Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bond: U.S. Doesn't Have Winning Strategy in Afghanistan

Just back from his week-long trip to South Asia, Missouri's senior Senator Kit Bond says he sees "no comprehensive strategy" for the United States to win in Afghanistan.
"Let me be blunt – the United States is not currently implementing a winning strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have many people on the ground doing good things on their own, but there is no comprehensive strategy weaving their efforts together into a successful mission and ensuring that they operate with economies of force," said Bond in a statement.
Bond, in part, blames NATO, but adds that the U.S. needs clearly defined goals.
He's making the following recommendations:
  • President-elect Obama should appoint a new Washington-based coordinator for all efforts in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
  • Increase U.S. engagement with Pakistan and their Intelligence leaders
  • Find ways to engage local Afghan leaders, like teaching farmers how to grow a sustainable, profitable crop besides poppies. He noted the efforts of the Missouri National Guard Agriculture Development team, which is teaching Afghans skill they need to grow alternative crops.
  • Develop a strategic communication plan to win the propaganda war. Bond says during his trip he heard from Pakistani reporters convinced that a U.S. drone had executed an attack the day he was in Pakistan and assumed there must be collateral damage. According to Bond, no such attack occurred. The "story" was spread by Taliban leaders.

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