Stratfor just released a report that the CFR had completed it's recent assessment of Afghanistan and Pakistan and yes; I read the whole report. I stopped just short of reading the final 27 pages of notes and biographies of those who visited and then assembled the report.
Overall the report is objective but dare I say somewhat naive. As has been the problem since the very beginning of our military incursion into this region 9 years ago, the CFR, as our illustrious elected servants, manage to stay completely away from any discussion of religious ideology as a possible factor in the region's troubles. They go as far as to say that Afghanistan was at peace from 1929 - 1979, until the invasion by Russia (pg 26); daring to suggest that Russia and the US somehow fostered otherwise 'rational' people to act out in an irrational way. While what was there might pass for peace by their standards; stonings, decapitations, honor killings, rampant pedophilia, drug use, the poppy industry, slavery, general abuse of women and corruption in government are not generally accepted as the hallmarks of civil living.
The report does recognize that the mission (pg 30), while 'counter terror' in it's beginnings, has transformed into a more nation building effort and as time goes on, the line between the two blurs... Frankly, that is being exceptionally kind to the 'architects' of this debacle. The COIN effort has all but eliminated any prospect for a reduction - much less destruction, of the Taliban phenomenon. The Taliban itself has seen a growth in sister cells on both sides of the border until it appears the only thing likely to be left standing will be the true soldiers of Allah.
They quote Sec Def, in an appearance before Congress as stating the American people should 'rein in expectations' for the outcome of our very expensive efforts there, not to mention the cost in blood and should not expect a 'valhalla' (pg 31). I'm not sure if those remarks were intended to be witty, daunting or just plain realistic but the same question remains; why do we even care? If the original effort was to exact justice and to enccourage anyone (or everyone) within Islam to reconsider their goals of global jihad, why should we care if Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria et al, live or die? Why is it so complicated for these people to understand that our only legitimate concern should be for the security of the United States? If peoples from any country want to come along for that ride, then fine.
On (pg 33) we have another indication of otherwise intelligent people still having difficulty differentiating between an 'insurgency' and 'terrorism'. And again, absolutely no mention of any religious overtones. As though some form of alien malevolence suddenly crept into their sand blasted skulls and rearranged their otherwise docile DNA and caused them to 'act out'.
Those CFR members would do well to consider that men are not generally motivated to bond together for common cause without some kind of formal 'encouragement'. The Koran and, therefore, Allah has made it clear that obedient adherence requires the forced subjugation of all men in the whole world and that ritualistic murder is a very motivational tool in the effort to please Allah in this way.
There was one little piece of genuine sanity in the piece, almost an epiphany for them. On (pg 34) they acknowledged the Taliban gaining strength and momentum in light of our lackluster efforts grinding to a halt by our stubborn adherence to COIN, to stop them. They said that the counter insurgency effort was likely 'opening up space' for organizations like Al Qaeda to reassert themselves on sovereign, Afghan soil. Really? Didn't see that one coming...
Funny...Isn't that where we entered the scene, 9 years ago? Wasn't the Taliban in power in Afghanistan when we arrived? Wasn't it the Taliban that invited Al Qaeda to train on Afghan soil? Didn't we drive the sitting government (Taliban) from power; retribution for aiding Al Qaeda's efforts to deliver fuel laden aerial 'bombs' into the World Trade Towers?
So why are we now trying to coax the Taliban back into Kabul to 'share' power with the ever corrupt puppet, Harmid Karzai? Why aren't we demanding the Afghan people pay for their freedom in gold and blood? Why aren't we singularly focused on US security?
So many questions...so few intellectual 'servants' to get answers from and now; the CFR. It ain't getting better folks!