Why has security gotten worse? Largely because Hamid Karzai’s government is ineffective and corrupt and has alienated large numbers of Pashtuns, who have migrated to the Taliban. It is not clear that this problem can be solved by force, even using a smart counterinsurgency strategy. In fact, more troops injected into the current climate could provoke an anti-government or nationalist backlash (…)
And when we think through our strategy in Afghanistan, let’s please remember that there is virtually no al-Qaeda presence there. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently acknowledged what U.S. intelligence and all independent observers have long said: Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan, as is the leadership of the hard-core Afghan Taliban. (That’s why it’s called the Quetta Shura, Quetta being a Pakistani city.) All attacks against Western targets that have emanated from the region in the past eight years have come from Pakistan, not from Afghanistan. Even the most recently foiled plot in the United States, which involved the first Afghan that I know of to be implicated in global terrorism, originated in Pakistan. Yet we spend $30 in Afghanistan for every dollar in Pakistan (…)"