Afghanistan: So full of promise a few short years ago, so precariously perched today. NATO’s commander in Afghanistan, British Gen. David Richards warns that the country is at a tipping point where up to 70 percent of Afghans could choose life under the Taliban over five more years of fighting.
For a while, Afghanistan was the good news. After the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, stability — and hope — spread to large parts of the country. Progress is not victory, it’s true, but NATO’s new fight is all the more critical because of what was achieved in the wake of the U.S. campaign.
Greg Mills and Terry McNamee have written an excellent article that sets out the perils ahead for the NATO campaign and what must be done to bring about the long-term stability that will truly spell “victory” for Afghanistan. Their perspective is grounded in firsthand knowledge of the Afghan dilemma. Greg heads the Brenthurst Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was, from May through September, a special adviser to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. Terry, who is director of publications at the highly respected Royal United Services Institute in London, has been researching with ISAF in Afghanistan.
It’s also a pleasure for AFJ to welcome back acclaimed historian Max Boot. A year ago he found time to write for the Journal on the Three Block War despite being in the final stages of completing his new book “War Made New.” The book, published this fall, is reviewed here by regular contributor Frank Hoffman. An exclusive excerpt on the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan rounds out our cover package and reminds us why there was, and still is, cause for optimism.
Sean D. Naylor brought his own experience in Afghanistan vividly to the page in his book “Not a Good Day to Die,” the story behind Operation Anaconda. In this issue of AFJ, he analyzes the feasibility and wisdom of plans to expand Army special operations forces. Unearthing anything related to Special Forces is never easy, but few are better placed for the task than Sean.
The November elections feature front and back of the magazine. In his regular Inside the Beltway column, Bill Matthews ponders what Democratic gains might mean to the military. And Blogs of War columnist Chris Griffin takes us inside the mind of the military blogger to see what he thinks of that prospect.