Security from the Bottom Up

commentary

Oct 7, 2011

U.S. soldiers and Afghan police officers talk with Afghan citizens at Checkpoint 64 near Loy Karez in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, November 2, 2011, photo by Spc. Louis Kernisan/U.S. Army

U.S. soldiers and Afghan police officers talk with Afghan citizens at Checkpoint 64 near Loy Karez in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, November 2, 2011

Photo by Spc. Louis Kernisan/U.S. Army

This commentary originally appeared on TIME on October 7, 2011.

With the 2014 transition looming, some U.S. policymakers have developed lofty expectations that the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police can defeat the Taliban on their own. The stark reality is that Afghan national-security forces have never been capable of stabilizing the country by themselves.

Afghanistan is not a Western country. Security has always required a delicate balance between the central government and tribes, subtribes and clans....

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at time.com, as part of a TIME feature "Afghanistan: Endgame in the Graveyard of Empires."


Seth G. Jones, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, is the author of In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan.

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