Is Obama’s Afghanistan troop strategy viable?

Is Obama’s Afghanistan troop strategy viable?

On Tuesday evening, US President Barack Obama will finally announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan. After months of deliberation, the president is expected to announce an escalation of US presence across the Durand Line by more than 30,000 troops. This represents a 50 per cent increase over the 68,000 troops already fighting in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the US Military Academy at West Point, Obama will emphasise that the goal of the troop surge is to stabilise Afghanistan and help build and train the country’s military and police forces.

In the US, and especially within the Democratic party, there are many critics of Obama’s decision. They say that the war has become too costly – it costs US$ 1 million, per soldier, per year – that military casualties are increasing, and that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is too marred by accusations of corruption to prove a viable ally against the Taliban.

A recent poll by USA Today/Gallup shows that 57 per cent of Democrats favour beginning a withdrawal from Afghanistan, while 72 per cent of Republicans back the troop increase.

What do you think of Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan? Do you think a bolstered US presence will help win the war against terrorism? How will this decision impact the political and security situation in Pakistan?

The following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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171 Responses to “Is Obama’s Afghanistan troop strategy viable?”

  1. President Obama has taken the right steps under the current situation to stabilize Afghanistan. America has sacrificed enough lives and resources in its efforts to save Afghans from the Talibans. We all hope that Afghans will soon be able to take charge of their own affairs in a democratic way. We all wish for peace and progress in Afghanistan!!! Americans deserve gratitude for their sacrifices in support of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  2. JK says:


    Present dilemma is deeply rooted in poverty per Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs!

  3. Mustafa says:

    @ JK

    No sane person will accept your theory that the creators and trainers of suicide bombers and the suicide bombers themselves are from the community of poor beggars (Faqeer) hungry for food. I consider this as an insult to the poor beggar community. They will never stoop to killing innocent men, women and children in mosques, market places and schools. A starving person will use all available money to buy food, not to buy materials to make bomb.

  4. JK says:

    Rkay says: January 4th, 2010 at 2:47 am But the goal is not to eradicate poverty. The goal is to eliminate terrorist threat to US. You misread the goals.

    What is the impetus for terrorism? What is the root cause? When humans do not have food in their stomach. They can do anything for a meager price.

  5. Mustafa says:

    @ RKAY

    I agree with you the goal of President Obama is to eliminate militants and terrorist’s threat to US.

    The same way the goal of President Zardari is to eliminate militants and terrorists threat to Pakistan.

    Every country has a right to protect itself from all its potential enemies by all available means.

  6. rkay says:

    But the goal is not to eradicate poverty. The goal is to eliminate terrorist threat to US. You misread the goals.


    JK says: January 1st, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Has poverty ever been eradicated by Military means? President Obama needs to focus on Economic strategy rather than troop surge to win the hearts and minds of Afghans.
    President Obama needs to look back at JFK era and come up with innovative solutions like Peace Corps and not military surges. It is the poverty eradication strategy that needs to be devised.

  7. JK says:

    Has poverty ever been eradicated by Military means? President Obama needs to focus on Economic strategy rather than troop surge to win the hearts and minds of Afghans.
    President Obama needs to look back at JFK era and come up with innovative solutions like Peace Corps and not military surges. It is the poverty eradication strategy that needs to be devised.

  8. javid abid says:

    Absolutely not. USA will have to leave Afghanistan soon like they did in Veit Nam.

    Americans are responsible to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan. USA must be tried in the international court of Justice.

  9. Awareness says:

    Most important thing for Pakistan now is to guard it’s own security and the wellbeing of it’s nation. So first things first. Security comes from a robust and strong arm force and security force. “Where there is security, there is freedom and wellbeing”
    All other things are secondary especially when foreign enemy opportunists have evil designs.

  10. Babar Ali, Lahore says:

    30,000 more aimless troops in Afghanistan mean’s more destruction in Afghanistan and the neighboring Pakistan.

  11. Aysha Khan says:

    Col (Retd) Ram Gulrajani, I agree with you 100% on your comments below.

    “Let us face the facts. At the root of this gigantic problem are the small time mullahs who have occupied the vacuum created by lack of modern education. Their interpretation of Islam is both personal and prejudiced. They have learnt the art of mesmerizing young people with dreams and promises of Jannat in a manner that young people seeking knowledge are instead converted into zombies in perpetual stupor, prepared to do anything to achieve such a dream. This mass psychological exploitation by semi-literate mullahs is the root cause of all that is happening in the region. Unfortunately in this scenario the politicians and armed forces have also begun depending upon such religious leaders for their agenda.”

