Pakistani President: U.S., Allies Are Losing In Afghanistan

Pakistan’s President threw a grenade into the ongoing debate over the War in Afghanistan:

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said the U.S. and its allies are losing the war in Afghanistan because they failed to win local support and think too short term, drawing a rebuke from the U.S.

“The international community, of which Pakistan is a part, is losing the war against the Taliban because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds,” Zardari said in an interview with the Paris-based afternoon daily newspaper Le Monde.

“Military reinforcements are only a small part of the response,” Zardari said. “To win the support of the Afghan population, you must bring economic development and prove you can not only change their lives, but improve them.”

Of course, the United States does not agree:

WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday dismissed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s view that US-backed coalition forces are losing the war in Afghanistan, saying actions taken in the last several months were keeping in mind the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama, who had earlier said progress was being made in Afghanistan, would not agree with Zardari’s conclusion.

“Well, I don’t think the (US) President would agree with President Zardari’s conclusion that the war is lost. I haven’t seen the interview. I don’t know why he’s come to that conclusion,” Gibbs told reporters.

Perhaps you should find out. When the leader of the most important regional ally in this war says something like this, it’s worth paying attention to.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Asia, World Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. ALP says:

    First let me say that I served in the military during the Vietnam War. Winning the hearts and minds of people who live in a primitive society is not as easily accomplished as many Americans and Politicians think. As soon as our people leave a local area the people will revert to living as they did before, unless a powerful central government is established that supports and protects their peoples from outside threats.
    Afganistan is quite different from Vietnam, or more developed countries. Historically it is made up of many tribal areas run by tribal leaders and warlords, or outside influences such as the Tailban and Alqaeda. The country has little developed natural resources and little arable land. The people are mainly in a survival way of life, living from day to day. They are mainly governed locally thru threats of violence or death. It has been this way for many centuries past and I believe it remain this way for many years to come.
    Wars are not won by winning the “Hearts and Minds of people”. Wars are won by killing or threats to kill many thousands of people of a country. This is a most terrible thing to do, but, it is a reality, such as happened in WWI and WWII. Until the people of a country rise up and force their government to change, things will remain the same or get worse.
    I believe our present efforts in areas like Afganistan are a great waste of valuable resources and lives. I don’t really think that we could even contain the threats or actions against us that will come out of areas like this without total anniihilation of those who aim to change the world to their view and beliefs . I know that many will think that this is a horrible and terrible view that I have. IT IS! BUT, if you really look at the stark reality of human history, what choices do we have? What do you want for your and your children’s future. Remember. “Those That Do Not Learn From History, Are Doomed To Repeat It”.