Three options for Obama in Afghanistan
Afghan National Army recruits walk back to their formation after completing marksmanship training during Basic Warrior Training at the Kabul Military Training Center on January 11, 2011.
May 10th, 2011
12:31 PM ET

Three options for Obama in Afghanistan

Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations (where he blogs), co-author of "America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy" and a former director for global issues and multilateral affairs at the National Security Council.

By James M. Lindsay – Special to CNN

The killing of Osama bin Laden has energized the debate over U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. President Obama clearly has more political leeway in deciding his Afghan policy than he did before the daring strike in Abbottabad. The question is, what should he do with it?

Some U.S. troops will begin to leave Afghanistan this summer. That was the plan from the moment that Obama announced the Afghan surge back in December 2009. Just days ago, he said his drawdown orders “will be significant.”

But what does “significant” mean? The debate over Afghanistan essentially boils down to three questions: How many troops should come home? How fast should they leave? What should be the mission of those that remain behind?

Three different camps are giving Obama advice on how to answer these questions:

1. Stay-the-course with counterinsurgency: Proponents of the current strategy say it is working and that we need to keep at it to ensure that our successes stick. Bringing home 10,000-20,000 of the 100,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan may be warranted. However, the mission should remain counter-insurgency focused - pushing back the Taliban, training the Afghan police and military and creating political space for the Afghan government to take root. Staying-the-course in this fashion will, in turn, strengthen Washington’s hand in dealing with other governments in the region.

2. Get a lot smaller, a lot quicker, and shift the mission to counter-terrorism: Proponents of revamping U.S. policy doubt that the successes the stay-the-course camp touts are real, or sustainable, or worth the cost. The get-smaller-quicker camp also sees perils in leaving Afghanistan abruptly. So they call for shrinking the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan and focusing it on counter-terrorism.

U.S forces, which might range in number from 15,000-30,000 troops, would train Afghan soldiers but their primary mission would be hunting down al Qaeda fighters. Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats would intensify their efforts to broker a peace between Kabul and Taliban leaders.

3. Declare victory and get out: The first two camps argue about how to refine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The third camp simply wants to end it. Their argument for coming home mixes principle and pragmatism.

Some like, Ron Paul, the GOP presidential candidate and congressman from Texas, are traditional non-interventionists (isolationists, if you prefer) who think the United States should mind its own business overseas. Others simply believe that America’s fiscal woes make the Afghan mission unaffordable, especially since a decade-long commitment has failed to produce a stable and effective government in Kabul.

The declare-victory-and-get-out camp will get a lot of press attention in the weeks to come. It certainly reflects the views of many Americans. A Pew Research Center poll released this week found that even after bin Laden’s death more Americans (49 percent) want to remove U.S. troops as soon as possible than to stay until the situation has stabilized (43 percent).

But that 49 percent of Americans won’t get their wish. The stay-the-course and the get-smaller-quicker camps disagree about what the United States needs to do in Afghanistan, but they agree that it needs to be there.

They will argue that a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan will create chaos in the region and jeopardize everything that American troops have fought and died for over the past ten years.

So look for Obama to choose between staying-the-course and getting-smaller-quicker. And when he announces his decision, don’t look at just the number of troops he is ordering home. Look also at what he wants those staying behind to do. That will tell you all you need to know about the nature of America’s continued commitment in Afghanistan.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of James M. Lindsay.


soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. RAJ

    If we vacate Afghanistan or reduce troops to very low level then ISI & Taliban are eager to take power in Afghanistan defying present government. For us terrorist issue is a major issue and for that we need to supervise Afghanistan and Pakistan together with vigilant eyes. Taliban will behave properlty till USA troops are there and as soon as we leave Afghanistan they will try for power in Afghanistan and invite Alquida and other terrorist groups from Pakistan.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Nickell

      Agreed. I think we should be asking the Afghan people what they think.

      May 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • Yellow Rose

      I prefer option No 3. Declare victory and get out, now. Staying any longer is not worth.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Jester

      stupid India, whatever happens, India will never get what it has come for in Afghanistan, its not a question of How but When India will be kicked out of Afghanistan. You will always be a by-stander

      May 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Reply
      • Arian

        WTF are you talking about? Do you even know the history of the region? The friendship between India and Afghanistan goes back for centuries. India is trying to keep a check on Pakistan, by befriending Afghanistan. Both these nations are trying to expose the two-facedness of Pakistan, which obviously has double standards as exposed by recent SEALS raid. If you don't know the regional politics, then open your mouth only to gulp your slurpee.

        May 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
      • GetItStraight

        Who is this Jester? And what in the world are you talking about? Why is India in Afghanistan? Can you please elaborate? Don't give B.S. either, I'm being serious, keep the conversation at a educated level please. Based on the way you and Mr. Afridi write your notes god knows your level of education.....I'm guessing 3rd grade. Here's a suggestion ESL...English as a secondary Language. When I initially replied to Mr. Afridi's ignorant comment I was simply trying to make a point to make sure that you "Paki's" have your facts straight, hence the name GetItStraight. Now I'm hearing all kinds of comments about India. Why? Because someone by the name of Raj made a statement? Stop this nonsense......AND I ASSURE YOU I AM NOT INDIAN!

