The Long War: Afghanistan solution

Although there is a need for public pressure on policy-makers, an expansion of the war in Afghanistan will be prevented and a solution to the imbroglio eventually found by realistic members of Congress. Here is California Representative Mike Honda writing on The Hill about one effective program.
With Washington talking about U.S. troops surging in Afghanistan, and with Kabul coordinating its post-election game plan, now is the time to ensure that an alternative aid approach is front-and-center (lest it get tabled again). We know what works in reconstructing and stabilizing this fractured country. The model has spread to all 34 Afghan provinces. It is the National Solidarity Program (NSP), operated out of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. What stands in its way, however, is the lack of international political and economic wherewithal to sufficiently scale up.

The NSP has become the darling of many members of Congress in Washington. Stories of its efficacy abound: Schools built by the NSP were sheltered from Taliban torching while more expensively built schools by the U.S. Agency for International Development faced attack. Nods to the NSP — including a congressional series on Afghanistan and Pakistan sponsored by the Progressive Caucus, which I co-organized — have been circulating on Capitol Hill as part of an 80-20 campaign rooted in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy. The 80-20 strategy, stemming from the Department of Defense’s counterinsurgency manual, recommends that 80 percent of efforts be diplomatic, political and economic, with military at 20 percent. The NSP, many members of Congress think, should be an integral part of that 80 percent.
The rest of the story: Afghanistan solution by Rep. Mike Honda (The Hill 2009-10-08)

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