How Can the U.S. Help Afghans and Pakistanis Counter Extremism and Promote Stability?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
December 5, 2009
Displaced Boys Play Soccer in Kabul

President Obama outlined his strategy on a way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al Qaeda and the Taliban threaten the United States, its allies, and both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The President said, “We will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan. We’re in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country. But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. That’s why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border.”

With different situations in each country, how can the United States best help Afghans and Pakistanis counter extremism and promote stability?

Comments

Comments

palgye
|
South Korea
December 5, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Thinks that anyone knows an answer. Recently the problem thinks does provide how many cooperation from the inside the key of solution. Will be able to compare without high position from says and with I that the thought is different, me the die comes to throw and thinks that the number of that die is knowing what log anyone.

- With the weapon support method, the material which thing should family there is not a thing which does but the problem how many unites from the inside and does support problem, thinks. Is conceited but, There is not divergent thinking. Shortly, is foolish but secret intention says the opinion which is personal about the method which will bind together the method which wins from warfare and the inside strongly.

awr- The most guerilla preceding day case, thinks the thing where the work which is not to engagement rule will occur plentifully. Will be like this in case the newcomer officer thinks that the help of the non-commissioned officers where, the battlewise is abundant is earnest. Experience, is distant from that place Great Britain (administration?)With nearly the effect where the Russia help is considerable will not operate on a large scale? Will know the propensity of the residents and their life habit will not be the writing and will experience personally and there is a possibility which sometimes will move immediate perception. Thinks that must help. By the way, wins and thinks that must help. Thinks the society where the custom of the society which is patriarchal is maintained yet. Says and that kills plentifully, the warfare which wins knows thinks the tribe, religion, when removes ring oneself of social custom, wins and quite hard to satisfy warfare.This route possibility is but thinks with number short time. Has an old experience and thinks the thing which will do well. Has an old experience and thinks the thing which will do well. pay rising.? Thinks in quite good method one. The thing where the effort of course and Secretary of State is character during that time anyone knows.

palgye
|
South Korea
December 5, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

continue from rhe before, if the before writing is saving..

Participation of the many natives (?)If comes the weapon system which is urgently of the sum which comes to decide at the date when wages comes to decide and local appropriate, this now government of old experience (administration, military cultural etc.) with being clean, comes to combine about the natives who are appropriate,
Is too theoretical. When and, the cooperation of the international group well becomes delivery, ....

and
Cooperation the inside......
If Afghans most helps to big internal problem solving and thinks that is easy a little? To my thought 2 tribes (Pashtun 42%, thinks Tajik 27%) discord and presidential election became known like that. is how?
Thinks that almost impossibility but, Abdullah Abdullah must cabinet.(Cabineted? His adherent? The crossroad which I will know will hang and until still rises knows.) The compensation where by the way, he is any will without cabinet? Compensation? Excepts the reason which is a surface area and his political ground thinks the tribe where oneself belongs. Is difficult but, when what kind of group politics to reflect their profit to a daily life actually prepares the agency which is official within the government presents a condition?
Saying, illicit union does not know but, actually him election impossibility but is a force which will close an election, "some day" thinks in the base which will hang that has the idea which is. Of course, democratic and with the outside has a many interest even in interchange, thinks that ................. where.
Thinks that restraint means is with reform there is a possibility becoming the stepping stone of cooperation.

The most of the citizens starves and is tired and in the drug gets dirty, the hope props one day one day and goes out and thinks. Is too pessimistic but, Before being committed, makes a preparations from the inside and if from welcomes, to help rambo from the movie which is rambo they were local residents which hangs. Also the place where the Stinger missile is delivered is the local residents. Methphor is not appropriate. Movie is not the place which speaks.

Does not think the thing where the problem the inside will be solved just now. The time is caught but is thought and the method which minimizes a damage tries to be written. Remaining education and the food, the support thinks about hospital etc. social base facility the specialists always in the atmosphere.
Only being long, is long. Contents without.
Being healthy...(also Mr. president Obama and the former)

P.S
Pakistan? Is the intelligence community name of the Indian government what?

designflaw
|
Pakistan
December 5, 2009

D.F. in Pakistan writes:

In numerous ways, either stop the drone attacks, or make them more visible to the Pakistani media in terms of why they were used in a particular instance, and how they help Pakistan as well as US.

