General PetraeusMatthew Kaminski

The surge in Afghanistan is a wager that we can make the country a less violent and more stable base for America. Kaminski notes that America’s forces aren’t leaving anytime soon and probably not in this lifetime. Where the US military has gone in robustly, the Taliban has folded. The Afghan government’s shortcomings feed the insurgency. President Karzai squandered nine years, but the Taliban is hated. Only a tenth of Afghans tell pollsters they prefer them, and their sympathy is often as much practical as ideological. Afghans want the state to protect and serve them. In the many places it fails, the Taliban steps into the gap. Kaminski argues that giving up prematurely on our Afghan surge could make the fantasy of failure real.

Kaminski is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

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