…I think Steve Coll is an amazing journalist. His latest post, concerning the challenges faced in building up a national Afghan army, is definitely worth a read for those wishing to gain a historical and pertinent perspective.

The political-military history of Afghanistan since 1970 is one in which outside powers have repeatedly sought to do with Afghan security forces what the U.S. proposes to do now. It is also a history in which those projects have repeatedly failed because the security forces have been infected with political, tribal, and other divisions emanating from unresolved factionalism and rivalry in Kabul. Armies—especially poor, multi-ethnic armies, such as the one Afghanistan has—can only hold together if they are serving a relatively stable and unified national government. This has generally not been available to the Afghan Army since 1970.