Forlorn Battle for Hearts and Minds
United States President Barack Obama and Afghan President Karzai meet this week with both reiterating ‘commitment to the solid, broad, and enduring strategic partnership”, and “deepening cooperation …” per the administration.
87,000 U.S troops are currently serving in the eight-year Afghan war, costing more than $51 billion, and 6,774 Americans killed or seriously wounded.
There has been a noticeable lack of benchmarks quoted by the Obama administration, despite an announcement of 30,000 troops to be added to the situation last January.
The Pentagon last week told of progress being made in the area. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, testified “The evidence suggests that our shift in approach is beginning to produce results, the insurgency is losing momentum. And though real challenges and risks remain, we see a number of positive trends.”
She continued that new tactics have sharply reduced civilian casualties. Operations like “Operation Hamkari” are attempts to take control of major cities for the Afghan government.
The harsh truth remains however, that an occupying force in any country will always breed more animosity, there will always be civilian casualties, making the goal of winning hearts and minds a challenging one indeed.