Obama and his advisors have the primary task to define and assert the American national interest. Afghanistan is not the place. What have we gained after more than 12 years?
From the point of view of the interests of the majority of Americans, it's win-win for Karzai to stand tall. If Washington calls his bluff, U.S. troops come home and we win. If Washington caves to Karzai's demands, the peace talks start and the war starts to wind down.
Americans have been fighting in Afghanistan for longer than the Civil War, World War I, and World War II combined. America has overstayed its welcome. It's time to go home.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent volte-face on the U.S. security pact seems like yet another manifestation of a chemical imbalance. However, men...
Karzai's insistence that all U.S. raids on Afghan homes by such residual forces be stopped shows that Obama has simply redefined the word 'combat.' Counterterrorism missions do involve extreme danger and shooting people.
Many publications have advice columnists, but none has our old friend Colonel Manners (ret.), whose experience in military and surveillance matters is evident from his impressive CV (unfortunately, a classified document).
Complexities start multiplying for the United States ahead of withdrawal from Afghanistan, as on one side the situation is far from favorable for Washington in Kabul while on the other relatively safe NATO supply routes from Pakistan may face a closure.
It is very doubtful that the remnants of the anti-war movement have the steam or energy to force Obama into a rapid and total withdrawal, especially because few if any American soldiers are likely to die in the next couple of years.
I sit in the audience wishing Karzai would outline his country's path to peace. I think about the women and girls who will likely become caught in the crossfire of a conciliatory peace made to appease. I sit and picture a scene of deep peace, true peace, peace defined through stillness.
Humanitarian crises, sectarian clashes, and terrorism in Afghanistan will inevitably impact Iran. The Iranian government holds no illusions about Afghanistan's myriad of problems, nor is there any expectation that these will soon be resolved.
Building an equal relationship with Pakistan and Iran must be Afghanistan's top regional political strategy until there is visible, serious and honest commitment in support of peace efforts and lasting stability.
What's needed is an inclusive, political settlement -- with all stakeholders included -- that ends the fighting and stops the region from meddling, something we missed the mark on years ago. Until we do that, any Afghan security deal will remain elusive.
Immunity for U.S. troops post-2014 isn't going to happen. It's a political non-starter. No Afghan presidential candidate, queuing for the April 2014 elections, can support it, nor do the Afghan people want immunity for foreign troops.
What seemed inconceivable a decade ago -- the integration of the Taliban into Afghanistan's post-9/11 political process -- appears not only possible today, but probable.
The peace conference has been fraught with communication and more importantly structural misunderstanding on the part of both Taliban and U.S. negotiating teams which has caused rupture in the peace negotiating process.
The end game in Afghanistan becomes increasingly tortuous, so the world waits with bated breath on who is going to be Pakistan's next army chief.