Time to Quit Afghanistan

Nation-building in one of the world's weakest states is a lost cause

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 1, 2009 2:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – America needs to abandon its idea of nation-building in Afghanistan before the lives of yet more troops are squandered trying to establish an effective central government in a country that has never had one, George F. Will warns in the Washington Post. Even with America's troop-intensive efforts, experts say Kabul only controls a third of the country, and many Afghans find the government so corrupt that they openly wish for the return of the warlords, he notes.

Effectively protecting the population from insurgents would require an "inconceivable" commitment of hundreds of thousands of coalition troops for at least another decade, Will writes. Efforts to bring peace through development are a mere pipe dream in a country that has a  Gross Domestic Product equivalent to that of Boise, Idaho, he notes. America should withdraw its troops, do what needs to be done in Afghanistan using drones and special forces based offshore, and focus on Pakistan, "a country that actually matters," Will concludes.

Members of the 3rd platoon Apache Company 2-87 Infantry wait for a helicopter to take them to the funeral of a fallen comrade in Afghanistan last month.   (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)
A torn and defaced election billboard of Afghan President Hamid Karzai marks a road in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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