Even before he was sworn in as President, Barack Obama was acutely conscious of the importance of stabilizing Afghanistan. The first, faint, hints of his course of action for that country emerged today. Two things have occurred. The commander of the US Central Command, Gen.
David Petraeus, briefed Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the deployment of extra troops. The US also firmed an alternative route for military supplies for troops there via Central Asia, instead of the dangerous and violent route through Pakistan’s North West Fronter Province.
It’s a good beginning, but as a stand-alone measure, it will serve no purpose. Afghanistan is not Iraq and a “surge” of troops there will not work unless Pakistan is forced to rein in the Taliban on its side of the border. How Obama will secure that cooperation is something to watch out for. That part of his Afghan strategy worries many in India. It should. India should tell the US that it has vital interests in Afghanistan that cannot be pushed aside to placate Pakistan.