After 10 years in Afghanistan, military and civilian leaders insist that Afghanistan must defend and govern itself, and yet they admit that the Afghan army and police will be ill prepared to take over by 2014 when combat forces withdraw.
Malou Innocent | All Articles
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Malou Innocent is a Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute. She is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and her primary research interests include Middle East and Persian Gulf security issues and U.S. foreign policy toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China. She has appeared as a guest analyst on CNN, BBC News, Fox News Channel, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, CNBC Asia, and Reuters. Innocent has published reviews and articles on national security and international affairs in journals such as Survival, Congressional Quarterly, and Harvard International Review. She has also written for Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal Asia, Christian Science Monitor, Armed Forces Journal, the Guardian, Huffington Post, the Washington Times, and other outlets both in the United States and overseas. She earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
In an operation 35 miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, U.S. Navy SEALs killed Saudi terrorist financier Osama bin Laden. This victory is a testament to the tireless efforts of our brave men and women in uniform. Their momentous achievement shows why when it comes to capturing and killing terrorists, targeted counterterrorism measures often prove more effective than expansive counterinsurgency campaigns.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday about the ongoing unrest in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted “no option is off the table.” In other words, American military intervention is very much still possible. Like most Americans, I too want to see the Libyan people’s suffering alleviated. The systematic brutalization that characterizes Muammar Gaddafi's rule, such as ordering his military to search every house and hunt down protesters like “rats” and “cockroaches,” is abhorrent. Our desire to assist, however, should be matched with practical assessments of what methods are most effective.
To most people who follow developments in Afghanistan, it was clear that building a viable Afghan state would take more troops, more money, and more patience than the United States and its international partners could ever commit. These long-standing reservations were only intensified last November, when U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans for a 30,000-troop surge that would not only pacify population centers and train Afghan security forces, but also begin to wind down by July 2011—within 18 months of escalation.
In an unannounced visit to Afghanistan this past weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Afghan authorities to rein in corruption and enforce the rule of law. “All of these things,” said President Obama, “end up resulting in an Afghanistan that is more prosperous and more secure.”