Thursday, November 22, 2007

Chaos in Afghanistan

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A troubling report from Reuters:

The conflict in Afghanistan has reached "crisis proportions," with the resurgent Taliban present in more than half the country and closing in on Kabul, a report said on Wednesday.

If NATO, the lead force operating in Afghanistan, is to have any impact against the insurgency, troop numbers will have to be doubled to at least 80,000, the report said.

"The Taliban has shown itself to be a truly resurgent force," the Senlis Council, an independent think-tank with a permanent presence in Afghanistan, wrote in a study entitled "Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the brink."

"Its ability to establish a presence throughout the country is now proven beyond doubt," it said. "The insurgency now controls vast swaths of unchallenged territory including rural areas, some district centers, and important road arteries."

Senlis said its research had established that the Taliban, driven out of Afghanistan by the U.S. invasion in late 2001, had rebuilt a permanent presence in 54 percent of the country and was finding it easy to recruit new followers.

It was also increasingly using Iraq-style tactics, such as roadside and suicide bombs, to powerful effect, and had built a stable network of financial support, funding its operations with the proceeds from Afghanistan's booming opium trade.

"It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when," the report said.

"Their oft-stated aim of reaching the city in 2008 appears more viable than ever."

Yes, Afghanistan. The forgotten war. The neglected war. The abandoned war.

Certainly not by Canadians. Certainly not by those who are over there doing the fighting and trying to make something of that oft-abused country.

Rather, by Bush and the Iraq- and Iran-obsessed warmongers around him. For them, what was the Afghan war? Something to do in response to 9/11, an attack on Taliban and al Qaeda, a declaration of American military might. (There was the high-falutin' rhetoric of naton-building, too, but they were hardly serious about it.)

But then... what? Then it was Iraq, with almost all hands on deck for that disastrous misadventure. The Taliban was removed from power, but it is back, and powerful once again. Al Qaeda was weakened, pushed back into the mountainous border region with Pakistan, it too is still powerful. Simply put, the job was not done, not nearly completed, and the U.S. withdrew its interest and attention and launched a new war in the Middle East. NATO is in Afghanistan, and the U.S. with it, but clearly the war is not going well.

And it's not like any of this is new.

I wrote about the coming anarchy back in July of last year. At the time, the top British commander in Afghanistan described the situation as "close to anarchy". Well, chaos and anarchy may well be at hand. And, before long, the Taliban may very well be back in power in Kabul.

There has been much talk, and rightly so, of Bush's failure in Iraq. But what of his failure in Afghanistan?

It was a convenient war to wage, until it was more convenient to move on. Karzai may still preside over Kabul, and the Taliban and al Qaeda may not have quite the sanctuary they had before, but, otherwise, what exactly has gone right, in the long run, in Afghanistan?

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • "close to anarchy"

    You talkin' 'bout Washington or Kabul?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 AM  

  • I wish you people knew what you were talking about before you write this crap. Come here let me show you around and maybe you will learn something about how it is really going here. The fearsome Taliban you talk about are done whenever they pop up they die. The truth will set you free.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:12 AM  

  • Behind every Anonymous is an opinionated drive-by shooter and a coward.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:36 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home