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Can the military presence in Afghanistan help create democracy?

A month after the September 11th attacks, the U.S. in conjunction with the U.K. invaded Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban regime that was sympathetic to Al-Qaeda. Kabul, the country's capital, has for decades at best provided only a weak form of central government, and the country quickly descended into anarchy. This prompted the U.N. to create the International Security Assistance Force to help establish peace and security in the region, but to date they have had very limited success.

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Experts and Influencers

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Agree
Experts In Afghanistan


Beth Cole    Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
Mostly Agree
...[the] increase in Iraqi-like suicide bombings, the unprecedented rise in hostility among ordinary Afghans toward Westerners, and the expanding number of Afghans who are "on the fence" on the question of whether to support the government or the Taliban [are disturbing trends]. ... Only by injecting the country with much needed resources and building local Afghan capacity can the United States help the government in Kabul establish its legitimacy and win back support from the Afghan people.
01 Nov 2006    Source


Experts In Politics


Barack Obama    United States President
Agree
Success in Afghanistan is vital to the security of the United States, to all NATO members, and to the people of Afghanistan. NATO's leaders must therefore send an unambiguous message that every country in NATO will do whatever needs to be done to destroy terrorist networks in Afghanistan, to prevent the Taliban from returning to power, and to bring greater security and well-being to the Afghan people.
03 Mar 2008    Source


Hamid Karzai    President of Afghanistan
Agree
[Karzai said he envisions Afghanistan's government taking control of security in all 34 provinces by 2015 but foreign troops could remain for up to a decade] With regard to training and equipping the Afghan security forces, five to 10 years will be enough. With regard to sustaining them until Afghanistan is financially able to provide for our forces, the time will be extended to 10 to 15 years.
28 Jan 2010    Source


Ambiguous or Flip-Flop
Experts In Politics


Kevin Rudd    Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
Mostly Agree
Well, I wouldn't have Australian troops in Afghanistan now if I didn't believe there was a strategy which enabled us to prevail.
12 Apr 2008    Source


Kevin Rudd    Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
Mostly Disagree
...the national security establishment in Australia [is] very pessimistic about the long-term prognosis for Afghanistan. [editors note: this is the summary of what Kevin Rudd said to a group of US congressmen, in a US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks].
01 Oct 2008    Source


Disagree
Experts In Afghanistan


Mark Carleton-Smith    Ex-Commander of British forces in Afghanistan
Disagree
We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army. ... We may well leave with there still being a low but steady ebb of rural insurgency ... I don’t think we should expect that when we go there won’t be roaming bands of armed men in this part of the world. That would be unrealistic and probably incredible.
05 Oct 2008    Source


Experts In Politics


Ron Paul    U.S. Politician, Libertarian
Disagree
We went to Afghanistan to get [Bin Laden], and he hasn't been there. Now that he's killed, boy, it is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it, get the troops out of Afghanistan and end that war that hasn't helped us and hasn't helped anybody in the Middle East.
05 May 2011    Source


Experts In International Relations


Ted Carpenter    International Relations Expert
Mostly Disagree
General James Jones, President-elect Obama's choice as national-security adviser, said [that] a more "comprehensive" strategy was needed to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Part of his comprehensive approach would be to intensify the campaign against the illegal drug trade. That would be a disastrous mistake. The opium trade is such a huge part of Afghanistan's economy, that efforts to eradicate it would alienate millions of Afghans and play into the hands of the terrorists.
05 Dec 2008    Source


Neutral
Experts In Politics


The Economist    Politics and Business Magazine
Neutral
Relying on tribal structures may work best in the south-east of the country, where the tribes are comparatively stable and cohesive. In the south, however, tribal structures are weaker, warlords tend to dominate and insurgents exploit tribal rivalries. In Iraq, the Sunni tribes were vital to success; in Afghanistan, tribal rivalries may undo the best-laid plans.
18 Dec 2008    Source


Suggested Expert Quotes


Sam Harris
The prognosis on the war in Afghanistan seems increasingly dismal.


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