Why Are We Losing Afghanistan?

Miscalculated and under-emphasized the country time and again
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2007 4:24 PM CDT
Taliban representatives Mullah Qari Bashir, left, and Mawlawi Nasrullah, right, talk to the media outside the Afghan Red Crescent Society of Ghazni province, where Taliban and Korean delegations will...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Critical misjudgments and a consistent refusal to commit resources undermined what appeared to be a US triumph in routing the Taliban in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports in a detailed analysis of how the "good war" seems to have gone bad. From Donald Rumsfeld’s early rebuff of international  forces to the shift of manpower, equipment and leadership to Iraq, “it was a duct tape approach,” says a former Karzai aide.

American commanders made breathless misjudgments, the Times concludes, including underestimating the remaining forces of the Taliban and declining to pressure the Pakistani government to deal with the terrorists taking refuge there. Exacerbating the failure, the US committed less aid per capita than they had in Bosnia or even Haiti; signals in 2005 that the troop presence might evaporate left Afghans sorely distrustful of American commitment.