Wednesday, 27 January 2021
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council for Foreign Relations

Max Boot, Los Angeles Times wrote:

President Obama and his aides continue to impress with their handling of Afghanistan. Not only have they approved a major troop increase and a de facto commitment to nation-building, but now they have shifted personnel to make the most effective use of the added resources and turn around a failing war effort.

The big news is that Army Gen. David D. McKiernan is out after just 11 months as the top commander. He will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Just as important, if less heralded, is the decision to appoint Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who had previously served in Afghanistan as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, as the second-ranking commander. His role will be vital: to help the overstretched NATO staff pull together its disjointed war effort.

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by Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia - Council on Foreign Relations

Recommendation: Shift from AfPak to PakAf.

The Obama administration should recalibrate its strategy to emphasize the priority of the mission in Pakistan and to prepare domestic and international audiences for expanded, sustained U.S. engagement in South Asia. The present approach—professing narrow counter terror goals while seeking expanded state-building resources in Afghanistan and Pakistan—may be a politically astute means to garner early support, but runs the risk of confusing the American public (as well as U.S. allies and adversaries) down the road about Washington's true intentions. That confusion is likely to make a costly commitment to the region harder to justify and sustain over the long run.

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