  12. The recent incidents when lot of civilians were killed in Afghanistan as a result of NATO strikes, clearly indicate that the US and Allied forces are least concerned about civilians. There are scores of incidents when marriage parties, public gatherings or otherwise were targeted due to wrong perception of disinformation. In this scenario gaining sympathies of Afghan citizens is almost impossible. You can win war from skies but you need your presence on ground to win a nation.

  13. Waseem says:

    …the arm forces and intelligence agency of Pakistan that will stay strong and keep a close eye on the civillian govt…
    Thanks Ayub for pointing out this problem..
    People of your beliefs will not allow a Pakistan based on people’s opinions.

  14. Mustafa says:

    @ Logic

    Are you aware how many innocent people died in World War II? May be by millions. World War II was necessary to get rid of the evils, Hitler and Nazis. The same way “War on Terror” is necessary to get rid of “militants and terrorists the enemies of humanity” who are blowing up innocent men, women and children all over in Pakistan almost on daily basis. If not for the brave soldiers of Pakistan, the entire Pakistan will become grave yard (Qabristan) of innocent people.

  15. Logic says:

    War and violence is not an answer especially when it’s victims are innocent people.

  16. Nasir Khan says:

    Obama and the world is betting this on the hope that this surge will succeed like the one in Iraq. However Afghanistan is a different place with a unique set of challenges, the gravest of all is the state of (or absence of) governance in Afghanistan.

  17. America says:

    America should seriously think into the matter of Afghanistan. As it is not good thinking to kill innocent people on the name of Taliban.

  18. sanjay says:

    “Costs US$ 1 million, per soldier, per year”. It’s funny that they are spending billions on these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or Pak. They are so reluctant to spend even a penny for humanitarian effort in this region after war (like what they did). US interest is always short-term. Whether increasing troop or run away is part of US interest, and never been in the interest of this region. Pak should stop blaming US for all as if they don’t get their share (billions for the war they should be fighting on their own). Be independent and your policy should not involve US at the first place. They will never understand your relation with Afghanistan. You can change the policy but can not deny the fact that Afghanistan will be there as your neighbor as long as Pak is there. Otherwise, nothing will change. Get out of the excuses, solve your internal problem. Educate yourself with new world order where there is no place for religious extreme. I hope Pak will come out of this mess and increase their economical stance in this region. And last one, GHQ is not a way to go. Democracy is better as long as people like you lead the country or never change their attitude when powers come to hand.

  19. Mab Turan says:

    Peace in Afghanistan can only be ensured if Pashtoon people settle their ideological difference. Presently they are divided among Taliban, NAP and Nothren Alliance.

    God bless us all.

  20. Peace lover people of world had a lot of expectations with Obama but unfortunately they got disappointed because of continuous war, conflict and disputed policies.

    Every of the religion can live together.

    Obama must review the policies.

    He must not attach Afghanistan with Pakistan. Because When Afghanistan attaches with any of the non-state entities i.e international organization or institution, the downfall of that particular organization starts.

    Somebody may disagree with me but it is my view. I think everyone has the right to live in freedom with out any distinction of race, creed, caste, colour, religion etc…..

    Mirza M Kashif,
    Punjab University Law Department,

  21. svh says:

    USA needs another Abraham Lincoln to stop the expansion of slavery across the globe

  22. Osama says:

    It depends on the intentions they are there with.

    If they are there to stabilize Afghanistan – than its good – sitting on the back seat and helping (if required) to tackle in destabilizing issue.

    But if they are with the intention to further aggravate the situation – than its of in no one interest – not even theirs – since Obama must have realized by now that the way he wants thing need money and time – and he is short of both.

  23. Tim Hacket says:

    Strategy is not good for Pakistan. I think Pakistan needs to push back all the external entities. Pakistan needs to focus on it’s internal national security and this surge could make the national security worse. First step will be to have a government which will be honest and patriotic.

  24. ayub says:

    In my opinion US should get out of Afghanistan immediately, save its money and let the Afghans live as they want to.

  25. ayub says:

    Pakistan always has dictators because Pakistanis want disctators.

    Jabin says: December 7th, 2009 at 1:17 am

    The Pakistani Armforces are the backbone of the country and every effort is being made to undermine this. It is the arm forces and intelligence agency of Pakistan that will stay strong and keep a close eye on the civillian govt from being manupilated into corruption and greed. So salute and Hats out to them! Zindabad. on Facebook on Facebook