America's 7 mistakes in Afghanistan

White House/Pete Souza

President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012.

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  • The 7 key mistakes the US and its allies have made in Afghanistan. @MRubin1971

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  • More than a decade into the conflict, the Afghan war isn’t going well. @MRubin1971

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  • Afghans believe their country was safer 10 years ago than it is today. @MRubin1971

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More than a decade into the conflict, the Afghan war isn’t going well. Politically, Afghanistan is a mess. While some analysts still say the American counterinsurgency strategy works, Afghans beg to differ. Their country was safer ten years ago than it is today.  The problem wasn’t the invasion itself, but rather the aftermath. The mission to deny terrorists a vacuum was essential, so where did the United States go wrong?

Here are the seven key mistakes the United States and its allies have made:

Rapidity of Reform. Cynics may say Afghanistan never changes, but that is nonsense. Afghanistan today is far different than it was 30 years ago, let alone a century ago. The fact is, Afghanistan changes: Just very slowly. The experience of Amanullah Khan in the first decades of the twentieth century and the Saur Revolution in 1978 demonstrate the correlation between rapidity of reform and insurgent backlash. 

This article is available in full on CNN's Global Public Square blog: America's 7 mistakes in Afghanistan 

 

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About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin


  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.


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