        May 12, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • shahid afridi

      dear raj,,we the pakis are also against an unstable afghanistan, we want peace in afghanistan and with india, and as far as blaming ISI is concerned, then what about RAW, and its nefarious activities in Pakistan, leme tell u, u can enjoy pop cons in ur home, if ur neighbour house is at fire, so we as pakis dont want afghanistan at fire, and at the same time , we also dont want any fire with india, just imagine ,we were peaceful neighbours with afghanistan also at peace, and issue of kashmir settled,,,just think over that, its a wonderful region region ma friend,so please work for its peace , and leave this blame game. if everything is at peace and people at peace, then there is no requirement for RAW,,of ISI..

      May 11, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
      • Arian

        Mr. Afridi, first of all, use your real name, no need to borrow the mediocre Bowler's name. Anyways, it is very well known to the world about the origins and the intentions of your POS ISI. They are just getting all the US taxpayers' money in aid, and then they go party with the Talibs.

        In last 60 years of independence, India became the 2nd fastest growing economy, and Pakistan became a haven for relocated terrorists from all over the world. This speaks a lot about your nation, its military and its government policies.

        May 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • GetItStraight

        Well said Arian. Don't worry the world now knows how "peaceful" Pakistan is......I don't even need to comment on this one. Like I said in the original email I sent you sir keep your mouth shut because everytime your talk, you keep owning yourself. Seriously, do you have Down Syndrome or something?

        May 12, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Ethan

      The US is not stupid to leave Afghanistan because its task has not been complete yet. The uprising in the Middle East is nothing but a dessert after dinner. All these implemented strategies are actually working in favour of United States. Leaving Afghanistan is not going to make a difference because the target is and never was Afghanistan. The target is Pakistan and its Nuclear weapons.

      The American people need to realise that a big change is coming their way and they better prepare themselves for such a change. It is not for the worst or benefit of them but it is for the world of entire humanity.

      Killing Osama Bin Laden is not a big deal because humans are limited to time and I still believe the US Government is the main suspect in this. Open your eyes America and realise the struggle for a change.

      When the Zionists leave you be, then come cry on my shoulder. You will only realise such a change when it really happens. GOD has given you brain think with it. GOD has given you eyes, witness with it. GOD has given you hearts understand with it.

      GOOD LUCK TO HUMANITY

      May 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Adnan

      We need to Invite Indian Troops to Afghanistan since they are close by and have interest in that region.

      May 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Jal

      Don't have to be clever enough to guess you are from the pathetic, poverty ridden third World India trying to desperately cling on, if possible, to USA skirts like a poodle!
      Do not forget. Talibans are Afghanis and rulers in exile of the unlawfully attacked and invaded Afghanistan, and Afghanistan was a peaceful countries before the imperialist countries like the Soviet Union, the United States and about thirty other European countries put it upside down unlawfully and unjustly!!!

      May 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Reply
      • GetItStraight

        The Talib's are Afghanis....first of all illiterate bastard, there is no such a word as Afghanis, it's Afghan and if you would like to use it as a plural, it would be Afghans. To correct you, the Talib's are Afghans! Second, it's like I told Mr. Afridi the Talibs are being run by Pakistan's military.....go and read the comment further down. God damn I feel like an "Engrish" teacher.....yes I spelled it with an "r" on purpose. Don't make that you comeback.

        May 12, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  2. Paula Popeo

    Dear Senator Kerry:

    My son is an American soldier: a beautiful young man, in the prime of life, with an infectious laugh and an enormous heart. He leaves next month for a nine month tour of duty in Afghanistan. I am so proud that he has chosen to serve our country. Our home is filled with combat equipment, from camouflage fatigues, to a steel helmet, to leaded bulletproof vests, that serves as a chilling reminder of what lies ahead for my college sophomore who wields a “mean” long-stick for his college lacrosse team. While others find solace in the death of the monster Bin Laden, my family prepares for the most gut-wrenching separation of our lives.

    As I follow the progress of the Congressional hearings you lead this week that will shape the future of this ten year war, I ask that you consider a shift in strategy that protects our soldiers above all. If we must remain on the ground, training and assisting the people of Afghanistan to protect themselves, then the Afghan people must serve as the front line of their resistance against the Taliban. They must be on the front lines, both on the battlefields and as IED sweepers. The time has come for the Afghan people to take ownership of their own internal problems. They must be their own first line of defense. Our role as their “bullet taker” must end immediately. I don’t care about the dollars lost; only that America has already lost more than 1,500 precious lives. If the Afghan people are not ready and able to take on this responsibility after all that America has sacrificed in the name of Afghan freedom, then I suggest they never will be.

    The American media also has an obligation to be vigilant in making sure that this heartbreaking war is the front-page story on every newspaper, every television broadcast, each and every day until all of our men and women are safe at home on American soil.

    On behalf of every family who is affected by this nightmare, I implore you to reassess the mission in Afghanistan as well as all future conflicts and to protect my son, and all of America’s sons and daughters, at any cost. You have the power to bring this chapter to an end.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • justin

      well said! god bless your son.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • RichP, easton, pa

      I agree with you totally, they need to start taking hits, they need to earn this thing called freedom, freedom cannot be given, it must be earned.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
      • match9

        you are wrong. freedon costs a buck 'o' five

        May 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Toodles

      Very well said! My husband is over there right now, and within a month multiple soldiers have been wounded.. It is not a war we should be fighting in anymore. I do not even think we should stay to train them, as we would have never done it in the first place if 9/11 never happened.

