For Immediate Release
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Obama's Afghan Plan
Gutman: If you don't put Afghan development at the centre of a strategy then things will get worse
WASHINGTON - Last week President Barack Obama announced that the US has a "clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future."
The US has been involved with Afghanistan since 1979, but this is
the first time that it is outlining a strategic plan. Originally the US
had no regard for Afghanistan's future, but was more concerned with
engaging the Russians in a war.
"The fact is that every war, however small, if you
want it to end, has to end in a political settlement," said Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers' foreign editor. "And if the United
States is involved in stoking the war, it should stick around and make
sure that it achieves a settlement."
has been used as a military ground for initially attacking the
Russians, and more recently, the al-Qaeda people, and not for any
strategic planning for the Afghani people's welfare.
"That's the problem, that in general people treat
Afghanistan as a platform for attacking other problems, and they forget
that there's 24 million people there, that it's a real country, real
people," Gutman said. "It's landlocked, it's poor, but it's in the heart of Asia and
it's surrounded by countries that are not an awful lot more stable than
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