Hillary Clinton; HARD CHOICES: Book Analysis. Chapter 7. AF-PAK: SURGE; Hillary Leaves On Feb.1,2013 Before AFGHAN Story Plays Out.
ONE OF MANY KABUL MANSIONS BUILT BEFORE 2009.
Corruption pervasive before and after the surge.
This is another “hard choice”. I don’t know if Hillary actually made the choice but she surely participated in it. It was three days before Thanksgiving 2009 and President Obama was in the White House with his advisors asking for their thoughts on sending more troops to Afghanistan. The President had campaigned on bringing troops home from the Middle-East and here he was faced with a decision to send troops to Afghanistan because the coalition forces were losing ground to the Taliban.
The Taliban was operating from safe havens in Pakistan our supposed ally in the region.
The plan was to introduce “thirty thousand U.S. soldiers and ten thousand coalition troops to secure the cities, bolster the government and deliver services to the people rather than waging a war of attrition.”
At the time General Stanley McChrystal was in command of the forces in Afghanistan and General David Petraeus was in Command of all the troops in the Mid-East. Petraeus had been successful in breaking the insurgency in Iraq with a surge but with this caveat: he was able to convince the Sunni tribal leaders to join the U.S in supporting the surge. The Al Queda aligned force and others in the insurgency forces were broken and scattered.( They later turned up in Syria and are now calling themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
However at this time we had defeated Al Queda in Afghanistan and were looking for ways to bring the Taliban , the principle force that we were fighting, to the negotiating table. The long range plan was to train the Afghan Army to secure the country and leave after establishing the seeds of democracy.
Both Petraeus and McChystal were experts on fighting insurgencies and were of the opinion that there could not be effective military progress without political progress.
To the end of making political progress the resources of the State Department would be relied on to deliver the diplomatic, aid and community services to break the Taliban’s hold on the country. Clear, Hold and Build was the catch phrase.
In the end President Obama approved the plan and C, H and B went forward. Richard Holbrooke, a career diplomat who had negotiated the Dayton Accords which brought peace to the Balkans, was appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He assembled a team to build an infrastructure in Afghanistan so the people would know that they had an alternative to the Taliban and we were not just there as conquerors as so many had been before. Holbrooke died but his team was in place and the plan of reducing corruption and economic development continued.
Hillary says that “Over the next year we would triple the number of diplomats and development experts and other civilian experts on the ground in Afghanistan, expanding our presence out in the field. By the time I left State (2/1/2013), the Afghans had made progress. Economic growth was up and opium production down. Infant mortality declined by 22 per cent. Under the Taliban only 900,000 boys and no girls had been enrolled in schools.
By 2010 7.1 million students were enrolled and 40% of them were girls. Afghan women received more than 100,000 small personal loans that allowed them to start businesses and enter the formal economy. Hundreds of farmers were trained and equipped with new seeds and techniques.”
This all may be true but tales of massive corruption in Afghanistan can be found here; http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/corruption-afghanistan-wikileaks
Wonder where all those small personal loans went as well as the massive infusion of economic aid. Also the Taliban are still a force to be reckoned with. Disclaimer: the mansion depicted was built before President Obama took office. Also article at http://cursor.org/stories/emptyspace2.html was written before Obama or Hillary took office. However it shows the pervasive corruption they were faced with in trying to turn things around in Afghanistan.