Stop the influence of black water, or make it more obvious on what they are doing .. there is a growing trend in public that black water is behind all the bombings in Pakistan.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
December 5, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

In law enforcement one of the keys is getting valuable tips in order to find the Taliban. Offer rewards, or merchandise like coupons, or appliances, or something that offers a carrot to the people in Afghanistan or Pakistan to help turn in the Taliban.

I still think our Proffessional Law Enforcement State Troopers in the United States would be far cheaper on the US Government expenses. What I still suggest is President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State work with our Governors to put together a plan to mobilize a group of Troopers from all States and send directly into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Communications is also vital in helping Law Enforcement find the Taliban. The use of ground Radar and mobile cell phones would be helpful.

Then sometimes you have to be creative and just setup traps for the Taliban. The most important thing everyone has to realize is, "How to trap a Taliban Soldier into a situation, he can't get out"?

The IEDs are basically explosive traps. Our forces need to come up with a new device that can catch the enemy without the use of destruction but gets the job done safe.

Good Day!

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 5, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Top Down...Bottom Up....

First we take a long hard look in the mirror...are we feeding the corruption? If so, stop it. Next, are GoA and GoP playing USG for $ and power? Certainly! So..... break the cycle of shared geo-political delusion. AQI thrives on these games as it pursues the "Great Game".

For real change....establish secure employment and development projects at local levels...focus on a Bottom-Up locus of control....and clean up the chain of governance, authority, financing, support, etc.

Do not subordinate the development of Af-Pak to the War on Terrorism. For instance, securing and supporting mining projects of colored-stones in Afghanistan would create jobs and prevent illicit traffick of stones to finance AQI. Integrity,Safety and Security are the keys to success.

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 5, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

A picture is worth.......

Running in a Fog.....

The photo you chose for this question tells the whole story of current conditions for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The picture is not well developed, and it looks like they are running frantically in a fog.

What these countries share, is a long history of military and dictatorial domination. What they want is safety and freedom to make a decent life. That will require a "fog-free" environment.

Willow
December 5, 2009

Willow writes:

Anything resembling an occupation is going to meet resistance, including that of our "allies". Don't assume Pakistan wants an occupation. Terrorists have a history of using our own weapons and training against us. In order to achieve order, we need a clearer idea of who our enemies are. "Terrorist" is too broad a term now that we feel we are in an illegal war. Business interests in the middle east are keeping us there more than anything else. The pentagon has thousands of contractors, yet we have no way of holding them accountable, meanwhile we refuse to drill here at home.

"At the outset, still under Donald Rumsfeld, the posture was one of denial that anything was amiss. Following the arrival of Robert Gates, the issue has been carefully reassessed. Field commanders have repeatedly expressed their view that contractor accountability issues are undermining their mission, including the counterinsurgency mission in Iraq. In light of the accountability vacuum created and the fact that the Justice Department has gone AWOL, use of court-martial authority has been advocated."

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/04/hbc-90002797

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

News item;

Taliban Says It Won't Meddle in West if Troops Are Withdrawn

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126002422466878409.html

(excerpt)
The Taliban have "no agenda of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and is ready to give legal guarantee if the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan," the group said in a statement emailed to news organizations.

The statement did not specify what such a guarantee would look like. A Taliban spokesman was not available for comment.

---

Assuming this report is accurate, I would agree with the unnamed US official who asked, "why should we take them at their word?" and provided substantal reasoning for these doubts.

However, I've got an idea ( which may be a dangerous thing in itself, but I'm going to let fly anyway now that it is fully formed...on the fly..(chuckle).

Someone once said we shouldn't expect a surrender ceremony a-la papers signed aboard a battleship as in WW2.

That is not to say we shouldn't persue unconditional surrender as a means of ending the conflict on both sides of the border.

It was put to senior officials in hearing, "What does success look like?" I think I would have answered it thusly,

"Looks a lot like like the Taliban giving up the fight and surrendering, sir."

Not to be flippant, but to be totally accurate.

It may be that there are those among the Taliban that are looking for a way to climb out of the hole they've dug for themselves, knowing they face a harsh winter without a whole lot of civilian support on either side of the Durand line, and increasing military pressure on all sides.

