US Public Split as Obama Weighs Afghan Strategy
US Public Split as Obama Weighs Afghan Strategy

As U.S. President Barack Obama debates with his advisers on whether to increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan, Afghans have their own opinions.

This year has been the deadliest for foreign troops in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban government eight years ago.

For several weeks in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama has been hearing counsel from his advisers about the best course to take with the war-torn country. But half-a-world away, ordinary Afghans have their own advice for the U.S. president.

"Sending the troops to Afghanistan will not solve the problem. If the United States or Afghanistan start talks with the Taliban, it will be better," said Akhter Tutakhil, a medical student from Khost, a city in eastern Afghanistan.

Zainudin Wehadet is unemployed, living in the Afghan capital of Kabul. He says history has shown that no force can occupy Afghanistan. He says that no matter how many troops are sent, it will not end the fighting. He believes his government should start talks with the Taliban.

Ahmed Wali Mohmand is a student from Paktika province, next to the border with Pakistan. He says foreign governments should use their resources for something other than troops. "They should help with all our people and make universities and schools and other things which our people and society need," he said.

Daud Sultanzoi is a member of Afghanistan's parliament. He says he believes more foreign troops are needed and that the U.S. and Afghan governments have not done a good job of communicating the real reason for troops being sent to Afghanistan. "How can you build schools if you don't have security? How can you build schools if you cannot go to the districts to build them? You cannot build schools in a barrack and then transport it somewhere. You have to go to each district and secure those districts," he said.

Shenkai Karkhail also is a member of the Afghan parliament. She says she does not understand why weeks of meetings are needed in order for the U.S. government to make a decision. "They should be very much clear what they should do. Definitely they should send more troops here because the national army of Afghanistan is not in a position to really defend [from] this insurgency in this country," she said.

The United States has nearly 68,000 troops in Afghanistan and there are about 40,000 from NATO and other allied countries.

The top NATO and American commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal, has warned the coalition could lose the conflict if additional military forces are not deployed.