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What Will Victory in Afghanistan Look Like?

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  • What Will Victory in Afghanistan Look Like?

    Regular readers of this column know that my central concern in the Afghan War is that, no matter what our armed forces do, the final resolution is in the hands of the Afghan government. How problematic that situation is has become clearer in the last two weeks.

    The potentially crippling problem facing the Karzai government is corruption. It is at the root of most dissatisfaction with the Kabul government out in the villages and is the basis for whatever remaining appeal the Taliban is able to exert. It also traps us in the rhetoric of our own principles. We fight in Afghanistan to promote democracy and self-determination. But what do we do when the corruption of the central government becomes so great that it subverts democracy and makes a mockery of self-determination?

    The truth is we do not know what to do.

    We can shine the sun of truth on corruption and hope the bright light destroys the disease, but so far that’s not working. Increasing popular discontent with government corruption might have led to an electoral reverse except that Karzai stacked the election panel with corrupt cronies and stole the election. When US and UN observers reported the obvious truth, Karzai’s response was to claim that the independent western officials had actually been the ones bribing election officials. Honest. International election monitors were the ones corrupting the process.

    We can bring pressure on him to clean up his own house, but when we did so, when the President of the United States did so ...




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