Friday, April 30, 2010

New Pentagon Report on Afghanistan

What to do with Afghanistan? Despite President Obama’s 30,000 strong troop surge and millions of dollars being poured in, the Afghan bus has not managed to extricate itself from the ditch it has been stuck in. The Pentagon’s report to Congress yesterday underlines what most people already know: the population “sympathizes with or supports the Afghan government” in only 24% of the key parts of Afghanistan. As the report concedes, the insurgents “perceive 2009 as their most successful year.”

Progress on governance has been minimal: Afghans perceive their government to be corrupt and incompetent – 83% reported that corruption affects their daily lives - a fact exploited to the hilt by the Taliban. Damningly for the Karzai government, the Pentagon admits that the “Taliban … is an adjudicator in providing swift and less corrupt dispute resolution” and that “courts are understaffed and chronically corrupt.” Moreover, “only 50% of Afghans believed that prisons were capable of holding prisoners for the duration of their sentences” probably because of high profile prison escapes and pardons by corrupt politicians. The report also suggests that there is no political will to tackle corruption and that political meddling might actually be counteracting anti-corruption efforts.

What is the use of propping up Karzai if the Taliban offers superior justice to Aghan citizens?

Read more here.