An assistant professor, an energy adviser, a UN worker, and an Air Force commander. These are a few of the MIT alumni who live and work in Afghanistan, where the United States has carried out military operations offshore since the 1990s, and on the ground since 2001. The stated aim of the military’s current mission, Operation Enduring Freedom, is to protect local Afghans, reduce violence, and cut off funding to the Taliban and other insurgents.
How is it going? Several days ago General Stanley McChrystal, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, submitted a strategic review to General David Petraeus, NATO, and President Obama. While the full text of the report isn’t yet available, the take home message (according to reporters) is unambiguous: McChrystal thinks the current strategy in Afghanistan is not working.
Newspaper columns and io shows have been covering the news over the last few days, and one in particular caught our eye. The Takeaway, a co-production of WNYC radio and Public Radio International, interviewed Fotini Christia. She is an assistant professor of political science at the Institute and recently returned from Afghanistan. Listen to what she has to say about the potential efficacy of a political, rather than, military surge in Afghanistan.