The Way Forward in Afghanistan

Jeremy Shapiro spoke with Spiegel Online about how to move forward in Afghanistan and why a troop surge may not be the answer.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: US President Barack Obama just announced his intention to send 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. Is this enough to turn the situation around?

Jeremy Shapiro: In my view, there are four key problems in the country: The situation at the border with Pakistan where insurgent fighters find sanctuary, a deficit of international civilian assistance and inadequate coordination of what does exist, the shortcomings of the Afghan government, and the corrupting influence of narcotics. Clearly sending more troops will improve security in some local areas, but unless there is a plan to deal with these issues, more troops will only perpetuate the military stalemate in Afghanistan at higher levels of violence.

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