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The next president is inheriting a very high-stakes challenge in Afghanistan. What should his priority be?

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Dear FRONTLINE,

... after looking at your program I couldn't help but to ask myself, What are we doing there? putting our young man in harms way again why are we fighting this people on the other side of the world.

The Russians couldn't do it and they are next door. Leave them alone and lets take care of our economy. We don't seem to learn from previous mistakes.

Joe Velasquez
LA, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

For those questioning the NATO Afgan mission, seems since our troops have been there the Al Qaeda gang haven't carried off any more 9-11's.

Having lost the protection of the Taliban government in Afgan, Al Qaeda seems to have withered away, or been sidetracked into doing their violence in Iraq. Good riddance I say.

Andy griffith
calgary, canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

The Taliban were the government of Afghanistan, much as we may dislike them. The USA attacked them unprovoked which is illegal by the UN charter treaty that the US signed. Thus the proper term for the Karzai puppet government is "provisional" and the proper term for the Taliban is "resistance" not "insurgents".

The Taliban eliminated the heroin trade, and Karzai revived it. You would think the opposite from your documentary.

The Taliban have majority support. They could not possibly have fought the combined might of the USA, Canada, Britain, and Karzai's drug lords and war lords to a draw otherwise. It hypocritical for the USA to foist such a corrupt and unpopular leader as Karzai on Afghanistan.

Democracy is letting the people choose their own leaders, even ones we don't like. Trust democracy. If the leaders are bad, the people will soon toss them out.

Roedy Green
Victoria, BC

Dear FRONTLINE,

Sadly, due to the Bush administration's incompetence & neglect, the war in Afghanistan, which was essentially won in 2002, is now lost. Kabul will fall by June, before the next president has time to do anything about it. The emphasis now must be put on shoring up the Pakistani government with realistic, not idealistic measures.

Combs, AR

Dear FRONTLINE,

I value programing such as Frontline. It gives us all a perspective on what is actually happening on the front lines of this War.Thank you.

We all have to take a page from the history books. Alexander the Great to General Franks.Did we learn from History? Did the US jump before she looked? How far does she have to go to get the mission done? Or is the Afghanistan mission a knee jerk response to 9-11? All these questions, not enough answers.The Pentagon should have had some prior planning back in the mid to late 90's for such a mission in some think tank.Come on America!

The American people have to ask and get more out of elected official's.I pray to God that Obama gets elected. He just might be able to save America from it self...

From a Canuck

Edward Washen
Winnipeg , Manitoba

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was disappointed by the narrow range of interview subjects used in this report. Obviously the Taliban are brutal, and it would be awful, not only for the United States, if they took control of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the use of embedded journalists who are not directly familiar with that part of the world, along with inflammatory footage of those killed by the Taliban (as if footage of civilians bombed by U.S. forces would appear more civilized), only continues the Taliban as bogeyman image. There's no new insight offered there. No independent Afghan or Pakistani citizens or journalists outside of the government were interviewed. The rise of the Taliban was not discussed in the context of Afghanistan's or Pakistan's society. The report just continues the theme that they're all just a bunch of crazy tribes killing each other, which is the same line that's given about Iraq. One of the main reasons that we're losing battles against the Taliban is that we have no idea who we're really dealing with. Also, offering Churchill's view of the region doesn't really seem helpful, since the colonial outlook on central Asia and the Middle East hasn't exactly brought peace for anyone. How about interviewing someone who doesn't require a translator to get around that part of the world?

Colette Brown
Madison, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

Having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan with the US Army Corps of Engineers, I am disheartened by the lack of media coverage given to the numerous successful reconstructive projects accomplished by the US govt and coalition forces. Very little, if any, mention of micro hyrdro power projects, extensive road building, agricultural and infrastructure development makes it to the daily press. The counter insurgency doctrine is merely given lip service by most of the mainstream media, while meaningful progress is hardly given a passing mention. The international community is truly making a difference in millions of Afghans and Iraqis lives on a daily basis. Unfortunately this is all to often overshadowed by negative press coverage and those wishing to ignore the disastrous consequences of a US withdrawl.