So to determine whether this is the case, I would discuss what unconditonal surrender might incorperate with both the Afghan and Pakistani government in a tri-lateral meeting that ultimatly leads to agreed terms to the Taliban's laying down of arms and reintegration into civil society.

This isn't a negotiated surrender with the Taliban, this is to give the taliban TERMS of their surrender and thus their ticket off the battlefield.

There's been a lot of emphasis on the nessesary confidence building of the Afghan people that we will finish the job and a brighter future can be expected.

Well, I don't know a better way to help them achieve that in the short term other than by demonstrating our confidence in what we're doing there to such a degree as to deliver official surrender terms to the Taliban even before the "surge" really gets rolling.

In the delivery of terms, I tend to favor the method DoD used in 91, dropping leaflets on Iraqi forces, many of which were holding leaflet in hand as they surrendered in droves after feeling the heat.

As I said, we give the Taliban a ticket off the battlefield, litterally. It gives the individual the choice to do so. General McCrystal will no doubt provide adequate incentive at the same time.

As with any social experiment, there are no results to be expected, only those that may be anticipated and then observed in action.

If there's a down-side to this idea that anyone can think of, I'd like to hear it.

Because in addition to this, I think it will do more to divide the taliban and al-quaida than anything else.

And if they fight with each other over it, and face desertion among the ranks, that only works for our benefit and the region's.

Justin
|
Washington, USA
December 6, 2009

Justin in Washington writes:

I am thinking that the promotion of women's rights and the improvement of conditions for women in both countries would go along way toward solving the problem in the long term. It seems to me that, and I'm basing this partly on Kristof/Wudunn's recent book, that when women are propped up and supported their gain tends to filter down to the whole community, while when men tend to squander personal gain on vices. As far as the near term, we need an all out offensive using unmanned droid and manned stealth attacks to ferret out all who would do harm to the West, combined with a serious "United States is your Friend" media blitz that highlights all the resources we have put into both countries.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
December 7, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN NEED LAW ENFORCEMENT OVER THE TALIBAN

1. Corruption, illegal drugs and illegal weapons is based on a lawless system in both countries. There is a neccessity of Afghanistan and Pakistan Governments to both utilize a law base system that captures and deliberates Justice for the Taliban forces. The Government leaders need to establish public courtrooms and show the Governments are not afraid of the Taliban.

2. How many years has Pakistan been involved in terrorism and they continue to do so because the Taliban found a weakness in that country. 10,000 Pakistan troops on the border and we still have insurgency of Taliban members crossing into Afghanistan?

3. The challenge for both Afghanistan and Pakistan is to get a grip on law enforcement. In the United States we have State Troopers which provide a very essential role for our State Government. There are the best of what they do and in my opinion should be used to help train Afghanistan and Pakistan Security forces.

4. We keep looking at this problem from a Military standoff when we should be looking at it from a Law Enforcement problem that exists. If you round up the Taliban forces and place them in jail or prison, we wouldn't have the illegal drugs, illegal weapons or suicide attacks happening and you would rid corruption.

5. The end of the Taliban means providing better security, training Police and establishing a State Trooper Law Enforcement program in both countries that are basically super cops to catch, dismatle and bring to Justice those Taliban members.

6. In United States we have 50 States and each have a State Troopers assigned to protect our State Governments. Since they are already trained, it would make sense to dispatch a number from each State to Afghanistan and Pakistan in order establish a ground base that would assist the Governments in maintaining a security presence.

"Isn't this the heart of the problem, lawless society, rebel leaders called, "Taliban Forces" are buying weapons, selling drugs and destroying human life. I think we all know that Afghanistan and Pakistan both could do better at serving the people by providing the best security, and preventing these attacks which happen on a daily basis."

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 7, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

How U.S. can help Af/PAKS to counter extemism and promote stability?

1- Don't let troops disrespect people in towns.

2- Don't kill civilians with Drone Strikes.

3- Don't let Blackwater near the Af/PAKS

4- Don't assume security and stability are the same for US, Afghanis or PAkS.

5- Short-term security can lead to long-term security.

6- Be sure that anything we do is culturally-syntonic.

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
December 7, 2009

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

Dear Madam Secretary,

I absolutely adore the U.S. Department of States "question of the week" blog posting, but I often wonder if a senior State Department official is actually reading and taking into account some of the intuitive and brilliant ideas that I have been reading on the Dipnote blog?

