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Optimism in Afghanistan is unwarranted


Max Boot says the president shouldn't listen to the "counsel of despair" coming from weak-willed elites. What I would like to know is how Boot and other proponents of staying the course in Afghanistan care to address this:

General Ashfaq Kiyani, Pakistan's army chief, has launched a diplomatic offensive to persuade the United States, Britain and President Karzai to back the deal which would offer government posts to Taliban leaders prepared to renounce al-Qaeda.

It amounts to a direct challenge to Nato's current strategy to intensify the war against the Taliban-led insurgency in the hope of persuading its "reconcilable elements" to negotiate a peace.

Under General Kiyani's plan however, the insurgency's most feared faction, the "Haqqani Network" could play a role in a new 'broad-based government'.

Boot suggests that the Taliban will be more amenable to peace talks if Petraeus is given more time to bloody them and stabilize Afghanistan. But if Pakistan is sheltering and in some sense directing the insurgency, how can that plan possibly work? Giving Petreaus "more time" isn't suddenly going to change the geopolitics of the dispute or Pakistan's motivations for using Afghanistan as strategic depth against India.

(AP Photo)