As the world watched President Barack Obama's surprise visit to Afghanistan to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement, most of us question if he left his notes on the Afghanistan situation back on Air Force One.
To objectively understand the progress made on the safety and security of Afghanistan, we need to scrutinize the surrounding circumstances of President Obama's surprise visit. This was a fast-paced, six hour, in-and-out trip shrouded with the utmost veil of secrecy: Obama landed at night with logistics unknown to President Hamid Karzai. Soon after he was transported to Karzai's presidential palace for a public relations political spectacle showing both presidents signing an agreement that would show the Obama administration's willingness to "provide safety and assistance" to the war torn nation until 2024. That is, for a period of 12 years covering the upcoming three U.S. presidential elections. This equates to an assumption on the part of President Obama that future presidents will commit to the agreement. Moreover, he is committing future Congresses to continue plying Afghanistan with aid for more than two decades.
Just hours after the surprise presidential visit, the Taliban's farewell message was a barrage of attacks and explosions throughout Kabul leaving dozens of dead and injured. Regarding these multiple explosions, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhajid told AFP: "It is a message to Obama that he and his forces are not welcome in Afghanistan and that we will continue our resistance until all the occupiers are either dead or leave our country... "
After more than a decade of military occupation and trillions of dollars spent, the general environment in Afghanistan is extremely dangerous and unsafe, even in the capital. This is precisely the reason why President Obama did not linger until daytime to take at least a quick peek at the streets of the nation where thousands of Americans have spilled their blood and over 1,500 have left their souls, not to mention the untold Afghani casualties. The torrent of financial, military and human resources employed in Afghanistan is unlikely to continue for an extended period of time because, at the end of the road, politicians will likely respond to their constituents. And if any of us have doubts about feeling towards the occupation of Afghanistan occupation, just take a look at the Pew Research Center's recent poll which found that public support for the U.S. military presence is at a record low: almost two-thirds of Obama supporters want a troop withdrawal as quickly as possible. The other side of the political spectrum is not much different since half of Mitt Romney's Republicans also favor a quick withdrawal. For the past years, there has been growing apathy and discontent regarding the devotion of more resources from an economically strained United State to the Afghanistan cause. Nothing on the horizon leads us to believe that this trend will change.
If President Obama's "missing notes" on Afghanistan were to be found, they would reveal a more realistic view of what is going on. They would reference recent findings of the last Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan published a few days ago, which read:
The President's Top Secret "Super Sticky Recyclable Notes"
1. Taliban-led insurgency and its al Qaeda affiliates still operate with impunity from sanctuaries in Pakistan.
2. The insurgency's safe haven in Pakistan, as well as the limited capacity of the Afghan Government, remain the biggest risks to the process of turning security gains into a durable and sustainable Afghanistan.
3. The Taliban-led insurgency remains adaptive and determined with a significant regenerative capacity and retains the capability to emplace substantial numbers of IEDs and conduct isolated high-profile attacks.
4. The Afghan Government continues to face widespread corruption that limits its effectiveness and legitimacy and bolsters insurgent messaging... (T)he capacity of the Afghan Government and the extension of effective governance and rule of law have been limited by multiple factors, including widespread corruption, limited human capacity, and uneven concentration of power among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches.
5. The relationship between ISAF and the Afghan Government and its security forces endured significant shocks during the reporting period stemming from: the video release of U.S. Marines defiling corpses... the inadvertent burning of religious materials, including the Holy Quran, by U.S. personnel at Bagram Air Base;... "green-on-blue" attacks in which members of the ANSF killed ISAF personnel, such as the killing of two U.S. military officers... and the killing of seventeen Afghan civilians... allegedly by a lone U.S. Soldier.
6. Poppy and its related opium production will modestly increase in 2012.
Perhaps, President Obama might sooner or later find his "missing notes" here on The Huffington Post, which will move him to change his slow-motion approach to ending the occupation. His constituents sincerely hope that, once and for all, he decisively moves away from answering the beck and call of the industrial military complex and other shadowy interests.