Everything is going well in Afghanistan, eh?
After the white-coated staff passed the third round of hors d’oeuvres, Mr. Bajolet took the lectern and laid out a picture of how France — a country plagued by a slow economy, waning public support for the Afghan endeavor and demands from other foreign conflicts, including Syria and North Africa — looked at Afghanistan.
Funny how this was not on the radar last week...
The room, filled with diplomats, some senior soldiers and a number of Afghan dignitaries, went deadly quiet. When Mr. Bajolet finished, there was restrained applause — and sober expressions. One diplomat raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly; another said, “No holding back there.”
So what did he say?
That the Afghan project is on thin ice and that, collectively, the West was responsible for a chunk of what went wrong, though much of the rest the Afghans were responsible for. That the West had done a good job of fighting terrorism, but that most of that was done on Pakistani soil, not on the Afghan side of the border. And that without fundamental changes in how Afghanistan did business, the Afghan government, and by extension the West’s investment in it, would come to little.
“We should be lucid: a country that depends almost entirely on the international community for the salaries of its soldiers and policemen, for most of its investments and partly on it for its current civil expenditure, cannot be really independent.”This assessment doesn't match up with that of U.S. General Dunford-- recently put in charge of our forces in Afghanistan-- who put forth a much more optimistic report.
Mr. Bajolet's summary of the main problems in Afghanistan are the same as from the start of this fiasco; corruption, the drug trade, and the lack of outside investment there--due to the corruption.