Afghanistan will pose serious challenge for next US President: NYT

November 14th, 2007 - 8:15 am ICT by admin  
In an article by Roger Cohen published today, the daily said the war-torn country is at a tipping point and would progress, but slowly.

“He or she (the next US President) must level with the American people, in a way President Bush never has, about the real burden of an attempt to build two countries from scratch at once. That burden can no longer be borne by military families alone, however much Iraqi extrication is achieved,” Cohen writes.

Pointing out that the next president will have to fight to maintain NATO solidarity, Cohen says huge problems loom, among them is breaking the growing symbiosis between drug traffickers and the Taliban.

Other challenges are containing the rampant corruption of governors chosen by President Hamid Karzai, better integrating sometimes contradictory international efforts and limiting the degree to which Pakistan and Iran meddle.

“The insurgents go some places I cannot go,” the article quoted General Dan K. McNeill, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, as saying.

Cohen further writes that the Taliban is still substantially made in Pakistan, adding that the US efforts to get needed cooperation from its ally have floundered.

“All these problems are redoubled by the unpopularity of Bush’s America. Iran sees in Afghanistan another chance to hurt US interests. But it’s not alone. Russia likes that game these days. China is not averse. Within the alliance, the current European view of America as belligerent, simplistic and insensitive to Islam does not foster unity,” says the article.

Cohen goes on to say that President George W Bush is too much part of the problem to solve it. “But the cost of failure is unacceptable. Defeat would destroy NATO. It would further destabilize nuclear-armed Pakistan. It would propel nuke-seeking al Qaeda from its Waziristan caves.” (ANI)

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