While the United States continues to make military and diplomatic progress in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has gotten unquestionably worse over the last three years. Although the diversion of resources from the conflict in Afghanistan to the front lines in Iraq have undoubtedly contributed to America's current quagmire, it is now time to formulate an improved strategy to turn Afghanistan around from the abyss. Fortunately for the United States military and members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, such a counterinsurgency plan need not require generals to limit the manpower, and equipment from an Iraq operation that is continuing to strengthen the country's democratic hopes. Recent calls for a large troop deployment to Afghanistan in the hopes of diminishing the violent Taliban insurgency may be appropriate for a short-term American success story, but such a move would be drastically counterproductive to the immense progress already accomplished with respect to Iraqi sovereignty: progress that, to this date, has helped stem the violence associated with Islamic extremism and promoted accountability of Iraq's national parliament. What the United States should focus on in Afghanistan is building trust among the Afghan citizenry, raising the levels of economic opportunity, by establishing third-party structures to make a true democratic system work. Doing so would result in the Taliban-led insurgency falling short of its ambitions. Through a re-prioritization of objectives, the U.S.- Afghanistan mission will be restored, America's overall image will benefit, and its successful developmental and reconstruction effort will put a major blow in the sides of terrorist networks throughout the Middle Eastern region.
Published in SUNY Plattsburgh's Scientia Discipulorum Journal of Undergraduate Research. Volume 4, issue 1, pages 21-34. 2009.