When US troops leave Afghanistan, an American university will remain
US military withdrawal from Afghanistan won't necessarily spell the end of US commitments to Afghanistan, says president of American University of Afghanistan.
(Page 2 of 2)
Anti-American sentiment now seems to have become mainstream, and often ripples out to affect Western aid groups and the United Nations in general. Last year after an American preacher threatened to burn copies of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, protestors in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif attacked the closest thing to an American target that they could find: a United Nations guesthouse. Seven aid workers were killed in revenge, and the guesthouse was burned.Skip to next paragraph
Good reads: Freedom of speech, YouTube cats, and campaign strategy
Good Reads: Hillsborough, rural Russians, and chasing dreams of spaceflight
Good Reads: Israel's Iran debate, Scalia's 'originalism,' and blasphemy in Pakistan
Good Reads: Volcanoes, guillotines, and the key to happiness
The real danger for South Africa after Lonmin mine shooting
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
American University is not the only foreign-funded higher education institution in Afghanistan. There are a few Iranian funded universities in the western Afghan city of Herat, and a large Iranian-funded madrassa, or theological seminary, in Kabul itself.
The United Arab Emirates is now funding a college for women in the southeastern Afghan town of Khost. India is planning to start a mining school as well. By helping members of the Afghan elite to attain higher education in Afghanistan, each of these countries is not only helping build the capacity of Afghans to run their own country. They are also exerting “soft power” that puts the donor country into a positive light, and thus serve the donor country’s national interests.
Pushing the Taliban out of power, in theory, also should have served US national interests, and in the early days of America’s military presence in Afghanistan, many Afghans were grateful to have US troops around. But with every passing year, and the occasional errant drone strike on civilian populations, America’s military presence has become a sore point for Afghans, and even for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
President Obama last year mapped out the drawdown of US troops, toward total withdrawal in 2014. But as Rand Corporation analyst Seth Jones pointed out, in a recent discussion on National Public Radio, final withdrawal does not necessarily mean zero US troops in Afghanistan by 2014.
… it's unclear what happens in 2013, 2014 and beyond.
Will that mean zero U.S. forces? I have never heard anybody privately say that means zero. The talk now is 15,000 to 20,000 or 25,000, somewhere in that category. I think the subject of discussion now is, will this be mostly a move away from a conventional counterinsurgency model to more special operations and CIA units, much like the U.S. was involved in the Philippines or Colombia or El Salvador?
* Keep Calm, a winking reference to the World War II slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On," is a new blog that aims to provide a bit of context to help make sense of confusing news events.
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.