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An enemy focused approach

Reader comment on item: Wasting U.S. Taxpayer Money in Afghanistan

Submitted by Marc Heggart (Argentina), Feb 8, 2010 at 19:33

Whilst spending money on aid projects is unlikely to defeat the Taliban in a conventional sense, it provides a realistic alternative for a population that has been ignored by US and coalition forces. Afghanistan will not be won by massed firepower, rather it will be won by whoever best wins the local population's support. Your comment on this article suggests there should be a retreat to Vietnam era tactics, firepower displays and bodycounts.

At present Afghanistan is hardly even a developing nation. Assisting in the construction of roads, hospitals, bridges and other facilities provides a boost to the local economy, allows the men of the region to work on peaceful projects at a comparable wage to that they may earn by acting as itinerant Taliban, and improves the perception that coalition and Afghan government elements are interested in the population. This in turn makes the colaition and Afghan government a valid alternative to the shadow government of the Taliban that still operates in many areas of the south.

One of the few advantages the coalition enjoys over the Taliban is its engineering and cash resources. The Taliban is incapable of providing health clinics, bridges and proper schools to the population. By doing this the coalition, and Afghan government, demonstrates to the population that it is more effective than the Taliban. Of course, this also requires that such facilities be protected other wise there is a risk that they will be attacked and destroyed by the Taliban. Here more conventional security tasks are reuired. Of course, such attacks by the Taliban serve to create a rift between them and the local population as they are seen attacking infrastructure that has a material benefit to the local population.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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