What Leaving Afghanistan Will cost(2)

20 مئی 2012
To add insult to injury, many, including several people in the President\\\'s own party, have already turned away -- in 2010, more than 100 House Democrats voted against funding the war in Afghanistan. And the Iraq example shows what happens when fatigue is high and the spotlight is off: in both Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012, Congress halved the money requested for Iraqi police training.
In the United States, the war\\\'s popularity has fallen steadily since Obama entered office, reaching a nadir in April, when only 30 percent of Americans polled said that the war in Afghanistan \\\"has been worth fighting.\\\" In the coming months, and, should he win a second term, the coming years, Obama will have to expend political capital to convince the American public that the billions poured into South Asia are an investment in global security, not a zero-sum game that needlessly depletes already strained U.S. coffers, as so many of his own party have argued.
Making good on promises to Afghan women will be even more difficult. Right now, many female leaders, including those in the Afghan Women\\\'s Network who have lobbied for a seat at the table at past NATO summits, have been left out of Afghanistan\\\'s official delegation, but will take part in a \\\"shadow summit\\\" at Chicago\\\'s Swissôtel. Afghan women have had to fight tooth and nail for a role in nearly every high-level gathering. Sometimes, as at the Kabul Conference, they succeeded. But most times they have not. Obama and Karzai\\\'s strategic agreement stipulates that the \\\"necessary outcomes of any peace and reconciliation process\\\" follow the \\\"Afghan Constitution, including its protection for all Afghan women and men.\\\" But even if Kabul were to draw antigovernment forces into formal negotiations, it remains highly doubtful that the Taliban leadership would ever work in accordance with the Afghan constitution\\\'s protection of \\\"equal rights and duties before the law.\\\" Recent threats to girls\\\' schools in Nangarhar province have hardly inspired confidence.
The fundamental issue is that many of the international actors in Afghanistan have viewed women\\\'s rights as a pet project rather than a necessity for stability. Obama noted last week that the agreement \\\"includes Afghan commitments to transparency and accountability, and to protect the human rights of all Afghans -- men and women, boys and girls.\\\" But exactly who would ensure that whatever Afghan government takes power following the next presidential election, which is slated for 2014, respects this rule is a mystery. And of late, Karzai has been increasingly accommodative of conservatives who wish to curb women\\\'s mobility, in a play to end up on the right side of power when foreigners head for the exits. ( Continued)