The civil war has been largely suspended since 2001. But it was not settled. Negotiations with the Taliban, which the Obama administration so earnestly pursues, make the return of ethnic conflict more likely rather than less, since the non-Pashtun groups will not tolerate a Taliban return to power.
If a much-reduced U.S. force level is announced, Afghans will say that the Americans have abandoned their country. They will be right. With a drastically reduced U.S. presence, the Afghan government and army will fracture, warlords will begin fighting each other and the insurgents and terrorists in ungoverned spaces. The conditions will be ideal for al Qaeda’s return.
That’s failure. And it will matter. (Wall Street Journal, Posted 8 Jan 13)