Our efforts in nation-building, governance and counternarcotics should be smaller and more creative. This is not because these issues are unimportant; they are vital for Afghanistan's future. But only the Afghan government has the legitimacy, the knowledge and the power to build a nation. The West's supporting role is at best limited and uncertain.
TIME's article How to Save Afghanistan is fantastically written and simply worded. It presents a surprisingly easy solution for how to fix Afghanistan – do less.
The solution is deceptively simple when you think about it. We suck at building a government. We're good at education (well, better than Afghanistan anyway). We're good at farming. We can train an army. We can build power plants. Let's stop trying to fight all these insurgents. Let's stop trying to tell the Afghans how to run their country. Let's just give them the support ask for to build their country up. If they try to build something we don't like? We don't support it.
Transforming a nation of 32 million people is a task not for the West but for Afghans.