Afghanistan: hearts and minds

Nato and Afghan forces are contining their biggest offensive since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Military commanders say they’re making progress in Taliban strongholds in the south. But they know enduring success depends on keeping promises to local communities to bring them a better, safer life. Will this new strategy of counterinsurgency be able to win hearts and minds? On Saturday on Newshour, Nato’s top civilian representative in Afghanistan and the number two in the US military command tell Lyse Doucet about their plans to turn the tide in Afghanistan. Then we put their case to our panel of experts. But what do you think? Can this strategy ever work?

7 Responses to “Afghanistan: hearts and minds”

  1. 1 Thomas Murray
    March 11, 2010 at 21:30

    “Winning hearts and minds” was a policy undertaken in the midst of the Vietnam war. And we ALL remember how successful THAT strategy was.

    Questions are: Can we ever defeat the Taliban? Answer: ALL the time.

    Q: Will they ever give up? Answer: Nope. .

    The Western world (embodied sadly by the US) is the Taliban’s raison d’etre. We are the devil personified. Proof of the existence of evil, therefore exists God. We are their pricipal economy, their gross domestic product, their cinematic money shot. We are their one-way ticket to Paradise.

    Can this strategy every work? If you were so illiterate to believe that pictures of The Prophet constrains His Will, yet were assured you had a guaranteed lake side villa in Heaven, what would you think?

    Do the math.

    Hearts and minds. What a crock!

    On the positive side, at least the Taliban make for good target practice. There’s not enough money on the planet to make a training camp that good.

    –Laughing till my sides ache, in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  2. 2 T
    March 12, 2010 at 01:30

    No. Get out now.

  3. 3 Tan Boon Tee
    March 12, 2010 at 05:25

    To many Afghans, the less-than-welcome Kabul government is nothing but a puppet of foreign occupiers.

    Unless and until a more acceptable, sincere and truthful leadership could be established, winning the minds and hearts of the people by any means could just end up in futility.

  4. 4 Jaime Saldarriaga
    March 12, 2010 at 15:01

    In my opinion USA should get out of Afghanistan.

  5. 5 Not T
    March 12, 2010 at 15:06

    Yes. Stay in now!

  6. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    March 12, 2010 at 16:28

    Well, put it another way. If your country (Britain in this case) was invaded and occupied by Iran (or any Middle Eastern country upset at the illegal war on Iraq), what would you ask the Iranian army to do to win over your hearts and minds?
    What would be at the top of the wishlist for your occupiers? Once we can honestly answer that, we’ll have a better idea what we should do in Afghanistan.

  7. 7 Subhash C Mehta
    March 15, 2010 at 07:48

    Can this strategy work? What do you mean?
    The strategy is working to a great extent. Even if it does fall a bit short, then, in that cases, we have to devise and implement new strategies till they work fully well. We just cannot afford to leave this fight, for a great and global cause, in the lurch.

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