I think that the notion that Al Qaeda is still present in Afghanistan and a un-wavering clear and present danger, along the Pakistani tribal border regions is "dramatically overly hyped" by the administration, more specifically by the U.S. military and national security team. I don't think that Al Qaeda even remains present in Afghanistan, since the final battle at Tora Bora, in 2002. As a nation, we will not be able to break away from this cycle of violence and plotting against Americans or U.S. interests abroad unless we adapt a considerable shift in our strategy and military presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The most fundamental misconception that we have is by grouping Islamic fundamentalist all together, as if they all belong to the same Islamic school of thought and that they are all reverting to violence. This is not the case, we need to acknowledge the differences instead of wrongfully categorizing everyone in the same pool. The Taliban are representative of the very fabric of Afghani society, they are not a militant fundamentalist Islamic group as is the case with AL Shabab and Al Qaeda.

We need to engage with the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, focus on the reconciliation process, recognize the Taliban as an important player with establishing long term stability in the region. I think we need to restructure our strategy and place less of an emphasis on encouraging the Pakistani Government to wage war on the Taliban in the tribal region, rather encourage the Pakistani Government to seek engaging in a dialogue with the Taliban in their tribal regions. Stop the drone air-strikes in Pakistan, they violate our regional partner's sovereignty and are responsible for collateral damage -- this strategy is counterproductive in the long term. If there is a high valued target in the region, there are alternative measures that our military or the Pakistani military have to accomplish a strategic goal.

I disagree with the President's decision and with the overall strategy presented to the public on Tuesday. There are no good choices in Afghanistan, sending more troops will not resolve the conflict, in fact it will increase animosity against the U.S. and its NATO allies over the long term. Resolving the conflict in Afghanistan is not a military solution.

President Obama in his recent decision is pursuing the wrong strategy for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The Hamid Karzai leadership is a fragile government, its effectiveness is questionable, its sphere of influence is limited -- limited in both the tribal regions of Afghanistan and in the mountainous tribal regions along the Pakistani border.

The administration should seek an immediate shift in strategy and in policy, from one of war waging in Afghanistan to a political solution, where the emphasis is placed on nation-building and with placing a renewed focus on the reconciliation process for restructuring of Afghani society. Having a perceived timeline to begin withdrawal, is favorable in conveying the urgency with stabilizing this region to the Afghani and Pakistani governments.

The Afghan people view the U.S. presence as an occupation, many civilians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict,the Pakistani people, especially in the tribal regions, view the continuous U.S. sponsored "drone-attacks" as a violation of their nation's sovereignty, consequently, it will be difficult for the U.S. and its allies to gain the support of the local tribal leaders and of the tribal communities. Prime Minister Hamid Karzai, has little influence outside of Kabul, thus, we need to acknowledge the importance with engaging with the tribal leaders in an effort to establish a policy of long-term stability. The U.S. needs to engage in a meaningful dialogue with local tribal leaders and with the Taliban in all provinces, build their trust and place less of an emphasis for a U.S. and NATO long-term troop presence.

Moreover, we need to engage, locally and diplomatically with the regional players, in the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, seek an agreement or understanding with the Taliban and tribal leaders. These are Islamic countries and community based collectivistic societies. I think the President and the U.S. Department of State, could obviously use the expertise of a "Conflict Resolution specialist and a conflict resolver" on their "A" team.

Conflict Resolution Graduate Program

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 7, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

First, do no harm.....

If US doesn't do anything to harm their security and stability as it pursues terrorists (AQI), it will be a good thing.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joeseph A in Oregon,

If you want to resolve a problem, first you must recognize that there is one.

Do you think perhaps that 9/11 was "overhyped" as well?

How about the attacks that have occured in various countries since, and the ones that were prevented?

Were they some spinmiester's figment of imagination?

Or perhaps you take exception to the notion that one who harbors, gives sustenence to, or material support for terrorism is equally guilty of, and complicit in acts of terrorism, regardless of who claims credit for those acts.

If you were to read the idea I put forth here, you may find a concrete methodology for separating the idiots from the terminally stupid.

Is this enough of a distinction (by definition) to satisfy you with regards to the following?

"The most fundamental misconception that we have is by grouping Islamic fundamentalist all together, as if they all belong to the same Islamic school of thought and that they are all reverting to violence. This is not the case, we need to acknowledge the differences instead of wrongfully categorizing everyone in the same pool."

