Outside editorial: Accord key to keeping Afghanistan stable

The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

Next year’s date is rapidly approaching for Afghan troops to take the lead role defending their country, and yet the prospects are bleak that they’ll be ready. The Afghan leadership is swimming in corruption. Popular support for this war is waning rapidly. Skeptics rightly question whether a decade of American blood and treasure has been squandered.

Granted, the war has been full of big disappointments. But they don’t outweigh the need to prevent Afghanistan from returning to its pre-9/11 state as a Taliban bastion and al-Qaida haven.

Afghanistan remains too unstable and vulnerable to fend for itself. The United States cannot simply pack its bags and walk away.

That’s why we greeted with relief the news last week that U.S. and Afghan negotiators have hammered out a long-term strategic partnership agreement that will ensure ongoing military and economic cooperation over the next decade.

From the broad outlines described by officials, the accord should assuage the biggest fear Afghans have that the United States is preparing to abandon them.

It also sends a clear message that the Taliban and their Pakistani backers are mistaken if they think the country is up for grabs as of 2014, when U.S.-dominated NATO forces are scheduled to withdraw.

A more detailed, separate security agreement — one that must spell out future training and combat-support roles for U.S. special operations forces — is still being worked out. But both governments agree that a continuing U.S. military role will be necessary.

A key measure of this accord’s significance is the swift Taliban reaction to it.

They contend that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan is to secure routes to Caspian and Central Asian oil fields, which is an odd charge to make considering that no such route has materialized after a decade of U.S. presence there.

The Taliban say this accord seeks to block formation of a true Islamic government. The United States has been clear from the start: Afghans must be free to choose their own government. The only U.S. stipulation is that leaders must never again allow Afghan territory to be used as a base for terrorists.

Taliban leaders say the accord’s goal is to bring secularism and liberalism to Afghanistan. Wrong again. The ongoing presence is intended to halt Taliban efforts to restore the rule of the gun so women can be oppressed and the harshest form of Islamic strictures can be imposed on Afghans against their will.

This accord can only work if it also succeeds in reversing the rampant corruption that has made Afghans so reluctant to defend President Hamid Karzai’s government. Too much time has been lost. Much work remains. The alternative — abandonment and failure — is not an option.

More

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

Outside Editorial: If Trump really wants to ‘drain the swamp,’ here’s his chance

Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission who resigned earlier this month, has given President Donald Trump a golden opportunity to prove he meant what he said on the campaign trail about the corrosive influence of big-money donors on elections.

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Mental health patients have rights

In the state’s ongoing effort to manage the rising costs of treating the disabled, it is the disabled who pay the price. In too many cases, there is no state standard of care for the disabled, even in regulations; when the state wants to save money, the first and easiest place is to encourage private facilities to reduce the quality of care and treatment for disabled psychiatric patients.

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Trump’s looming assault on the separation of church and state

The president’s recent spate of executive orders; the continuing debate surrounding his immigration ban; the fallout resulting from his contentious interactions with two of our most trusted allies (Australia and Mexico); and his shocking defense of Vladimir Putin, a criminal, dictator and human rights violator, succeeded in deflecting attention from his fiery pronouncement to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. What the distractions failed accomplish, however, was diminishing the importance of safeguarding the principle of the separation of church and state.

Read more
Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

Letter: Go see ‘West Side Story’

I am writing to alert the Juneau community about West Side Story, one of the best theater productions that I have seen in Juneau in over 31 years of living here.

Read more
 

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING