Don't Believe the Hype: Afghanistan's Fixable

US position in the country far different from previous foreign powers'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2009 9:58 AM CDT
US soldiers patrol near the site of an explosion in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – We hear plenty of doom and gloom about Afghanistan, the so-called “graveyard of empires” that defeated the Brits way back when and kicked out the Soviets in 1989. But the naysayers are forgetting all that’s working in favor of the US, writes Peter Bergen in the New York Times. The simplistic comparisons overlook that the US position today is very different from the Soviets’ decades ago.

The Soviets, facing a much larger and better-funded opposition, killed more than a million Afghans and drove far more from their homes. That’s no comparison to the hundreds of civilian deaths yearly at US hands. Most Afghans have a positive view of the US, and 58% called the Taliban the biggest threat to their country last month. If the US improves Afghanistan’s own security forces, the country “just might become the model of a somewhat stable Central Asian state.”