Quickie: Have you ever seen a "government in a box" work?

President Barack Obama meets with Army Lt. Gen...Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t. How does that work in a country with a foreign culture?

WaPo’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran reports that the longer-than-expected effort to secure Marja is prompting alarm among top American commanders that they will not be able to change the course of the war in the time President Obama has given them.  Excerpt:

Before the operation, McChrystal pledged to deliver a “government in a box” that would provide basic services to the population with the hope of winning its allegiance. The box has turned out to be largely empty. Marja’s chief official, Haji Zahir, who spent four years in a German prison for attempting to murder his stepson, is regarded by some of the civilian reconstruction advisers here as an ineffective manager with a proclivity for lengthy siestas and an unwillingness to engage in the nitty-gritty of governance.
The problems with governance in Marja echo concerns raised by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, during a White House review of the war last fall. He argued that the Afghan government was insufficiently committed to doing its part to make the counterinsurgency campaign a success.

“With more U.S. forces you can do more, but where is your Afghan partner?” said a State Department official in Afghanistan.

Top commanders remain confident that Afghan officials will be able provide the services and leadership necessary to marginalize the Taliban — if they are given enough time and mentoring.

“We’re on an Afghan timetable, and the Afghan timetable is not the American timetable,” said a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan. “And that is the crux of the problem.”

Continue reading ‘Still a long way to go’ for U.S. operation in Marja, Afghanistan’