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A Muslim solution for Afghanistan

Let Muslim nations, not Western coalition, lead the mission to bring peace there.

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After eight years of US involvement in Afghanistan, a strategic crossroads within Asia, the country remains a deadly conflict zone. In fact, this weekend insurgents attacked two US military bases along the Pakistani border.

Helping Afghanistan stand on its own – an imperative for both regional and Western states – is a task that will take decades. But it is increasingly clear that it is not one that the West can perform.

On one hand, a Western-led occupation force in Afghanistan has brought the most stability and progress the country has had in three decades.

But the US-led coalition's very presence in this land between the Indus and the Oxus rivers in Central Asia fuels an indigenous insurgency. It keeps the flame of transnational terror alive and blocks the return of Afghan refugees to their villages. The US presence also curbs the flow of potential energy pipelines, and, most critical, the forging of a permanent peace.

The Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan is gaining ground and Western casualties are mounting. The attack this past weekend was the deadliest since last year, killing eight Americans and four Afghan security officers. The Pentagon's solution is an expensive, population-centric counterinsurgency that involves more nation-building than warfare. But such a move is out of tune with domestic developments.

A majority of Americans, particularly Democrats, oppose the US war in Afghanistan. They tend to see little connection between Afghanistan and their own security. Opposition to involvement in Afghanistan among other NATO member states is even greater. And the resolve of America's coalition partners is nearly exhausted.

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