President Obama's plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan has so far been widely well received. According to a Reuters round-up: spokesmen from Afghanistan and Pakistan both welcome the plan as an "extraordinarily positive sign." Also, as Sam Stein reports, the plan leaves Afghani President Karzai feeling "extremely gratified." In the U.S., Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, as well as the senior Republican committee member Dick Lugar, have both expressed support for the president's plan. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi praises the plan as "wisely" focused; and speaking for NATO, James Appathurai welcomes the increased dedication of resources.
However, it is difficult to tell exactly who the Afghani and Pakistani spokesmen represent. One important group that could be missing from the laudatory chorus is the Afghan people. In a press release, film director Robert Greenwald, who has just returned from Afghanistan where he is filming a documentary on U.S. policy in the region, provides a less than sanguine report:
"I just came back from Kabul and found that in Afghanistan, troop escalation is on the top of nobody's wish list," said Greenwald. "Having seen the devastation of the conflict up close and having talked directly to numerous Afghans, I can say that a policy involving a surge of 21,000 teachers, doctors and sanitation workers would be far wiser than a policy of 21,000 more troops."
But, despite this blemish, it seems as though the widespread support for Obama's plan could go beyond just words, with EU Amabassador John Bruton suggesting on CBS that Europe may show support by contributing more troops to the effort as well. From CBS:
On CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" today, European Union Ambassador to the United States John Bruton, the Former Irish Prime Minister, said that Europe may send additional troops to Afghanistan.
"There may be some additional troops for some purposes," Bruton said. "Particularly training was mentioned by President Obama [in his speech this morning], and I've no doubt that we would be willing to provide training for the Afghan army and the Afghan police. The development of the Afghan police is very, very important."