Afghanistan Is a 'Theme Park of Problems'

Obama has his work cut out for him
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2008 8:34 AM CST
Canadian soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force patrol in the street in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.    (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – Winning in Afghanistan won’t be nearly as easy as Barack Obama hopes, military experts tell the New York Times. The president-elect has staked his national security reputation on Afghanistan, but the rural nature of the insurgency there will make it difficult to stamp out. “Afghanistan may be the ‘good war,’” said a former Condoleezza Rice adviser, “but it is also the harder war.”

Obama has pledged to send in two more brigades, but don’t expect a surge-like turnaround. In Iraq, surge troops could focus on Baghdad, while teaming up with Sunni fighters and a 300,000-strong Iraqi army. In Afghanistan, there’s no central battlefield, the army is just 70,000 strong, and the populace has no experience being centrally governed. “Afghanistan is not Iraq,” said a former Afghan interior minister. “It is the theme park of problems.”