As the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, many are holding out hope that President-elect Barack Obama’s long promised surge will somehow magically turn the floundering seven year long war around. But both at home and abroad the Obama plan is meeting resistance, skepticism that doubling the troops on the ground will do any good, and surprising optimism from the top UN official in Afghanistan that the current course is working.
Unlike the surge in Iraq, which was able to take credit for the decline in violence caused by massive sectarian cleansing, the Afghan surge would not be temporary, but rather a permanent US escalation at a time when they are increasingly losing control of the country, particularly the restive south. US officials fear the surge could make the already turbulent situation even more unpredictable, and despite Gen. Craddock’s claims to the contrary things can, and likely will, get worse in Afghanistan.
Oddly enough, top UN official in Afghanistan Kai Eide, who has been calling for change in the face of rising civilian casualties, doesn’t want a change in strategy. He seems not just to be against the Obama escalation, but claims that “there is a greater momentum” for the current strategy, and insists the ability to handle the security situation is improving every month.