This is an excellent analysis of the situation that Petraeus confronts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The original article at Japan Focus includes hyperlinks to all of the quoted material, as well as photographs and annotated maps of the region. The author, China Hand, runs the China Matters blog.
All parties agreed that the only solution to Afghanistan's conflict is through dialogue, not fighting.
It appears that the key job before General Petraeus will be to co-opt the regional impetus toward a negotiated settlement, prevent Saudi Arabia from mid-wifing a power-sharing arrangement favorable to the Taliban, assert American control and direction over the process to assure America's continued presence at the center of Afghan's security equation, and spike the loose cannons that threaten his plan.
First, from 1973:
The Art of Fighting Without Fighting
Now, some selections from the archive.
Steve Coll, from 2004:
If at first you don't succeed, at least learn from your mistakes.
Google's Eric Schmidt:
Failure is an essential part of the process.
NYT's Eric Schmitt, from May 2006:
"I'm more concerned in the long term about the results of the drug war in Afghanistan than I am about resurgent Taliban," said the NATO military commander. The government and its NATO allies have not lost the people yet, officials say. But it is getting close to that.
Carlotta Gall, reporting after the late 2006 peace deal:
Javed Iqbal, the newly appointed Pakistani secretary of the tribal areas, defended the North Waziristan accord:
"We have tried the coercive tactic, we did not achieve much. So what do you do? Engage."
Steve Coll, reporting shortly after Bhutto's death (also, audio):
I asked if the local Taliban played favorites at election time. “The Taliban have no part in politics,” Paracha answered emphatically. “They are totally against democracy and the ballot. They will decide everything under the Holy Koran or with the bullet.”
General Rashid Qureshi, Musharraf’s spokesman, said the notion that Pakistan might support the Taliban was “a ridiculous argument, really. We have lost over a tho... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]