Afghanistan Update

AFGHANISTAN UPDATE….OxBlog’s Afghanistan correspondent has some good news and a warning. First the good news:

The electoral process was extraordinarily popular. When all is said and done, with a mere 43 purported irregularities under investigation by the joint UN-Afghan panel (from over 5,000 polling stations) and all the major opposition candidates committed to accepting the panel?s findings, it is hard to imagine the delible-ink scandal leaving an indelible blot on the Karzai presidency. The best news of all, of course, was the remarkably limited violence….

And now the warning:

But America?s larger failure in Afghanistan remains: we have not committed enough troops to secure the country, nor managed to convince other countries to commit their troops.

….This election is not a vindication of that policy. It would be an understandable but grave error to mistake the lack of violence surrounding this poll for a stable security situation in Afghanistan….As most commentators on Afghanistan recognize, the coming parliamentary poll will be far more precarious than the recently concluded elections. Without major improvements between now and then, the enthusiasm and success attending Afghanistan?s first election will be matched by the disillusionment and failure of its second.

If you’re interested in Afghanistan, go read the whole thing. It’s an interesting account, with some lessons for both nation building optimists and pessimists.