Daniel Korski

Decentralisation key to Afghan pullout, says David Miliband

Decentralisation key to Afghan pullout, says David Miliband
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It is fashionable to ridicule David Miliband's search for a post-political career. But in yesterday's Daily Telegraph the former Foreign Secretary showed that – for all his mistakes in office – his intellect, and judgement on a number of key issues, including how to bring the Afghanistan War to an end, was, and remains, razor-sharp:

"Afghanistan's battles are not just between the Afghan and foreign forces and the Taliban insurgency, but between (and within) Afghanistan's often warring tribes. When Nato trains the Afghan National Army, it's good – but not if you are a Pashtun who sees the predominantly Tajik army as the enemy."

"Track one is an internal political settlement. Western influence is currently limited to ineffective and unspecified "pressure" on President Karzai. We need to be far more up front about our end game: a decentralised series of political settlements in the villages and valleys of Afghanistan, with security forces limited to holding the ring and keeping al-Qaeda out.

But this track will never get going unless track two – the track of regional political engagement – has real legs. This means agreements which recognise the divergent interests of the different neighbouring countries, from Pakistan to Iran."