The Mission in Afghanistan

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fred Kaplan, columnist at, and Bobby Ghosh, senior editor at Time, discuss General McChrystal's assessment of the war in Afghanistan and the effort to combat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda there.


Bobby Ghosh and Fred Kaplan

Comments [21]

Peter from Sunset Park

Well, I see two big facts. The Taliban gets a lot of money. Obama is president. Obama is responsible for working with other countries to cut off the money getting to the Taliban. At this point, it seems like countries are moving away from working with Obama and the United States. Obama needs to do much better. Obama is president, time for him to step up.

Sep. 22 2009 05:23 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Yes Peter,
that's good old imperialist opinion not facts.

Sep. 22 2009 02:51 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


Taliban money also comes from:

5. President Obama not doing enough to stop it.

Sep. 22 2009 12:14 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Jan from Massachusetts,

Taliban Money comes from :
1. The global heroin trade- lot of poppies farmers in Afghanistan. The only way farmers can feed their families.

2. Extortion and rackets of international aide funds.

3. Including kidnappings and weapons and other smuggling.

4. And funding from private wealthy donors in the Persian Gulf.

Check out Leonard Lopates interview: of Rory Stewart

Sep. 22 2009 12:08 PM
Jan from Massachusetts

Thanks, I understand the history, but the question is, who is funding the Taliban now??

Sep. 22 2009 10:58 AM
hjs from 11211

ivan 9
the taliban came after the soviet war, the taliban came after we abandoned afganistan the first time

Sep. 22 2009 10:54 AM
Jan from Massachusetts

Who is funding the Taliban??

Sep. 22 2009 10:52 AM
hjs from 11211

graham gets it! too bad he didn't get it before 01/20/2009. now he just seems political

Sep. 22 2009 10:49 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Overwhelming force does not win wars. It may win a battle. Didn't we learn this in Vietnam? Didn't learn that corrupt governments are more responsible for the insurgencies that they face and we face for that matter?

Sep. 22 2009 10:48 AM
Vince from brooklyn

Lindsey Graham is just now learning that equipment, fire power, etc. doesn't win wars?

Sep. 22 2009 10:46 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

I thought the warlords were the corruption? Good morning Vietnam.

Sep. 22 2009 10:44 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Obama doesn't seem to be discussing forming or strengthening an international coalition for his war of choice. I wonder why.

Sep. 22 2009 10:43 AM
ivan from nyc


Sep. 22 2009 10:43 AM
Norman from Manhattan

We have to pay off as many warlords as necessary to eliminate corruption.

Sep. 22 2009 10:42 AM
charles harris from island heights nj

the point of the afghanistan war is to prevent al qaida from gaining control of the pakistani nuclear arsenal

Sep. 22 2009 10:39 AM
charles harris from island heights nj

The point of the Afghanistan war is to prevent Al Qaida and ilk from gaining control of Pakistan nuclear arsenal

Sep. 22 2009 10:36 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

The enduring delusion of American foreign policy makers is that they believe all conflicts have a military solution. A military solution that imposes order on societies.

What seems to be not understood by policy makers is that in Afghanistan a military solution is impossible. More soldiers on the ground will not beat back Talibanism.
A political resolution needs to be reach quickly in Afghanistan between all ethnic groups specifically the Pashtuns who have been left out of the political process. Without it the West-US- will see the Taliban movement turn into a war of national liberation against western invaders and occupiers.
The consequence of more militarization will pull all of post Soviet Central Asian States into the conflict. The west could also find itself confronting Russia and China. American policy makers need to stop being myopic about global terrorism and Jehadis and see the larger picture.

The larger picture being that global Jehadis are a criminal cult which will burn it self out. That global
Police actions may bring better result then western armies rampaging through out Asia.

The actions of western armies will not only lead to more generational hate toward the West but also the on going creation of Jehadi cults financed by the global narcotic trade which will washes up in the street of New York, London, Paris.

Sep. 22 2009 10:12 AM
hjs from 11211

my first point is can't we fight the taliban with special forces, drones and a lighter foot print?
the lesson I learned from afghanistan is this: in the 80's the citizens of the USA used the afghans to fight a proxy war with the soviets (as part of the cold war). after that war we walked away, making no attempt to rebuild a country we helped to destroy, leaving afghanistan a basket case. 11 years later we paid the price for that failed state with 4000 lives. we can't just walk away and think it's not our problem. every failed state is a threat

peter good points thanks

Martin and we trust the word of the taliban?

Sep. 22 2009 09:47 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from manhattan

BRIAN - Ask if there is any chance that the Taliban would agree to deny Al Queda a sanctuary for future operations. If they will....then there is no reason to stay.

Sep. 22 2009 09:15 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Military commentators, including Daniel Ellsberg (who released the Pentagon Papers), have said that for troops to win a military victory in Afghanistan, the United States would need to send in additional forces of perhaps several hundred thousand soldiers, not the 20-45 thousand soldiers President Obama seems poised to send. In other words, American forces in Afghanistan would need to be disproportionally higher then the combined Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.

Why is President Obama considering a force size, that by many accounts, is a recipe for losing?

The United States, under the leadership of President Obama, would need to use disproportionate force to win President Obama’s war of choice in Afghanistan. If President Obama used disproportionate force, would this be moral?

Sep. 22 2009 08:53 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

On the radio show On Point with Tom Ashbrook, it was announced on the September 21 show that it is almost certain that Nato troops, including Canadian, British and German troops, will be pulling out of Afghanistan at the same time that the United States is planning on increasing troop levels there. This was reported as an erosion of international support for war in Afghanistan. Please ask Mr. Kaplan why President Obama is loosing international support for his war plans. It feels like President Obama is going in alone.

Also, in recent weeks, Mr. Kaplan’s colleagues at the Slate Political Gabfest have suggested that Afghanistan could be President Obama’s Vietnam. Does Mr. Kaplan agree?

Sep. 22 2009 08:25 AM

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