Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's Question: What Can We do about the looming Afghan Trap

by Norman Markowitz

The news from Afghanistan is not good, but there are few times in centuries, even millenia, when it has been. There is an article about women, young women, protesting against a new repressive law, passed by the Parliament and signed by the President, subjecting women, of the minority Shia denomination to religious law (no explanation of why this was done or any real connection of such policies with "democracy," although the article does make comparisons with the policies of the Taliban. The "law" makes it illegal for women to refuse the sexual
advances of their husbands, go to work or school without the explicit permission of their husbands, even compels women to dress and groom themselves as their husband wishes. The article does mention that the Shia minority was a special target of the Taliban regime, which has also persecuted Muslims of different denominations and all who who fail to conform to their edicts. There are also reports highlighting the failure of the U.S. military to recruit local militia, particularly from the large Pashtun group, from which

What can be done about Afghanistan? General withdrawal? Continued support for the Karzai government as an alternative or lesser of evils to the Taliban? A rejection of "nation building" for a campaign of "civil society" building? A policy of direct "linkage" of the Afghan war to all U.S. backing of Pakistan?

What are the ways out of the "Afghan trap," both for the Obama administration, the peoples of the region, and especially the peoples who make up Afghanistan?

I look forward to responses and suggestions.