Last night, President Barack Obama announced that the United States
will be sending thirty-thousand more troops into Afghanistan over the
next year-and-a-half. That was expected. What wasn't expected was his
clear statement that the U.S. is looking to pull its forces out of the
region by 2011.
In making this announcement, President Obama raised a host of
concerns: Will the troop surge be enough to quash the Taliban
insurgency? Is the Afghanistan's government stable enough, and its
security forces strong enough, to cope when NATO forces leave? And what
will be the impact of the announcement beyond Afghanistan's borders?
These are all at the top of Ahmed Rashid's mind. He's a journalist and
a leading expert on Afghanistan. We reached him at his home in Lahore,