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IPFS News Link • Afghanistan

The Failure of Counterinsurgency: Afghanistan

• Eland

A viable democracy is only possible if fair elections produce an acknowledged winner and a losing loyal opposition exists -- at least one loyal enough not to fatally undermine the group or groups in power. The political culture of Afghanistan has none of those prerequisites. The last Afghan election was clearly corrupt and therefore perceived as illegitimate, thus rendering it unlikely that any opposition would be loyal. Because of that failed outcome, the United States then arranged that the two electoral antagonists -- Ashraf Ghani, representing the Pashuns, and Abdullah Abdullah, representing other ethnic groups -- would share power, with Ghani becoming president and Abdullah becoming chief executive.

Yet, democratic elections are supposed to have a winner and a loser, and the winner is supposed promulgate policies and endure their critique by the loyal opposition. But as in Iraq during the Maliki period, the various factions trying to govern together in the power sharing agreement cannot agree on a new cabinet, even despite the unforgiving reality that the wheels are coming off the country's security bus. It is yet another case of politicians fiddling g while Rome burns in a faux democracy that has no genuine culture of political compromise.

A rash of Taliban suicide bombings has rattled the confidence of the Afghan capital, Kabul, while stepped up Taliban attacks in the countryside have lasted longer in the fall than usual and have disadvantaged Afghan army and police forces. Because of this emboldened rebel activity, the United States will continue to provide Afghan security forces with support from air power even after its ground combat mission allegedly ends at the end of this month.