Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, head of Afghanistan’s central bank, says he’s quitting and leaving the country. He has been investigating the scandals around the collapse of Kabul Bank, and says he’s through with political interference and is worried that he’ll be subject to violent reprisals.
Obviously this is coming after President Obama’s announcement on troop levels, but I think it confirms the basic wisdom of the decision to start downshifting the size of our military presence in Afghanistan. It’s no knock on America’s soldiers and the officers who command them to observe that they don’t have the capacity to create a functioning central bank, or a functioning political culture in which central bankers can regulate without fear of being killed by politically connected warlords. Insofar as the government of Afghanistan has problems of a technical or logistical nature, there’s lots we can do to help them, including lots of things the American military can do. But these kind of fundamental political problems are beyond our capacities, and the idea that we should make an unconditional commitment of military resources to such a ramshackle government makes very little sense.