So argues Rory Stewart in an essay that reflects history's lessons and a familiarity with Afghanistan and its environs. Stewart suggests that the appropriate goal should be development not "governance". He argues for a severe reduction of foreign forces with special ops units tasked to deal with al-Qaeda. He suggests that the Taliban threat, per se, is exaggerated. The reader will recall that Stewart, a former British diplomat, is the author of highly regarded books on Iraq and on Afghanistan.
LRB · Rory Stewart: The Irresistible Illusion