The Endgame in Afghanistan

The New York Times, Week in Review, Sunday, March 27, 201

The Endgame in Afghanistan, by James Dao

“A reporter reflects on the experience of one American battalion and how success and failure go hand in hand.”

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan

Below are selected quotes from this article:

“With the Obama administration pledging to withdraw most American forces by 2014, starting this summer, Kunduz offers some object lessons.  Among them: the battered Taliban remain a deadly force; the militias the Americans increasingly rely upon are often as shady as the insurgents they fight:  American technology still cannot defend against some maddeningly simple weapons, mines and roadside bombs.”

“In particular, I came to view General Saidkhail (the police chief of the province killed by a suicide bomber in March) as a metaphor for the one-step-forward one step-back nature of the long American mission.”

Assessing the Surge

…”Many of the militias are controlled by strong men who traffic in drugs and weapons and pay their soldiers by taxing the locals, as the Taliban do.  Indeed, several militias in Kunduz fought alongside the Taliban before switching to the government’s side.

Can the Karzai government provide the food, clothing and salaries needed to keep those militias friendly?”

Wikipedia: In chess and chess-like games, the endgame (or end game or ending) refers to the stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board.  With President Obama pledging to pull out some troops soon and almost all by 2014, what are the pieces left?

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