      God bless our soldiers and all the soldiers from the other countries fighting overseas.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Yellow Rose

      God bless your son, our troops, your family and the greatest Unites States of America !

      May 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      God bless our troops, including your son, for their courageous sacrifice to serve this great country we live in. It is a privilage to live here and we owe our thanks to the service men and women who do more than just defend our country. I agree completely that the news media need to pay more attention to the "forgotten war." It is a shame that CNN, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC and every other major outlet focus on everything but the war. I have many family members and friends serving, and their number 1 complaint is that the US civilian population knows nothing about the true heroics and sacrifices being payed oversees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its almost as if media outlets push new war agendas (Libya, Syria, Eqypt, Tunisia). But I guarantee a year after we should start a new war they will forget to publish any stories on the efforts. Its a shame, shame.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • comesatime

      My applause and thanks to your son. My son is currently active duty, as well, and returned in January from a 6 month deployment, stationed right on the border of Pakistan. Americans who are not directly connected to this war aren't necessarily aware of what our soldiers live through on a daily basis over there. It's heart wrenching.

      I agree that the Afghans need to take control of their own country and we need to get our men and women out. As Roger Waters exclaims "BRING THE BOYS BACK HOME!"

      May 11, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • Raul

      Very well said! I also believe that US must traing the Afghan police and military, but not receive the bullets. As the other guy said, freedom is earned not given. Afghanistan needs to fight for their freedom, for their right to live at peace. It's totally OK that the US and its allies help to rebuild the country, train police, train military, advise lawmakers... but stop receiveing bullets.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Jim

      I congratulate you on your great son and understand you're concern. However, having just gotten back from Afghanistan, you need to remember there AREN'T really any front lines. US units always team with Afghan units when on active operations and they work hard to have the Afghans "take point," but there are deaths on bases, deaths in towns, etc even though there are Afghans working to secure those areas. We ARE working hard to keep the Afghans in the forefront, but counter-terrorism is not a static front-line type situation.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Marine

      While I share your concern for your son in Afghanistan, I wonder about your intentions...You claim your sons helmet is made of steel....not true, you claim his body armor is lined with lead....not true, you mention his camouflage as fatigues....also not true. I served in the deadliest place on Earth in 2004-2005, the Korengal Valley, I was shot at every single day for close to 7 months, 3 times on Christmas morning. I showered once a week I ate whatever freeze dried meal was dropped off (weather dependent.) I lost 14 of the best people I've ever known. If we quit now without turning the afghan people against the taliban my 14 friends (plus the thousands more) died for what? So one man could be shot in the head? No. The Marines are fighting day in and day out, dieing before than can buy a beer, so that a country can hopefully experience what we do. Democracy, freedom, life. Your "son" is a brave man, and I wish him the best on his deployment to h3ll on earth, don't make your son's sacrifice your political podium. Semper Fi, Hoorah, and IYAAYAS

      May 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • Jal

      The future of 10 years war has already been shaped, dear sir. USA invaded Afghanistan and destroyed it without any legitimate right or reason like Viet Nam. After 10 years of death and destruction USA has reached nowhere because it has no goal. In other words, the great USA has lost another war. Thus it will be advisable for you to keep your son at home than go away on some quixotic not patriotic killing mission of some poor and humble Afghani civilian!

      May 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  3. aelarsen76

    there are many good reasons to get out of afghanistan......no good reasons to stay....
    the U.S. leaving afghanistan does nothing to diminish the sacrifices of the military and their families.....
    staying for no reason will cost more lives....those are the people we need to worry about....brave men and women that will die in a conflict that will have no end....families will be torn apart....stop the madness

    May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  4. Adrian

    I say we pull our ground forces out but keep an aircraft carrier and a small number of destroyers off the coast to moniter the cituation. That way if the Taliban gets too out of control we could bomb their bases and still keep drones in the air to hunt them.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • BadgerCB

      @Adrian... Nice effort but perhaps one should look at a World Map and understand the abilities and tactics of the Taliban. First, Afghanistan is a Land-Locked country. Even with the fantastic abilities of the US Navy, being "On Station” only and to react to any "Taliban Shenanigans" would need Boots on the Ground. Contrary to Popular belief, the abilities of the US Military are in no ways as advanced as what you see on television or the movies. War is a very intimate, in your face kind of thing. In no way am I Glorifying or Advocating the actions. The Reality is that War is a nasty, dangerous, disturbing action that can not be handled merely by looking through the eyes of an aerial drone and pushing a button similarly to a video game.

      Second, the Taliban are not a cohesive military unit; with uniforms, physical assets (Tanks, transports, even uniform weaponry), or set bases. Certainly they may have small training camps or re-supply points but in essence they are a band of semi-strong ideological/theocratic guerillas. They have tactics, but more of a "Spray and Pray" than cohesion.

      Afghanistan was not "Governed" in the Western sense from 1980-2001. It was a war amongst tribes, clans, and warlords. The International Forces there now are attempting vigorously to instill that. Nation Building is hard, especially when a country has been at War for at minimum 30 years. When the majority of the people do not have more than an elementary education at best, the concepts of governance, secular law, even basic governmental services seem foreign, even alien.