If you were at all knowlegable, and had done your homework, you would have talked about Pashtoon nationalism as motivation for some, as opposed to claiming we only see ideological extremism as basis for all motivations, and done so knowing the USG does know who it's dealing with after being there as long as we have.

Many cups of tea later, the majority of tribes opposed to the Taliban and their Facist style of governance have basicly overcome their natural mistrust of the idea of a central Afghan government, and are now wanting to see results in their communities as to what a federal system can do to improve their lives.

The taliban are in no way reresentitive of the Afghan hopes and aspirations, any more than they represent the "fabric of Afghan society" as you attest.

Here's a factoid, When the Taliban came to power, they did so by lying to the Afghan people, carrying photo's of Zahir Shah and promising to bring about his return to the Afghan throne. This is because The Afghan center of social gravity favors moderation in politics and social behavior, always has and that's why the Taliban were opposed to begin with and civil war existed until we stepped in and removed them from power.

Nor when he did eventally return was he riding on an Amercan tank, but instead riding on the hopes and dreams of Afghanstan coming full circle, dreams kept alive despite 30 years of war, deception and disapointments... by the Afghan people themselves.

I honestly don't think you have a clue what success is based upon, or how it may be achieved. But I can assure you it doesn't involve negotiating with terrorists or walking away from the fight without defeating them first.

As Hamid Karzai put it long ago, "Without security, nothing can be built."

What about his statement do you not understand?

Joseph
|
Oregon, USA
December 7, 2009

Joseph in Oregon writes:

I like Ron from New York, suggestions, his recommendations represent a strategy representative of applying a conflict resolution process and strategy.

What an interesting concept, applying conflict resolution theoretical concepts to the overall strategy in the region.

I think that Ron's bullet points are right on track and encourage improving the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Conflict Resolution Graduate Program

Donna
|
California, USA
December 7, 2009

Donna in California writes:

Work in the field of promoting prevention of private citizen injuries, especially children and women. Continue multi-year effort to build roads, schools, hospitals.

Daniel
|
Florida, USA
December 7, 2009

Daniel in Florida writes:

While the conflict in Afghanistan is of a very sensative nature, there are certain steps the State Department should follow to bring this conflict under further control, these recommendation include:

1. Analyze the troop deployment, what regions are they short in, what are the tactical and strategic needs and what supporting infrastructure is needed to bring support to the forces already there.

2. You cannot talk about Afghanistan without analyzing the situation in Pakistan. This ally has to be brought into negotiations where there are stakes at the table for such government. Whether being political, economical, social, all these factors should be considered.

3. Infrastructure has to be furthered developed in the region. Citizens of this nations cannot begin to comprehend the idea of democracy, freedoms and/or rights they have if they have to worry about such things as obtaining running water and other fundamental necessities.

4. The Afghani security forces have to equipped, trained and work hand in hand with our forces while at the same time they should be given clear cut expectations and assignments to complete collectively with other government agencies in their own provinces and around the country.

5. Bring a sense of unity to the nation. Certainly this is much easier said than done, but until the Afghani population does not feel interconnected with one another peace in the region and the nation will be hard to bring about.

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 7, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Common Sense (not too common)....

If Green Zones, Mosques, Markets and Schools can be blown up at will...Whre is the trust that resisting extremisim can lead to stability and security? Where is the trust that security and stability can be sustained when USG, NATO, etc. depart or move to another "front"? Trust is the key factor in both countries...Replicable Secure and stable Pilot programs in both countries (which are sustained) can be a beginning.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well Ron, I guess common sense would tell you that only by resisting extremism could a population ever hope to rid itself of the individuals that carry out such attacks as a means of controlling a population, for that is their intent by inducing fear among the people.

So the point is to help them resist, and it's through the helping that relationships are built, along with the trust on both sides that it's a "we" thing.

It's not like we're doing this "for" them. Rather, "We" are doing this for our mutual benefit.

It's not as if folks are starting from scratch at this point, and a lot has been built, built up, and piloted into existance over the last 8 years in Afghanistan, where only a "destroyed state" existed prior.

Noting the recent passing of the election law in Iraq (one of those benchmarks for US withdraw folks have been waiting for as a sign of increasing independant stability as a nation takes hold of its future), I'd say anyone who deals with the US can rest assured that a 50/50 deal is just that and "Oh by the way, here's your country back."

