Stanley's blog

Everyone is waiting for President Obama’s decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, and if so, how many.

There is no acceptable and achievable way to ensure peace, stability, and reasonably prosperity in the whole of Afghanistan. What then does the West do, bearing in mind the huge negative contribution made to the present situation by the US, supported by the UK and others?

Mehar Omar Khan, a Pakistani, proposes that districts be identified which can become models of security and prosperity, leaving the Taliban to rule in poverty elsewhere. Islands would be created.

This idea faces many problems but I have not before heard of a proposal more sensible or achievable than this. The districts would choose their own leadership and not be beholden to Kabul. The West would support their economy and security. No effort should be made to impose Western values.

Most Afghans are poor and frightened. Were they to see successful districts, no longer poor and above all secure, their support or rather non-opposition to the Taliban might be reversed. It’s worth a try.

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