Afghanistan: the Next Vietnam?

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2009 5:49 PM CST
American soldiers cover a body of an al Qaeda or Taliban fighter who lays near an encampment that was hit by U.S. fire March 17, 2002 in eastern Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 8 more images

(Newser) – Afghanistan may not be Barack Obama's Vietnam—it may be worse, John Barry and Evan Thomas write in Newsweek. The president plans to double US troops there to 60,000, hoping Gen. David Patraeus can recreate "surge" success and train an Afghan army to stabilize the country. But many Afghans, weary of US occupation, consider America the problem, and are unwilling to start blood feuds with a Taliban well-funded by the heroin trade.

As in Vietnam, US Special Forces have failed to secure borders where supplies flow in. And like Southeast Asia, neighbors play a role: Iran may be supplying IEDs, and Pakistan prefers a weak, chaotic Afghanistan. The US could simply leave, and strike a deal with the Taliban to keep al-Qaeda out—but that could easily collapse. "Some problems do not have a solution, or any good solution," Barry and Thomas write.