      So do I want our troops out of Afghanistan, You Bet! Do I want World Peace, Absolutely! Do I want all people to be able to sit down at a table in a cafe to have nice pleasant conversation and have a Coke®, Totally! Unfortunately, for what ever reason, be it arrogance, prejudice, or zealous self-righteousness......Sometimes people are just not going to get along with one another and violence, unfortunately, is the only way to protect and defend oneself, ones family, or ones country!

      May 11, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  5. james2

    The two main competing trains of thought in this conversation are that of nation building and that of surgical counterrerorism. Former Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, made a critical point on MSNBC the other day, that our ally, Hamid Karzai, is "corrupt and inept". Dean pointed out that it is impossible to succeed when working with a corrupt government that does not seem to not want to succeed. We have already seen that when Terry Jones decided to burn a Quran, Karzai decided to score political points by inflaming religious sensitivities rather than to preach tolerance and moderation. We also see that Afghan women are essentially relegated to the status of slaves, not because of the Taliban, but because of Afghan society itself. Indeed, Karzai has made statements recently indicating he believes women should not be allowed to hold positions of office or have equal rights. What then is the big difference between the Taliban and the Afghan government? The only plausible train of thought, therefore, is surgical counterterrorism. I think the objective of completely eliminating the Taliban wades a bit too deep into the waters of nation building. Furthermore, we have heard reports that with the death of OBL, the Taliban is beginning to distance themselves from associating with Al Qaeda. Since the values of the Talliban (with the exception of violent, radical extremism) actually reflect the values of the Afghan society, it would probably make sense to work toward brokering peace between Kabul and Taliban leaders, integrating them into the government, and letting the Afghan people determine their own political freedoms (we already see that manifest in the Arab Spring, so its not a forgone conclusion). The key to any deal is allowing more economic freedoms and civil rights to the Afghan people.

    Afghanistan is not the same war it was 10 years ago, and we should remember that the main reason for giong into Afghanistan in the first place was to go after Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Now that we have the Arab Spring as well as the death of OBL, that objective should be reaching its conclusion. If we are going to focus our efforts on counterterrorism, then it would make sense to leave some 20,000 to 30,000 troops in Afghanistan to provide valuable training and intelligence capabilities to Afghan security forces, the latter of which has proven itself to be absolutely critical in combating terrorism. Plus, America just dug up trillions of bytes worth of information from Al Qaeda and should exploit this advantage before deciding to shut the entire operation down. Regardless of how big or small America's "military footprint" is in Afghanistan, it is still of geostrategic importance because of its proximity to China and India. India is currently making efforts to use Afghanistan as a bloc against Pakistan and China. Since Pakistan is cozying toward China, it would make economic sense to not abandon Afghanistan entirely since it provides a political force for engaging with China (and India).

    Here is an interesting question America should ask itself: If China can make business deals with the Afghans in exchange for their natural resources (copper, oil, etc,) then why does it seem that the US can only come up with ideas that involve military force and selling weapons?

    May 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • RichP, easton, pa

      You would need to ask our corrupt elected clowns in DC and even then you would never get a straight answer, it would be Bushes fault, never theirs.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
      • aka47famass

        u damn right it would be bushes fault. their are trying to fix all the damages that bushes cause,who do u want them to blame?

        May 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • JShank

      Well put James 2. It is refreshing to hear someone who is educated and looks at big picture aspects of these international affairs. People do not realize the big game of "RISK" thats been at play since post WWII, and likewise seem to neglect the interests the US has (and ought to have) in securing strategic military and ideological bases throughout the world.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • vasechek

      all governments in that part of the world will be worth one another. and that's the landmine we step on when we reduce nation building to government building. basically backing one figurehead or one political or social faction making it unpopular with the rest of the population in the process. we will not have stability, democracy, civil rights, or ultimately a partner this way. And it's pointless to train and arm the military and the police if we can't trust the people that will be put in command of the military and the police. perfect example: Pakistan. their military and intelligence community is linked extensively to the very militants we are fighting against according to multiple sources and it has never been more obvious than in the past couple of weeks. the power of taliban and other such movements is that they get inside the heads at the grassroot level (did that sound right?). until we have the hearts and minds of the common people nation building will not work, no matter who we put in charge or who the locals elect or how strong their military is. we will just be creating more binladens for the next generation to deal with. i am not saying we should give up, though. the consequences will be dire if we do. i am saying we have to do this right and history is against us in this regard, so we should be very careful to avoid repeating our own mistakes.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    America faces tough challenges in Afghanistan. Of the three suggestions both the first and the second one would bring dividend in long term. Take the troops back and let a few tenthousands stay behind. It is impossible to exterminate terrorism but it is possible to contain it. However archaically romantic Afghanistan be to an outsider, religiion and the ancient culture of different ethnies hinder the country to thrive and the people to co-exist peacefully. If the country wants to catch up with the rest of the world, the Afghans have to make things happen themselves.

