December 18th, 2008
10:42 AM ET

Reality TV and the new Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/23/afghanistan.deaths.insurgents/art.afghan.jpg]

David Ignatius
The Washington Post

It's easy to get depressed reading the news out of Afghanistan. The insurgents are getting stronger, the United States is sending another 20,000 troops there - and yet even Defense Secretary Bob Gates admits that American soldiers aren't a long-term solution. So what to do?

In sorting out these policy dilemmas, it helps to talk to Afghans such as Saad and Jahid Mohseni, who are struggling with these problems every day. The two entrepreneurial brothers are running a media business in the war zone of Kabul and, far from giving up, they keep thinking of innovative ways to adapt and survive.

I first met the Mohseni brothers in April at the offices of their Moby Media Group in Kabul. We met again in Washington last week, and their comments convinced me that many U.S. policymakers are misdiagnosing the real danger in Afghanistan. What will destroy that country's experiment in democracy isn't the Taliban or other insurgent groups, but the lawlessness and corruption that have been allowed to fester under the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The core issue is bad governance. The biggest threat the Mohseni brothers face right now isn't insurgent attacks from Taliban fighters. It's kidnappings by the criminal gangs that are destroying normal life in Kabul. "The resurgence of the Taliban is a result of the public's hunger for law and order," Saad Mohseni told me.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Global 360° • Robert Gates
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Neil

    I have to agree with Cindy on this one, people, the world even are forgetting about Afghanistan.

    December 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm |
  2. Cindy

    It's about time that we get something on Afghanistan. The media as a whole has forgotten it!

    The Mohensi brothers should be applauded. At least they, with their TV station, are trying to do something to bring normalcy and togetherness in their nation. I hope that they keep having great success and that they stay safe.

    We need to hear more stories like this on regular people trying to rise above the violence and bring peace. Let's hope that we can figure out a plan to help them get that peace.


    December 18, 2008 at 10:53 am |