US Marines walk through opium poppy field at Maranjan village in Helmand province on April 25, 2011 as they take patrol with their team and Afghanistan National Police. (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)
The White House, unable and unwilling to change its decade-long mismanagement of Afghanistan and Pakistan, has suddenly decided to change its top brass – military and civilian alike – on both sides of the Durand Line.
The latest turn of this revolving door is described as ‘a work in progress,’ with mid-term terminations for the US ambassadors to Kabul and Islamabad, followed shortly by the sacking of the US Commander in Afghanistan.
On the July 4, 2006, against a backdrop of the 82nd Airborne Division’s band playing country western hits in full BDU, I had the honor of introducing the Russian Deputy Chief of Mission to the American Ambassador at the newly unveiled US embassy compound.
I had no idea at the time that Ronald E. Neumann, a distinguished career FSO in his own right and the son of former ambassador Robert G. Neumann (the only second-generation US Ambassador to Afghanistan), would be the last of his post to complete his mission without being cut off at the knees by the very White House he served.