‘US cannot win in Afghanistan’

col-thomas-lynch.jpgPress TV |

The US-led coalition is not winning the war in Afghanistan and now is the time to make a fundamental correction, says a US serving officer.

NATO and coalition forces are “stumbling toward failure” in Afghanistan and no amount of military success against the Taliban will bring an end to the war without a fundamental change in political policy, says Col. Thomas Lynch.

In his provocative article in the latest edition of The American Interest, a Washington-based policy journal, Lynch says the US and NATO cannot win in Afghanistan without convincing both Afghans and Pakistanis that economic support and Western military are there to stay.

Lynch in his article titled “Afghan Dilemmas: Staying Power” says only a permanent NATO force – of the kind that guaranteed the security of western Europe after the Second World War – can bring about peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Lynch served as special assistant to the US ambassador to Kabul in 2004. For the past four years he was stationed with the US army in Afghanistan, Iraq and Qatar, and is now on a temporary fellowship with the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.

In an e-mail interview with Canwest News Service, Lynch also said Canadian forces should consider leaving Kandahar and take on a new “stability” mission in the less volatile areas of northern or western Afghanistan.

Lynch says Canada, like most European allies, lacks the equipment and resources – helicopters, close-air support, logistics and “economic support tools” – to take charge of the tough, counter-insurgency work required in southern Afghanistan.

He says the US “miscalculated” when it gave NATO control of the counter-insurgency mission in southern Afghanistan in 2006, thinking that peacekeeping and stability work would follow.

Instead, the Taliban insurgency flared up, forcing Canada and other NATO members into a combat role they were not expecting.

Lynch says the key to success lies in the politics of Pakistan, which has long viewed Afghanistan as a source of strategic depth against India: fear of India in the east, and fear of losing control of Afghanistan on its western frontier, have been a driving force in Pakistan since independence.

That is why Pakistan helped create the Taliban as a puppet government in Kabul – and why elements of the Pakistan government still support them, he claimed.