Things look extremely awful in Afghanistan. The Taliban and al Qaeda are extremely strong and growing stronger as time passes with the outlook of reversing this picture nonexistent and nothing in the political discourse nationally or internationally offering otherwise. How the last few years have changed things for the worse in Afghanistan, the campaign went from NATO and the Afghanistan security forces having to hunt down the remnants of these broken and defeated groups to them being continually put on the defensive by these entities. The Taliban now attack in force well-fortified U.S. bases; they ambush French, other NATO and Afghanistan forces with significant numbers of fighters and unfortunately significant lethal effectiveness. The Afghanistan government cant even have medium or large scale public celebrations to commemorate important national events for fear of attack. Truly profound changes are needed in Afghanistan or it will be lost. Currently, U.S. politicians talk about sending more troops to Afghanistan like more troops is a magic bullet to success in Afghanistan, much much more is needed good judgment warrants. The U.S. does a great disservice to the world if they wait for the next U.S. President to address and solve this problem, by the time the next President picks his cabinet and gets them confirmed and they and their staffs get up to speed on Afghanistan six months at minimum will have gone by and the Taliban will have become deeper entrenched in Afghanistan society. The American people cant expect President Bush alone to chart the profoundly different course needed in Afghanistan he does not have the credibility, too many Democrats, Independents and for that matter Republicans have lost faith in him. What needs to happen is the President and the Democratic leaders of Congress need to agree on a special envoy to Afghanistan, someone non-partisan, who can negotiate with our NATO allies and the Afghanistan government to reach a dramatique change in strategy. The President and the Democratic leaders need to come together on a general framework for this new strategy. Even if the Special Envoy fails to convince other NATO countries and/or the Afghanistan government to adopt a new winning strategy in Afghanistan it is worth a try because the writing is clearly on the wall that the present strategy in Afghanistan is failing. This profoundly new strategy should contain the following. The Afghanistan government has to come out with laws and policies to do everything possible to end the illicit drug trade in Afghanistan, the growing of the poppy crop has to completely end, cultural considerations have to be dropped in this matter. The Afghanistan heroin trade is fueling the Taliban and al Qaeda movement, the decision for the Afghan people is now clear, either they want a democratic society that respects human rights or the Talibans brutal middle ages type of society it is one or the other; if they want the former they have to turn off this money faucet for the Taliban. To this end, the Afghanistan government has to allow countrywide aerial spraying to destroy the poppy crop, effectuate capital punishment on caught heroin drug traffickers trafficking significant quantities, have mandatory prison sentences, albeit initially only a few months, on any farmer caught growing a poppy crop. On the flip side of this the U.S. and countries throughout the world have to commit billions per year to support a farming industry that provides a livable wage to small farmers in Afghanistan for non-poppy crops; these countries must recognize it is more prudent to spend billions to support farming than on bullets, bombs and other military expenditures the Afghanistan militancy is and will cause. This new strategy should bring about from the Afghanistan government the following type of commitment from them on the foreign jihadists question. The Afghan government should effectuate capital punishment on foreign fighters (engaged in the militancy) captured in Afghanistan. This foreign jihad movement is a significant factor in the militancy in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan government will never see the end of the latter without seeing the end of the former. And this does not matter whether these foreign jihadists are from America, Britain, Iraq and even Pakistan. The Afghanistan government has to speak out loud and clear there is no Holy War in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan people are just trying to create a country where people have their full allotment of human rights, the right to choose who governs them, the right to a fair court system, the right to an education, etc.; the only way to speak in this manner is to have the law provide the maximum just penalty on all foreigners engaging in jihad in Afghanistan. This new strategy should bring about the agreement of the Afghanistan government to build border fencing along the Afghanistan border with Pakistan. The present state of things on the Pakistan border issue will never allow Afghanistan and NATO forces to get control of the security situation in Afghanistan. Presently, the situation is that the Taliban and al Qaeda forces assemble, build-up, train and plot in areas of Pakistan right over the Afghanistan/Pakistan border than slip into Afghanistan and carry out attacks and then slip back into Pakistan and repeat the cycle. How can the Afghanistan and NATO forces be expected to defeat this enemy when it has a safe zone like this it is impossible. To expect the Pakistan government to completely and long-term shut down these safe havens for Afghanistan militants in Pakistan is unrealistic even if they were one-hundred percent behind it and had it as their top priority for they are not in control in these areas and these areas are too remote. The only alternative is too seal off these areas; look the Israeli government has done it with success against Palestinian militants with their concrete barriers blocking off access from the Palestinian territories and with smaller scale success the United States and the Iraq government have done it in Baghdad with the walled-off sectarian neighborhoods. Although Afghanistan border citizens wont like it and will probably heavily protest the Afghanistan central government will have to convey to them it has no real choice in the matter, it cant get a handle on the security issue without these steps. The border locals will probably proclaim to work and live we need unfettered access across the border, well these people need to understand that this is the 21st Century where nations throughout the world secure their borders for national security reasons and border people throughout the world have to cross borders at specified locations and show proof of citizenship that is the way of life in modern times one they will have to accept. Of course the Afghanistan/Pakistan border is so long that border fencing across the entire border is not feasible within the next few years; however, just like along portions of the U.S./Mexico border where there is border fencing, those physical barriers even only for limited distances make a difference there is less unwanted crossing because of them.