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Outside View: Paralysis in Afpak
In Afghanistan, the United States and its allies have dealt the cards and made their bets lying as if in suspended animation while events on the ground unfold.
Given the Obama administration's ambiguous statements over next year's force reductions, taken as a lack of U.S. commitment in Kabul and Islamabad, last week's announcement of a delay in starting Kandahar operations wasn't welcomed news. Nor were reports of further failure by the Karzai government to provide "government in a box" as well to recruit and train its security forces reassuring.
The remaining 15,000 U.S. troop buildup has yet to arrive. The Obama administration has stated that it will complete its next Afghan assessment in December after the mid-term congressional elections.
We are watching, waiting and running out of time there.
The Obama administration understands that success in Afghanistan requires success in Pakistan in part to deprive Taliban of any sanctuary. Put in starker terms, Pakistan is seen as the strategic center of gravity for the region. Implied is the expectation that if all doesn't go well in Afghanistan, Pakistan is the barrier to the spread of Taliban extremism and a cap on al-Qaida. Read more.