    May 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  7. SDIn

    Why our army is invading other countries? Is itn't against the Internal law and imoral, killing tens of thousands of civilians and even more? Worst part is, wasteing the lives of our young soldiers and money which is borrowed mostly from France & China. I don't understand it at all !!! Over 80% of the nations hate us due to this aggessiveness behavior and policing the world. Our country has the highiest debt (which makes us the most poor nation in the world). Only ~ 58% people have jobs and are actually working. My suggestion: Focus on economy, focus on education, create jobs, immediately bring our military home and pay back the loans.

    May 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • JenM

      Imagine what public schools could do with all the money spent on our military.. it's a sad day to live in America

      May 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  8. Titus

    .Several of our troops are killed by Afghan security personals, We are there for helping them but they don’t look that much trustworthy. we keep loosing our troops. we got our enemy thats why it's better to declare victory and bring back our troops home.

    May 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • LTLN

      You shouldn't blame the Afghanistan army like that; they are on our side. There are two type of Afghan people, the Taliban Afghans and the Afghans who like democratic. The Taliban Afghans are our enemy and the other Afghans are our ally. If the Taliban infiltrated into our fort and posed as Afghan soldiers then they killed our men, that doesn't mean our ally stabbed behind our back. The problem with our government is they didn't help the Afghan people properly. For example, instead of helping Afghanistan army establish 20 or 30 division so that they could be strong to fight for themselves then our troupe don't need to be there, but we help them create only 10 division to save money; however, with 10 division, the Afghan government cannot control all the territory in the country; then they have to ask for help; and our troupe or NATO have to get involved with their war. Because our government tried to save some money, we might end up spending more money later on and having more our men killed.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:25 am | Reply
  9. fed up!

    lets go and chalk it up! he's gone and head has been cut off bye bye bin laden

    May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  10. LTLN

    The key solution to solve Taliban problem is in Pakistan _ not Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is an international terrorist group, but they are very small. Taliban was the army of the former Afghanistan government; they are the real thread for the present regime in Afghanistan; and they are the people we should concentrate to find the way to eliminate them. If they are destroyed, we don't have to worry for Afghanistan anymore.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:45 am | Reply
    • shahid afridi

      that is the basic problem, we doubt the intentions, pakistan has lost 35000 civilian lives, 3000 security forces individuals, with many officers upto the rank of major general,,a war, which was not pakistan s war, pakistan has lost the most,,,the problem is in afghanistan, all the people operating in pakistan, carrying out suicide bombinngs etc are afghanis,, and thier ordnance of indian origin, with so many indian consulates operting in afghanistan...............but with an unstable neighbour in neighbourhood, u can afford to enjoy,,,,,everyone should understand this..so we as pakis ,,want peace in afghanistan and with india..

      May 11, 2011 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • GetItStraight

        Mr. Afridi, are you sure that the problem is in Afghanistan? Yes, it's true that the Taliban was and a smaller percentage still reside in Afghanistan, no doubt about that. But the real question that you, as a "Paki" may want to ask yourself is how the hell did the Taliban come to form? You sure "Paki" government or military didn't have anything to do with this? Where's that bastard Musharaf? And if Afghanistan and its people are so corrupt then why the F___K did we, the U.S., find that P.O.S. OBL in "PAKISTAN?" If "Paki's" are so peaceful then why is that there are strikes against India on innocent people? Why is it that "Paki's" are so F___K'in two faced? Not only did "Pakis" house terrorist's, (and yes I intentionally made it plural because you know there are more in Paki-land) they also have the audactiy to question U.S. on excluding the "Paki's" when we attacked OBL? If Afghanistan was the problem then why is that the Taliban and it's affilates run back to the hole where the came from......huh "Paki"?
        Listen dumbass, if you don't know S___T then keep your mouth shut retard!

        May 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
      • Arian

        Very well said, Mr. GetItStraight!

        Hey Afridi, answer this: How come the dumb army of Pakis did not know for 6 goddamn years that OBL was chilling right outside their compound?? Why is Dawood Ibrahim holding a residence in Karachi, when he has Interpol Red Corner Notice against him? Why was Ajhar Masood photographed in a rally in Lahore by press, after Talibs rescued him by hijacking Indian Airlines flight? Why all the guys from 9/11 were traced back to training camps in Pakistan? Why did David Headley confess that he was trained in Pakistan *by ISI* for Mumbai attacks 26/11 ? Why the insurgents in Kargil war were actually the Pakistani soldiers dressed in civilian clothes?

        I just hope that President Obama gets all the troops out of Afghanistan (because there is very little problem in Afghanistan) and relocates *all* of them to Pakistan, and set Pakistan straight for good, by putting a cap in every ass that has a double-face. And I hope the SEALS double-tap Musharraf just like they did to OBL.

        It's about time we Americans identify that the real problem is Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

        May 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • Adnan

        HAy Arian, Now you answer me. If Indian Army the worlds 4th biggest army still fighting after 20 years militancy in Kashmire, Manipur, Asam Naxilits and so many more to list why the hell Pakistan's small army can finish them up. You found Ajmal Kassab in bombay so does it means it is Indian fault that he was holding up in India. I dont know why you guys are too much of concern of Pakistan since your home is already burning with freedom movement and pooverty. You must need to get some lesson from that how it is progresiin with alomost the same population of yours. The most ill talented people in world are indians if not proof me wrong.

