From a smart dispatch by Fred Kaplan:
Pakistan is not a sideshow to Afghanistan. It is the main show, dwarfing every other problem in the region. To deal with it, we can do one of two things. We can declare war on Pakistanan option for which we lack the will, the allies, the resources, the troops, and (let's hope) the sheer suicidal idiocy. Or we can coordinate a region-wide campaign of pressures and incentivespolitical, economic, diplomatic, and militarywith as many concerned powers as possible, including, yes, the Shiite leaders of Iran, who must have less interest than even we do in seeing radical Sunni jihadists take over huge chunks, if not all, of Pakistan.
His recommendation for Afghanistan after the jump:
...unlike in Iraqwhere sectarian clashes required U.S. troops to step in (Sunnis wouldn't trust Shiite troops, and Shiites wouldn't trust Sunni troops)the Afghan army is seen as, and actually is, a national institution. Given the right resources, it could do the job.
And that leads to something that we and other countries could dopour lots and lots of money into Afghanistan, so the government can equip, train, and pay a much larger national army. (Most of the NATO allies don't want to fight in Afghanistan, for understandable reasons; but maybe they could be persuaded to help fund the fight.) Some foreign troops would still be necessary, to train, advise, and provide intelligence and air supportbut this is, and can only be, the Afghan people's fight.
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