Nuclear Issues

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An Afghan man sits by torn and defaced election posters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2010. Afghanistan's president has taken control of a formerly independent body that monitors election fraud, snarling U.S. efforts to erode Taliban support.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

The American Syndrome: Seeing the World as We Like It

| March 10, 2010

...[I]n Afghanistan, the American vision is that of a "bottom up" approach in a negotiation with the overwhelmingly Pashtun Taliban, not a "top down" one. In other words, coaxing away low-level Taliban fighters and their commanders ("reintegration"), rather than changing the government setup at Kabul by letting Taliban leaders become members of the government ("reconciliation"). Though reintegration may have some initial success, spurred on by money and jobs, it is unlikely to be permanent, given the Afghans' long history of changing sides. But also because those fighting against the US-backed government appeal to much more than money. They have successfully mobilized nationalist and islamist sentiment among the Pashtuns, which is hard for a perceived-corrupt government to combat through financial incentives.