Col. Dennis Young of the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College adds to the chorus of voices urging the Bush administration to divert troops, effort and financial aid to Afghanistan. He also suggests five adjustments to current ISAF and U.S. strategies:
1) Root out corruption in the Afghan government, especially in the Ministries of Interior and Justice; recruit international professionals as judicial mentors to work directly for the Afghan government; increase government wages and make them sustainable by effective taxation; and improve transparency and accountability.
2) At least double the amount of current aid for - most urgently - employment projects, skills training and education, to help alleviate unemployment and the consequent reliance on the Taliban for inspiration and jobs. This would also boost reconstruction and an Afghan sense of ownership and self-reliance.
3) Provide more troops and security forces, and halt or largely reduce the use of national caveats within ISAF. Also the 26 Provincial Reconstruction Teams need more experienced political, economic and reconstruction advisers from the U.S. government.
4) To stem the production of opium, drug lords must be punished, not just the farmers, and a sustainable alternative source of income must be found to divert the energies of the farmers. Young suggests legalizing and cultivating poppies as a medicinal export, modeled on examples of Turkey and India.
5) Draw out genuine cooperation and support from Pakistan’s government and intelligence agencies and increase the regional involvement of Iran and India, without pitting one country against another.