Edwin Louis
Lenexa, Kansas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Do we dare pull out of Pakistan and let the taliban,control fifty plus nukes? I don't think so!

This country has made some major errors,letting seven country have nukes ,just because we didn't want a war, well now -- look and see what has happened over the last sixty three years.

I ask you,now-- what! continue letting more countries have nukes,North Korea,Iran etc. ?

Jack Stewart
Saint Cloud, FL

Dear FRONTLINE,

I just watched "The War Briefing" and I have read some of the posted comments. To the individual that said the US has no reason to be in Afghanistan I can only say, I have not, nor will I ever forget 9/11.

My only question is, why is the taliban still on Earth. We need to go in for the sole purpose of destroying our enemy. Winning over the minds of the taliban or those who symapthize with it is nonsense. They need to fear us. We do not need nor should we aspire to gain their friendship. Only when they understand that, agression against the United States equals their unending suffering will we be able to guarantee that 9/11 will never be repeated.

Michael Vazquez
Miami, Florida

Dear FRONTLINE,

Very insightful portrait of whole Pakistan/Afghanistan current situation. Excellent commentary.This is not the time to worry about the fragile government of Pakistan. As they did not do anything concrete when they did have a very controlled and stable government of President Musharraf in the earlier years after 9/11. From 2002 to 2006.What makes us think they will do anything concrete now?Mr Asif Zardari is only interested in making a lot of monies for himself and his hunchmen. Time and time again, he has proven that.

Shayam Lakhavani
Houston, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Prospects for the Talibani regime appear to be good.

As with Hezbollah and Hamas and Cuba,it might be advisable to bring them into the world of nations rather than isolate them...institutionalize,beauracratize and humanize.

paul patterson
tampa, fl.

Dear FRONTLINE,

This war can only be settled by being extremely brutal with Talibans. Despite all the toughness they show they are very vulnerable to news of extreme cruelty committed against them. You have to forget about human rights and dignity when you are fighting Taliban because you have absolutely no other way to winning the war without being very cruel with them.

Alan Saeed
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have just watched [The War Briefing]. What pains me is that we put all the burden on our troops who in most cases are trained as young infantry. Their image to the villager is a stranger entering their village carying a gun-not a symbol of friendship or help. They are not knowledgable about the people, customs, the economy. In most cases their main motive is to survive and to protect their buddies. They are not a solution. What is needed is a new unit within the State Dept. that is trained to work closely with the host govt. to help it do more to serve it's own people. That certainly means a fierce vigilence towards corruption and malfeisence. This new unit should not be coctail drinkers but imbued with a passion and zeal for improving the host gov't. relations with and support from the people. That is what will win this war. I always said in Vietnam that the people had something to fight against but nothing to fight for. I also felt that that if they had eliminated the corruption and built loyaly in the people we could have armed them with baseball bats and they would have won that war. This is their country. Their govt. and army and police( often the face of Govt. corruption) need to win the peace not our scared, trigger nervous young soldier.

Terry Scott
Centreville , Virginia

Dear FRONTLINE,

The next Presidents priority is to not stick his head in the sand to the situation in Afganistan and especialy Pakistan. The conditions in both nations are deteriorating at break-neck speed due to past failed foreign policies and also due to a mindset by fanatic muslims with a bent on total anialation of the United States. The failure to protect the nuclear missiles in Pakistan will result in an inevitable nuclear detonation which in my opinion is exactly the intentions of these insurgeants. The next President needs to make it extremely clear to all world leaders that this can not be allowed to happen,and that they must work together to stabilize this region of the world.

PAUL KOONTZ
NORTH BELLMORE, NEW YORK

Dear FRONTLINE,

Incredibly insightful piece Frontline has done on the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It hard to know what right for the region, but I do know that we cannot allow the Taliban to overthrow the Pakistani government and control nuclear weapons.

Monroe, CT

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posted october 28, 2008

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