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Taking issue with the Afghanistan Study Group report.


Via Andrew Sullivan, Joshua Foust joins the chorus crying foul on the Afghanistan Study Group report. I haven't finished reading the report yet, but many of the concerns Foust raises strike me as valid, so his take-down is well worth a look. This bit, though, I'm not so sure about:

[T]he best way to ensure Afghanistan does not fall into chaos is to leave the country as stable as possible. Reducing it to a Special Forces and Drone targetting range, which the group recommends, is just as unsustainable in the long run as the current counterinsurgency effort. Maintaining an active drone program to preemptively bomb any new al Qaeda camps that might spring up will be difficult if not impossible without a massive human intelligence network to support itâ??and that HUMINT network cannot be maintained without a significant U.S. military and intelligence presence in the country (which is difficult to do if 80% of the force is withdrawn over the next 18 months, as ASG suggest).

By all accounts, the U.S. is running a fairly aggressive drone campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan without anywhere near the same number of troops on the ground that we currently have in Afghanistan. If we don't need 100,000-plus coalition troops inside Pakistan to wage an effective drone war against al-Qaeda there, why do we need them in Afghanistan?

(AP Photo)