Is this the beginning of the end of US military intervention in Afghanistan? US president Barack Obama has announced an exit strategy for Afghanistan will be unveiled soon, and he has repeated there is no military solution to the country’s problems.
Violence is increasing as the August elections approach, and 17,000 extra soldiers are on their way, but President Obama says the alliance is not winning the war, and a policy review must include more economic development. He also says what would have been unthinkable only six months ago; that dialogue with the Taliban has to begin. The policy review will also take in Pakistani and Indian interests, and is going to require skilful diplomatic juggling. Analysts say such a road ahead is strewn with problems, but that the priority remains ensuring no nation again becomes a safe haven for terrorists planning attacks on the US. Afghan President Hamid Karzai admits civilian casualties, of which he says there were five more on Sunday, are damaging his chances of re-election, and turning the population against his government and US and allied forces. But they are also planning to install a powerful prime minister in Kabul after disillusionment with Karzai’s efforts to fight corruption.