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Winning the Peace in Afghanistan
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Here's an interesting and encouraging story in Time about "Chiclets", small military units on specialized aid operations in Afghanistan.

Chiclets (the name comes from CHLCs, or "Coalition Humanitarian Liason Cells") are the hot item in America's anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan today. Self-described as the "Peace Corps with guns," they carry out high-impact aid missions the locals want and the U.N. and NGOs have somehow missed. Thirteen teams operate across the country right now, with more than 300 projects in the works ranging from building roads and bridges to supplying schools.

Um, I don't think the Russians did this sort of thing when they occupied Afghanistan in the 80's. These sorts of operations are going to win the peace in Afghanistan and it's encouraging to see that the US gets it. Hopefully, with further stabilization (Hello? International allies?) we can get to a point where school supplies don't have to be delivered by small units armed to the teeth. Hopefully within the next year or two we'll be able to implement more full-scale infrastructure and aid improvements. Again, our best course of action is to build Afghanistan into a strong, stabile, economically-viable friend. It's good for them, for us, and for the entire Middle East.

The article closes:

A young Hazara man in the bazaar offers his own verdict: "Do you know the American soldiers?" I tell him Yes, I do. "Could you please tell them, they should never leave. They should stay here forever."

Well, no. We don't want to stay forever. But we should stay long enough to rebuild Afghanistan into a viable, self-sustaining country.

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