

      Very well said Mr. T

      How? That remains to be worked at the earliest time ..
      The sooner the better

      June 26, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny-Boy

      Yes, that worked oh so well when we did it in Vietnam.

      June 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Khalil Nouri

        I agree that it happened in Vietnam but Afghanistan is not Vietnam.
        Tribal society is very different.

        June 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |