Alla Dessa Dagar: "Jag tillhörde dem som betonade betydelsen av ett rimligt parlamentsval nästa år – med de möjligheter till breddad bas dessa kan innebära – men som samtidigt inte är överförtjust över för många uttalanden om att vi skall börja dra tilbaka trupper 2011 och söka överenskommelser med talibanerna. Det var helt klart de politiska insatserna som sågs som avgörande i vår diskussion - även om säkerhetsinsatserna självfallet är mycket viktiga."
This is how Carl Bildt is describing what happened prior to the meeting, a select dinner yesterday night, on Afghanistan in London where some 70 countries participate today. It is Obama that in his State of the Union Address says he will begin withdraw troops in 2011 and Hamid Karzai that wants to talk to the Taliban.
David Miliband, Carl Bildt and Anders Fogh-Rasmussen deliver almost textbook-like schemes for how to move forward. A soldier like Stanley McChrystal, the American Commander, stuck on the ground, is a little more humble and cautious and verbalize that there might have been too much fighting at this point. He is leaning towards negotiations, perhaps with the aid of the reinforcements due. Robert Gates, the US Minister of Defence, doesn't think the Taliban are going to move an inch, however, before they start to loose. This might be a US Democrat-Republican split of opinion.
This is exactly the problem. The Taliban have increased the number of attacks on Western forces every year and control much of the country side outside Kabul where Karzai is supposed to rule. Some say he only commands his palace, however. Corruption is rife and the Americans have started dealing directly with the tribes as they did successfully in Iraq during the so called "surge". It is not going to work in Afghanistan though it is believed. However, it jeopardizes the hall mark strategy. That of increasing the troops of Karzai to take over security in the country, something that will take 5 to 10 years according to Karzai in London.
It seems to me that this summer will hold the answer for how to continue. Will the trend of every year increases of casualties be broken? In that case corruption just have to be reduced, which is more difficult. In the mean time al Qaida is in Yemen and elsewhere. It is very difficult to have politics in the forefront in a place ruled by tribal logic.
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