Trust based on performance is not a bad thing and leads to results.

Kind of hard to call it an occupation if foreign forces are "just passing through", and there's the rub no extremist can withstand, as it becomes redily self apparent to anyone that may not have trusted us in Afghanistan, that we're not there to steal their land, or make life harder for them. The Taliban and al-quaida are the only one's trying to do that.

And if we leave it better than we found it, we generally make a few friends in the process.

What took so long in the President's decision making and review of strategy that niether pundit nor official has mentioned, is the basic nessesity to have developed an adaptable strategy based on the human condition, not just statistical data or flow charts.

That's why micro-finacing was introduced during the Bush admin. ( as an example of just one pilot program to help Afghans)

A nation is built and sustained by one individual at a time, taking hold of an idea.

In our case, it was freedom from British occupation and tyrany, that sparked people's imagination. Now we work together as the protectors of people's right to live free from those things.

Now if an Afghan tribal elder were to wrap his head around that paradoxical reality, there's his proof that change isn't nessesarily a bad thing, and that trust can be built where once wars were fought.

MMMmmm, I smell some trust laying around here someplace...eh what?....dinner.

And since the world shouldn't go hungry while I'm sustaining my own existance, please do not hesitate to partake in the democratic feeding of face....and take a homeless person to lunch.

Attitude is everything.

(sounds like a pilot program to me...chuckle)

Best,

EJ

( to be cont. )

Joseph
|
Oregon, USA
December 8, 2009

Joseph in Oregon writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico,

Your comments are extremely bias and one-sided! You seemingly represent a point of view that I would imagine is driven by the neo-conservative stance, represented by the far-right in the U.S. political arena. I'll bet you are an avid viewer of "Fox-News", which by the way, is the most distorted, arrogant and one-sided media information network on the planet.

There are many forms of Islamic extremism, who are peaceful, they choose to live their lives within the context of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, practicing conservative Islam and who under any circumstances do not revert to violence, as a means with achieving ideological or political ambitions.

I stand by my previous posting;"The most fundamental misconception that we have is by grouping Islamic fundamentalists all together, as if they all belong to the same Islamic school of thought and that they are all reverting to violence. This is not the case, we need to acknowledge the differences instead of wrongfully categorizing everyone in the same pool."

Clarification, there are principally four schools of Islam (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali), each Islamic schooling, represents a different view of Islamic philosophical thought, their Quranic interpretations vary on the teachings of Islamic law, of the four schools the Hanbali school is the strictest of Sunni law schools. The conservative Wahhabi movement is based on the Hanbali teachings of Islam, they practice a conservative form of Islam, they choose to live their daily lives in accordance to the strictest and purified forms of Islamic teachings. Today,the ideological movements of Wahhabi and Salafism, are found out side of Saudi Arabia, in Africa and India, and may be representative in the worldviews of many contemporary Muslims.

The term "Islamic extremism" is misleading and gives an inaccurate representation of Islam, by the U.S. State Department blog, making reference to Islamic extremism, in the context of Pakistan and Afghanistan, this could be offensive to the Pakistani and Afghani people who reside in the region. A Muslim, may be practicing an extreme, conservative form of Islam and live a peaceful non-violent life.

My suggestions for improving the U.S. strategy in the region and for engaging in a peaceful resolution, placing the emphasis on dialogue and with applying a strategy for the Conflict Resolution process, engaging with Tribal leaders within the Islamic community remain.

We need to improve our relations in the region and with the Muslim community globally.

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Shared Economies = Secure and Stable Borders.

Legal and transparent Economic links between Afghanistan and Pakistan could form the basis of trust and mutual security and stability. Right now, minerals are being trafficked from Afghanistan to Pakistan and on to India. The money funds global crime/AQI and Talib extremist/terrorism. We can do well and good by accelerating development projects which foster human security in the Af-Pak regions.

Caveat: Do not allow Corruption to drive the deals.

Corruption is the gasoline on the fire of insecurity and instability.

