Typically astute thoughts by the Afghanistan Analysts Network’s Kate Clark on the clusterfuck that the West is leaving in the country:
Obama did indeed struggle to define victory in his state of the union address (read the text here). The US mission, he said, would achieve its mission by defeating ”˜the core al-Qaeda’ by the end of 2014, but surely this was something that was achieved by 2002? The sense of déjÃ vu only continued as Obama went on to say, ”˜We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.’ The ”˜remnants’ term will be familiar to anyone here in the early years after the 2001 intervention to describe what US forces were doing in Afghanistan. Post-2014, it seems, they will be pursuing remnants again. (And what exactly are ”˜their affiliates’: the Taleban, and if so, which ones? The Afghan Taleban or parts of them, like the Haqqani network? The Pakistani Taleban, Lashkar-e Tayba, Lashkar-e Jhangvi and so on?) Once more, it hardly sounds like victory or indeed mission accomplished.