One of the general's historical models is Colombia, where a few years ago many people believed the government couldn't stand up to the narco-terrorist FARC insurgency. "What was the problem of Colombia in the late '90s? It was political will to take [the FARC] on," he says, adding that U.S. counternarcotics and other efforts helped lay the groundwork that Álvaro Uribe built on after winning Colombia's presidency in 2002.More at that top link (via Ahmad Majidyar on Twitter).
We could see such an outcome again, says Gen. McMaster, especially given "the innate weakness of Afghanistan's enemies."
"What do the Taliban have to offer the Afghan people?" he asks. They are "a criminal organization, criminal because they engage in mass murder of innocent people, and criminal because they're also the largest narcotics-trafficking organization in the world. Are these virtuous religious people? No, these are murderous, nihilistic, irreligious people who we're fighting—we along with Afghans who are determined to not allow them to return."
Taliban groups, he adds, are increasingly seen by Afghans "as a tool of hostile foreign intelligence agencies. These are people who live in comfort in Pakistan and send their children to private schools while they destroy schools in Afghanistan." He notes, too, that indigenous Afghan fighters are wondering where their leadership is: "One of the maxims of military leadership is that you share the hardships of your troops, you lead from the front. Well they're leading from comfortable villas in Pakistan. So there's growing resentment, and this could be an opportunity to convince key communities inside of Afghanistan into joining the political process."
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
It's the weekend interview, at the Wall Street Journal, "H.R. McMaster: The Warrior's-Eye View of Afghanistan":