Whom the Afghans Believe Matters
In your editorial “Biden’s Afghan Reversal” (Jan. 14), you conclude that Vice President Joe Biden’s renewed alignment with the president’s policy of giving the Afghan people at least until 2014 to establish an effective, legitimate government capable of providing national security, which the vice president articulated in a photo-op tour of Afghanistan and Pakistan recently, is the right message to send to Pakistan and the Taliban. You quote Mr. Biden twice saying “. . . we are not leaving.” You forget to mention how the Afghan people themselves receive this message.
Our troops need the support of the Afghan villagers to identify insurgent threats, as much as the Afghan government needs popular support for any chance of legitimacy. I am certain the Afghan people, particularly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, are hearing the same message from the Taliban, “We are not leaving.” The important question is, whom do they believe?