        May 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
      • Arian

        LOL Adnan, your ignorant ass cracks me up! Seriously? Is that your reply to what we are discussing here? Seriously dude? Wow, man!

        Ok, so let me answer your dumbass. India whopped Pakistan's ass in *every* war they fought. Double highlight that: **EVERY**. 1947, 1962, 1971, and 2000. (Go wiki it, if they didn't teach you that in Paki schools already). So I don't know on what grounds you are saying that Paki army is better. Come now and come whenever, Indian army will whoop Paki ass, hands down. *Guaranteed*.

        Now, Indians captured Ajmal Kasab in Mumbai, while he was bombing the city, you idiot! India was not hiding Kasab, like you Pakis were hiding OBL. And India being the democracy, Kasab is being tried in judicial system, instead of being stoned to death, like you guys do in your country.

        You say Pakistan is progessing? Wow, which News channel do you see? Al Jazeera? Because on CNN they say that Pakistan is becoming the breeding ground for terrorists, since poor youth is easily available. Poverty in Pakistan is so bad, that poor people are accepting money from ISI and Al Q for joining the terrorist activities.

        Now you answer me: What is the GDP Growth rate of Pakistan? Name 1 Paki car manufacturer? Can Pakistan launch its own Satellites? Does Pakistan is seen allover the world as a safe place to invest in businesses?

        LOL, Go do your homework, and then come talking. And stop watching Al Jazeera, idiot!

        May 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
      • GetItStraight

        LOL! Arian take it easy......I'm laughing so hard, I damn near wet my pants.

        May 12, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  11. Roy

    8 hour Kandahar operation, a complete report
    Tuesday, 10 May 2011 05:03
    An operation carried out by Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate in Kandahar city on Saturday, where various enemy military bases and centers were targeted, came to an end on Monday afternoon as per plan.

    First day

    Last Saturday at around 01:00 pm, Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate, as part of their spring offensive (Badar operation) commenced their assault on key enemy military centers in Kandahar city. Some of the main and important targets included the Governor house, Intelligence headquarters, a military base by the name of Jandarma and Municipality, which were brought under fire at the same time by Islamic Emirate’s Martyrdom Seeking Mujahideen utilizing various methods. Mujahideen also carried out controlled bomb blasts, hand grenade and armed attacks on other enemy military installations and patrols.

    These pre-emptive strikes on enemy facilities in the heart of Kandahar city were very effective as the fighting unfolded early afternoon and lasted till late night time with great ferocity. The city’s foreign and internal security forces lost morale and failed to respond to these audacious attacks. The accumulation of Mujahideen military operation for the first day included more than 112 foreign and internal security personnel killed and wounded as well as nearly 21 enemy vehicles destroyed and damaged while the enemy could only manage to prove their presence through their use of helicopters which hovered at a high altitude. Kandahar’s governor Weesa, head of intelligence General Naeem Momin, head of border police forces Abdul Razziq and other governmental officials cut off all communications and failed to address any news agencies except once, when the governor rejected a rumor of his death through a short telephone call from an underground bunker.

    Second day

    Mujahideen carried on with their attacks throughout Sunday on Municipality and the Intelligence headquarters. A hotel opposite to the intelligence headquarters was hit by enemy helicopters multiple time as it patrolled the skies all day. At afternoon time, at least 10 US-NATO invaders were killed and wounded when a Mujahid carried out a Martyrdom attack on their gathering close to the intelligence headquarters. The attack on Jandarma once again heated up on Sunday as Mujahideen attacked enemy reinforcements which arrived at the area. Like the previous day, the enemy forces in various areas like near Eidgah, Ahmad Shah Baba Darwaza, Hazratji Baba, Madad Chawk, Shkarpur Darwaza and Dand roundabout were targeted by Mujahideen through ambushes and IED attacks, the sounds of which could be heard all over the city and according to plan, the operation was brought to an end nearly 48 hours later on Monday afternoon. More than 17 security personnel were killed and wounded in Jandarma besides many vehicle destroyed during the second day of the operation.

    Details about the operation

    The nearly 2 day and night operation in Kandahar city was considered as the most spectacular and successful operation even by the local and international media. This operation took place at a time when the enemy security forces bragged about their preparedness a couple of days earlier. The mentioned operation put a dent in the face of foreign forces and their internal puppets claims and their status was brought to naught in the eyes of the world.

    Mujahideen challenged the international invading and internal forces for 48 hours and showed a spectacle to its countrymen and the world about the enemy’s feebleness and lagging morale. The citizens of Kandahar city also saw how the governor and other officials including military generals were only concerned about themselves or about fleeing. If on the one hand the enemy suffered great losses in this operation, on the other hand it proved the fallacy of the enemy claims about breaking the force of Mujahideen in Kandahar city. It must also be mentioned that the Mujahid citizens of Kandahar city were standing shoulder to shoulder with Mujahideen and employed different tactics to attack the enemy.

    As a policy of war, the enemy once again deployed their media machine and banned all free journalists on reporting the truth while at the same time lied about civilian casualties caused by Mujahideen. It should be mentioned that only governmental facilities were targeted by Mujahideen in their operation hence no civilians were harmed. The enemy also talked about civilian casualties being reported from Mirwaise hospital, which rejected these statements by contacting Alemarah website and said that they were never even reached by the government or international forces for comments.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:14 am | Reply
  12. Nitin

    Option 4 – Outsource the war to a country like India or China...the war will be a lot cheaper n american troops will be safe...