Doris
|
United States
December 8, 2009

Doris in U.S.A. writes:

Obviously there is no infrastructure in Afghanistan, the main items that make society livable are missing, railroads, roads, paved streets, banking systems, water systems, sewage treatment, the living conditions in some of the areas are deplorable and yes breeding grounds for God knows what. The children are forced to work to eat. There are no policies and guidelines established by the Afghan people themselves to set up a government that will establish some sort of order to work towards building the type of society that is civilized to meet or at least come up to standards with the rest of the world. There needs to be order established first of all. A stable military, police, schooling system,laws that will be enforced by the Afghan people long after the us finally withdraws. There should be a continued effort among the International community to make sure that this area is not left up for grabs. With the continued help from India and Pakistan it is achievable and it will enhance world security despite the other side effects of what war in this area have caused.No one is imposing there religion on these people, it should be free will but there has to be a serious commitment on the part of it's people alongside the military to make it happen. Polls should be patrolled, this kept alot of people away.

D
|
United States
December 8, 2009

D. in U.S.A. writes:

You need people who know how to build communities, create the type of civilization that will afford the Afghans a chance to share in the global community productively without fear.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
December 8, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. The Pashtuns in Afghanistan have to be understood in realistic manner. Most do not care who is in power, nor do they care about narcotics and crime. The culture has precluded any limitations placed upon it by whoever is in power for centuries, this includes outside threat or control elements regardless of intent. You are not fighting for anyone in their eyes, only creating a problem. They are their own nation with no borders and are, in reality, over one half million strong and stretching more than five countries and two continents. It is a reality that despite all the knowledge, good intentions and education constructive leadership has, overlooks. That is the reality of any nomadic civilization, but on a scale we neglect to understand or recognize.

2. TO: D in USA. We have more than the methodology to construct an infrastructure for any civilized country or people in every conceivable manner and method and have for decades. What you fail to recognize is basic psychology and sociology: You cannot change the way a person or society thinks readily. YOU ARE TELLING THEM THE WAY THEY LIVE IS WRONG in effect and THEY HAVE TO WANT CHANGE, which they DO NOT. That is the cultural problem that all the bombs and bullets cannot alter. How long did it take for Americans to change their views on minorities? How long did it take a social organization with religious basis like the Klan to alter their social structure and ideology of minorities in a civilized society? If we could not change how we feel here, what makes you think you can alter others ideology and living beliefs? Our PSYCHOPS has been too limited to individual and leadership areas and the result is obvious.

3. If I knew what to do, I would not tell anyone until I was paid for the information...that is the American way right?

4. Pray daily for all Leaders worldwide to make the right decisions and get together in these trying times. I say this as it is obvious that all countries, regardless of size and economic situations, be they at war or peace seem to be purchasing large amounts of military hardware, which many do not need. That means even known alliances are not being honored or trusted.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joeseph in Oregon,

Glen Beck I am not, though I gotta say he is occasionally amusing.

Thing is, if I want to know what up, I can always go directly to the source, or talk to an Afghan in person.

Reality tends to shread any theoretical conflict resolution theories, simply because this isn't an intellectual excercise we're involved in here.

So I questioned your assumptions the way I did to cause you to think.

Those who use Islam as a cover for their crimes against humanity are coddled by those cowards of men who sin by their silence within the nation of Islam, remaining mute against what is haram.

Zharkov
|
United States
December 8, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has warned that it will take 15 years before the country is able to pay for the cost of its own security forces.

As our constitution prohibits the gift of taxpayer funds to foreign powers, its time to pass around the hat for personal contributions from our federal officials.

Frank
|
Pennsylvania, USA
December 8, 2009

Frank in Pennsylvania writes:

Hire Greg Mortenson and members of his staff to develop a plan of localized economic, cultural, and social redevelopment in cooperation with indigenous tribal leaders and women groups.

Joseph
|
Oregon, USA
December 9, 2009

Joseph in Oregon writes:

