May 2014 Web Mailbag
Re: Colonel’s Wenger’s analysis on The Afghan Situation:
I traveled in Afghanistan three times, in 2008, 2009 and 2012. First, mainly in Kabul and environs; then cross country in a mini bus from Kabul to Masur-e-sherif to Herat and places in between and finally, in the Wakhan Corridor, that tit of land more Tajikstan than Afghanistan.
And it was a different picture each time and place. Kabul more of a city-state, the country side as it had been for centuries, and the Wakhan having little but name only with the rest of the country. And these were the peaceful parts of the Country – the Wakhan certainly so.
I agree with both Wenger and Bing West (also Rory Stewart, a British MP very familiar with the country) in their analysis of the International Forces efforts to nation-change. Another reference I recommend is Cables from Kabul by Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK’s former ambassador.
I do feel badly about the Westernized residents, mostly in Kabul and maybe Herat, who came back to their homeland, full of energy and hope.
Was it coincidence that this article appeared in the same issue as Ralph Peters’ remarks about interventions without thoughtful planning for all possibilities, good and bad. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan! Been to them all and not impressed they benefited from the U.S. interest in their affairs.
I greatly enjoy your magazine and hope you continue to ask the hard questions about our military operations, past and present.
Jo Rawlins Gilbert
Palo Alto, Calif