How Obama's Afghan War Plan Is Falling Apart

Obama's war plan falling apart. With little military progress to show for his Afghan surge, U.S. President Barack Obama is quickly losing allies at home and abroad, writes the New York Times' David Sanger. Britain, Canada and the Netherlands have all set firm deadlines for withdrawal. Calls for an American withdrawal timetable from Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans, are rising. But what may be most damaging, Sanger says, is that even members of the foreign policy establishment, who were among the Afghan war's most ardent supporters, are also beginning to conclude the rising cost of Obama's surge is not worth it. [NYT]

Aid isn't the problem in Afghanistan, Karzai is. American and international pledges to aid Afghanistan won't stabilize the country unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai tackles corruption and decentralizes power, write Caroline Wadhams and Colin Cookman of the Center for American Progress. At present, Karzai personally appoints everyone from provincial governors, to city mayors, to district police chiefs—even the election commissioners who backed his fraudulent re-election last year. Afghans cannot be expected to support the Karzai government, Wadhams and Cookman conclude, if they have no say over how it is run. [Foreign Policy]

Petraeus may retool McChrystal's strategy. Military officials say Gen. David Petraeus's predecessor as NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, placed too much emphasis on efforts to hunt down top Taliban leaders, and that Petraeus will focus instead on making Afghans feel safe. But other Pentagon officials maintain that a series of Special Operations raids led by Gen. McChrystal improved Afghanistan's security, and believe Petraeus will continue these raids. [WSJ]

Clinton warns Pakistan about terror ties. After praising the Pakistan government for beginning to tackle terrorist groups within its borders after the Obama Administration came to power, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Islamabad to take "additional steps" in this direction. She warned that a future terror attack on U.S. soil, if traced to Pakistan, would have a "devastating impact" on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. [Times of India]