    May 11, 2011 at 6:24 am | Reply
    • Ethan

      If you don't wanna do the time, don't commit the crime. Buddy if really can't finish what you started, you shouldn't have started at the first place. Now you wanna ruin another civilization?

      May 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      Haha jokes

      May 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  13. shahid afridi

    option – 3 ..declare victory and get out,,AQ already almost finished and fight of talibans is for afghanistan, they should be included in the government of afghanistan and leave it to the people of afghanistan, whom they wana join,,,,,,thats is the best the way to implement peace, coz if the taliban will not work for people with peace, then thier present idea of recruiting people on the basis of fighting a foreign army trying to oppress them,,,will be void,,,

    May 11, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Arian

      Option no. 5: Nuke Pakistan, and thus kill all the terrorists who call Pakistan their home. (This will reduce world terrorist count by more than 95%). Give the control of Pakistan region to India, and call India the ally against war on terror. Give Afghanistan a chance to rebuild their country, but keep a close watch to prevent Talibs getting into the Govt.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  14. Muhammad Ali Farooq

    #1. Nuke All Afghanistan.
    #2. Declare Aftghisntan 52 and Pakistan 53 Sate.
    #3. Choose #1 or #2.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Ethan

      There are people who have eyes, yet they cannot see. There are people who have ears yet they cannot hear. There are people who have hearts yet they cannot understand. Such people are just like cattle.

      You are just like cattle.

      Do you know what Khorasaan is? Its called the GRAVEYARD of EMPIRES

      May 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • Arian

      Read Option No. 5 above. Chumlee.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  15. KennyG

    As long as he has Clinton to advise him, he'll do okay. But if he has to do it himself...

    May 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  16. BaseBallLover

    Every problem on the planet will be soloved right away if India gives a chance to vote on what country people of kashmir want to be part of!

    Here is what DANA ROHRABACHER said!
    REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA):
    Mr. Raman, just a note. I mean, you can come up with every excuse in the world, India is not permitting the people of Kashmir to have a vote, to determine their destiny by a vote. This will all be over if the people of Kashmir will be given the right to determine their destiny with a vote.
    All the other things you say may be true. Forty years ago, somebody stepped on somebody's toe. Twenty years ago, somebody didn't go by the rules. You know, 10 years ago, somebody gave somebody a passport who shouldn't have had a passport. The bottom line is right now we need to solve the problem, and Americans believe - and I believe Indians believe it's true as well - that people have a right to control their own destiny via the ballot box. And I would suggest that people of good faith in India and in Pakistan get together to try to find a solution to which the people of Kashmir will vote for and approve.
    My personal suggestion is, as a compromise, knowing that there are large chunks of people in Kashmir that would be part - that want to remain part of India, if you accept the idea that people have a right to determine their destiny, Kashmir need not remain a whole unit, and those parts of Kashmir that want to remain part and vote to remain part of India in the ballot box, they should remain part of India.
    But every - I have seen - I have heard no one ever deny the fact that a large proportion of the people of Kashmir are not satisfied and would vote either to be independent or be part of Pakistan.

    REP. ROHRABACHER: So then why not give them a chance to vote on what country they want to be part of?

    MR. RAMAN: There are many federations in the world - India is one example; Australia is another - which do not give a right of secession to their - (inaudible). Otherwise, there would be -
    REP. ROHRABACHER: It's not a right of secession to a state. We're talking about people's right to make their own determination. Now -
    MR. RAMAN: A group of terrorists - do a group of terrorists get hold of arms and ammunition; they get hold of mines; they get hold of explosives and they say, "We don't want -
    REP. ROHRABACHER: Okay. Well, let me just say, that attitude from -
    people who believe in democracy, people who believe in the human rights of a person to determine their own destiny will always be insulted by that, and you're going to continue to have bloodshed by people who want to maintain the same rights that other people have. And let India just provide them a vote - Where do you want to be? - which was mandated by the United Nations and which was agreed to. Let them have that vote finally and get this conflict behind us. It'll continue until that happens. And we're going to have instability; we're going to have bloodshed; we're going to have radicalization of people who should not be radicalized. And we're going to have India spending money on weapons, and Pakistan spending money on weapons that they don't need to waste for poor countries like this.
    So, I mean, I'm sorry. I know you're an honorable person, and I do respect India. I, as I say, actually have more of an attraction to the Indian people than the Pakistani people, because I think they are much more dedicated to democratic principles than the Pakistanis that I've seen. But, I know what the solution is going to be, and it's got to include a free vote. And every time you talk about it, the Indians come up with this and that and this and that, and that's why we're not going to permit it?
    REP. LEACH: The time of Jefferson Davis is expired. (Laughter.)

    http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers9%5Cpaper827.html

    May 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Clearly rather foolish to think India caving on voting for Kashmire will solve any problem. One could just as easily say that we should allow/force Afghanistan and Pakistan to both re-align - this would probably result in a smaller AFghanistan, a MUCh smaller Pakistan, and a new country "Pashtunistan" that we could simply write off as a nuclear target.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  17. Barry

    …”forty mon, or two metric tons, of opium once a month from the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak. The drugs were carried by a convoy…into Iran. Although the police in Afghanistan and Pakistan were bribed to give the convoy safe passage, the Iranian police were not….Sikander…was making $125,000 to $250,000 in profits each trip.”

