PMESII Analysis Afghanistan June 2010 Social Analysis

As Petraeus replaces McChrystal, he'll have a lot of ground to cover in terms of relationships and little time to do it.
As Petraeus replaces McChrystal, he'll have a lot of ground to cover in terms of relationships and little time to do it.

Social Analysis

General McChrystal was able to develop and foster a strong relationship with the Afghan people and make progress in turning things around in theater. The people are caught in the middle of a power struggle between the Taliban and Coalition Forces which backs the Karzai who may not be able to function without assistance when July 2011 comes and America is expected to leave. Also $4 billion in US Government Aid is being cut due to corruption concerns.

The Taliban claim that they are just trying to keep America from invading and to repel the infidel occupiers. This is actually a legitimate claim, but the motives behind it are different, it’s really because America supports the government currently in power. By removing America from the equation, the Taliban will be more capable of overthrowing Karzai. And the term “freedom” is all relative, after the Soviet withdrawal, the Taliban took power and imposed Islamic law known as Sharia. They did so to such an extreme that even the more devout Muslims didn’t like it. Music, movies, TV, card playing, singing, dancing, boxing, and even kite flying are outlawed and homosexuals are buried alive.[1] The locals believe that once the coalition forces leave, the Taliban will retake control and there will be no one to protect them. Taliban propaganda and history tell everyone that we’ll leave the Afghans hanging out to dry. America needs to overcome this perception and demonstrate to Afghanistan that the government being put in place will be effective and can offer rule of law as well as protection from or eradication of the Taliban. It has to be Karzai that does this because on the other side of the coin, as much as the Taliban are despised, there is an instinctive and widespread dislike of having foreign troops, and especially non-Muslim ones, based in Afghanistan. People who do not support the Taliban know that the NATO-led force is preventing the Taliban from returning to power.[2] General McChrystal made significant progress in gaining popular support by reducing civilian casualties. This allowed him to build a lot of trust in country and now that General Petraeus is in command, he’ll have to start from square one to foster the same type of relationship with the political leaders. The Taliban will be playing up the change of command as evidence of America’s weakness. It bears mentioning however, that many of the techniques used by McChrystal were pioneered by Petraeus in Iraq.[3]

Media articles from the surrounding regions show that Afghanistan was very fond of McChrystal and expressed displeasure that he was relieved while Pakistan focuses on the negative aspects with an anti-Washington tone expecting/hoping for failure in Afghanistan. From west of Afghanistan, Iran notes the tension between political and military leaders as they try to fit into each others’ roles. Comparably, China focuses on the impact of the change of command and anticipated friction.

The only exception was the Voice of Jihad website where Qari Yousof Ahmadi of the Taliban stated that the removal of McChrystal was the logical conclusion and that anyone else will fail as well since no other nation has ever successfully taken over Afghanistan. He explained that this is why Afghanistan is called the graveyard of invaders.[4]

In winning hearts and minds, government US Government Aid has facilitated 7 million Afghan children going to school compared with fewer than 1 million a decade ago also child immunization rates at 70 percent or higher; new roads; and bustling economies in several cities.[5]

ANALYSIS

The neutral population will be caught between the Taliban and Karzai’s regime (backed for now by Coalition Forces) until they can see who’s going to win this war and their doubts are laid to rest they can be reasonably expected to choose sides based primarily on ending up on the winning team. McChrystal was showing them what they needed to see and made significant progress, but with the change of command, everything reverts to square one for Petraeus who will also have the July 2011 deadline over his head while the civilians will just wait and see what comes because while America has the watches, the Taliban have the time. In the mean time, the Taliban will be conducting attacks against anything that is allied with the government or NATO. Besides the attack on the USAID office, another recent incident took place when the headmaster of a high school in eastern Ghazni was beheaded by militants on Saturday, the Education Ministry said. A high school in the same district — Qarabagh — was set on fire the same day.[6]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

PMESII Analysis Political Aspects

PMESII Analysis Military Aspects

PMESII Analysis Economic Aspects

PMESII Analysis Social Aspects

PMESII Analysis Information & Infrastructure Aspects

Notes

[1] Khalil, Ramy. The Rise of the Taliban and Islamic Fundamentalism . November 2001. http://www.socialistalternative.org/literature/taliban/rise.html (accessed June 15, 2010).

[2] Simpson, John. Taliban rule out negotiations with Nato. July 01, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10471517.stm (accessed July 01, 2010).

[3] Sommerville, Quentin. Kabul to miss respected McChrystal. June 23, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10398425.stm (accessed June 25, 2010).

[4] BBC. McChrystal fired: Reaction from Afghanistan and beyond. June 25, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10410457.stm (accessed June 25, 2010).

[5] (Riechmann 2010)

[6] (MSNBC.com 2010)

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