For Eric in New Mexico and Joe in Tennessee,

Eric, thank-you for your intuitive insight. I've been thinking about Afghanistan, Pakistan and achieving regional stability since I took my last graduate class during late summer -- Global Inequalities, my class research paper and our group ninety-minute class presentation was on the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan, who are the internal and external influential players, who are the regional players; what is the context of the conflict, dynamics and the historical background of the conflict in Afghanistan. We researched and presented the in-depth critical analysis on resolving the conflict by applying the conflict resolution theory of "conflict-mapping." We even conducted a thirty minute exercise, dividing our class into a representation of all the players in Afghanistan -- that's how you get a feel for what there interests are, and what there wants and needs are; The Karzai government, Pashtuns,Other ethnic tribal groups, Taliban, Militant Islamic fundamentalist groups, U.S. Military, U.S. Government, Pakistan, Iran, most importantly the Afghani people. Guess what? The players have different values and goals, a different perception of what they would like to achieve in Afghanistan, it is a "conflict in strategic, political and cultural interests", influenced by power and control for the region. It's by no means a military solution, the announced troop surge, represents the concept of "conflict escalation." Thus, they need to take into account the very "nature of how Afghani society is structure", an Islamic nation, a tribal society, which is community based, governed by tribal leaders and Imams. This dynamic and social structure holds true for the Tribal regions of Pakistan as well. I'm of the opinion that we need to revert our strategy to one of engagement with the tribal leaders and the Taliban. I wholeheartedly agree with Joe in Tennessee's assessment, where he suggests a strategy that would compliment Afghani culture and society and I chuckle over the comments posted by D: in the U.S.A.; they don't need the U.S. to tell them or even to suggest to them how to build communities, the very fabric of Afghani , society is structure around the community -- Islamic countries, through the Ummah and tribal leaders have built communities over the past fourteen hundred years, since the 7th century, Afghani society is community based. Joe is right on it, according the protocol of a individualistic, capitalist free-market society, my narrative, suggestions and intellectual advise, should have a price tag on it - theoretically speaking, we should be compensated, but, I personally would like to see the livelihood of the Afghani people improve dramatically, but within the frame of reference of their cultural aspirations, not what Western powers want for them. If the Undersecretary of State for Euro-Asian Affairs needs a smart-guy to help build stability and community in the region, I may be interested. Hamid Karzai, is being honest in his announcement today, 15 years, I'd say 15 to 25 years, but even though they want to rebuild Afghani institutions, they must not go against the grain of the very fabric of Afghani society -- they need to include the Tribal leaders in this process. The continuous occurrences of killing civilians under the pretense of collateral damage needs to stop completely, it's counterproductive and will set-back any hopes for improving stability.

ilia
|
Puerto Rico
December 10, 2009

Ilia in Puerto Rico writes:

One of the most important step about terrorism is to educate the Pakistani and Afghan people about who their real enemy is. It seems that some people have a poor understanding about the religious extremist who disguise their ideals and barbaric acts under the cover of religion. Those enemies have only brought suffering, hardship and deprivation of human rights to innocent victims.

Their education system should teach modernist reforms, instead of the archaic views that instills fear of change to modern secularity. Certainly, religion , customs and tradition should always be respected but people should be open to the world when it comes to education, views, adapt to changes. How can religion be a code of life when it involves violence? A pretext for terrorism? God is peace. Is a mean to destabilise democracy through violence thus creating social unrest. That war that is being fought is not only of Americans and NATO allies, is for the peace and stability of those two nations, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the world, therefore, those men and women soldiers deserve sympathy and co-operation from the peoples of those two countries. Naturally, is up to their government to educate them about terrorism and the intensity of September 11, how it change the world and hurt United States.

P.S. The drone program is one of the best and sucessful techniques to fight terrorist. Air POWER.

Hugh
|
Alabama, USA
December 10, 2009

Hugh in Alabama writes:

I've noticed that the "Civilian Reserve Corps" has been renamed "Civilian Response Corps". I hope that doesn't indicate that S/CRS is giving up on recruiting outside the Civil Service.

I believe there are a lot of private sector & local government employees who are willing & able to bring useful skills to bear in Afghanistan, Pakistan, & other countries where it is in our interest to support stabilization & reconstruction operations. Some of those skills would be hard to match if current Federal employees are the only source of personnel. That's not to deny that many Federal employees also have useful skills to support these missions.

Whoever we send on these missions will need thorough briefings on the local culture, & I'm sure FSI is already well prepared for that aspect of preparation. I suspect it's more practical in the long run to provide language & culture training to subject-matter experts than it is to train area specialists to deal with water, sewage, sanitation, energy, transportation, security, agriculture, economics, etc.

I think we should also try to offer whatever assistance we can within the context of the existing culture & social structures, & let the people in the host nation make their own decisions about what changes they might want to make in their social & governmental structures.

Pages

.

Latest Stories

Pages