    (6,900 tons of opium were being trafficked from Afghanistan in 2009)

    Source: Matthieu Aikins’s article in Harper’s Magazine (Dec., 2009)

    One can hardly deny the influence of the multi-billion dollar opium trafficking trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and, one cannot deny that the billions generated from opium trafficking in these countries has corrupted the country–including the military and government, which are a part of this cruel and violent enterprise.

    Not to mention that the money generated from opium trafficking also funds these terrorist organizations (such as al Qaeda and the Taliban); and, we haven’t yet mentioned the horrific and detrimental effects opium and its derivatives (such as heroin) have on the citizens of the world (viz., crime, violence, addiction, poverty, physical abuse, neglect, etc.).

    May 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  18. Jim

    I think we need to move from option #1 to option #2 - perhaps going from 98K this year, to 90K by the end of the year, to 50K late next year, then continuing down from there. We can't leave precipitously or the whole thing will likely collapse, but we can move steadily toward a smaller decline. Ultimately, we should be down to having 1-2 big bases there where we can exert influence as needed and influence the neighboring countries. It's possible that the Afghan government may lose control of some areas, but their control now of those areas is loose and AFghanistan has historically had portions of the country that weren't centrally controlled. Those areas can just be watched and slammed if they cause trouble.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  19. rhymeskeema

    Afghanistan: Where empires go to die.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  20. SGT Alvarado (US Army)

    I just came home from a 13 month deployment. They (Afgan people) are not ready to take control of there nation. If we leave now they will just fall back to the nation they were before. We need to stay the course and continue to train the Afgans to fight.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      Can anyone say WHEN they'll be ready? Not every country has to end up being developed, it's up to the people living in that country to WANT a significantly better life, and have the BALLS to make it happen.

      May 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  21. Rick

    The cell phone solution: One of many solutions

    The wars that don’t stop. We need to use our technological superiority to get ahead of the terrorists and insurgents. Instead of reacting to the bad guys and sitting at road blocks or walking the streets, we need to put the power to fight the terrorists and insurgents in the hands of the ordinary Iraqi or Afghan persons. To do this we need to establish a cell phone 911system , which we coordinate, and when a citizen calls for help on there cell phones, we route the response first from police and then army. But during this dispatch, American troops launch eye in the sky surveillance to survey the problem and the response. If the local response fails. We send in quick response troops(Choppers), with overwhelming superiority [to balance possible ambush] at that pinpoint location. This allows us to reposition our troops on localized striker bases, keeping our troops off of the street and out of view, except when needed. Resupply to our bases should be handled by Iraqi contractors and our own airlift capabilities. Let's stop making Americans the target that reacts to the insurgent. Instead, we will make the insurgents and terrorists the target of all LOCAL people. Give Power to The Iraqi And Afghan People. [PS WE will spike the cell system every few minuets to blow up any cell triggered IED's]And reward the cell phone ID number with cash when the tip is important.I guess we could track where the calls came from to. Would 5000 to 7000 trups do the job?

    May 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  22. Tara

    Afghanistan is a breeding ground for people like Osama. If we leave they multiply, if we stay we might eliminate some of them before they reach our shores again. Same with Pakistan, we saw what they can do without us. All those countries go unchecked and we are back where we started, vulnerable to Muslim fanatics. It's doubtful Arab Spring will make it to Pakistan, Iraq or Afghanistan any time soon. It requires intelligence and education, these countries are still in the caves trying to figure out how the world passed them by.

    May 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  23. Adam

    Spreading freedom with war is a contradiction in terms, so don't consider that a "goal". Go with choice #3.

    Wasn't the original goal to take revenge for 911, now the goal is to kill all "bad guys"/"evil doers"/"terrorists", are you seriously expecting to ever achieve that? The definition itself is so vague it's mind boggling.

    May 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  24. Marine

    I served in the deadliest place on Earth in 2004-2005, the Korengal Valley, I was shot at every single day for close to 7 months, 3 times on Christmas morning. I showered once a week I ate whatever freeze dried meal was dropped off (weather dependent.) I lost 14 of the best people I've ever known. If we quit now without turning the afghan people against the taliban my 14 friends (plus the thousands more) died for what? So one man could be shot in the head? No. The Marines are fighting day in and day out, dieing before than can buy a beer, so that a country can hopefully experience what we do. Democracy, freedom, life. Your "son" is a brave man, and I wish him the best on his deployment to h3ll on earth, don't make your son's sacrifice your political podium. Semper Fi, Hoorah and don't tread on me.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  25. chris

    option #4. just talk about afghanistan and blame the republicans. brainwashed liberals will be in lock step.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  26. Zahdio

    Why should we be invading ANY other country? Isn't this what we chastised the Soviet Union for all through the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc...? We keep invading other countries, wasting Trillions of our own hard earned dollars, continue getting tens of thousands of our kids killed and don't ask our govt WHY? Does this seem to make any sense at all??? No, only if you are a big company benefiting financially from this madness. We must stop all of this warfare now. There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.

    May 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Reply

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