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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Afghanistan update 

The Asia Times has an interesting article about Afghanistan -- interesting as in the old Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times". It covers a lot of ground in describing what has gone wrong there and why and is worth reading in full. Here is its section about future problems:
What lies ahead is, therefore, becoming extremely difficult to predict. Even with 2,500 additional troops [there are about 20,000 US troops there already plus about 20,000 from NATO including 5,400 troops from Britain, 2,500 from Canada and 2,300 from the Netherlands] it is highly doubtful whether NATO can succeed in defeating the Taliban.
For one thing, the Taliban enjoy grassroots support within Afghanistan. There is no denying this ground reality.
Second, the Taliban are becoming synonymous with Afghan resistance. The mindless violations of the Afghan code of honor by the coalition forces during their search-and-destroy missions and the excessive use of force during military operations leading to loss of innocent lives have provoked widespread revulsion among Afghan people. . . .
Third, . . . the non-Pashtun groups in the eastern, northern and western regions also [are beginning] to organize themselves. . . .
Fourth, at a certain point it becomes unavoidable that regional powers will get drawn into the strife . . .
I hope Canada is planning a real exit strategy, even if they won't announce one. By "real" exit strategy, I don't mean just the idiotic "whenever we win" approach, but rather a strategic plan showing both what we as an individual nation can realistically achieve over there and the fail-safe points after which we would reevaluate our military purpose.
I think we're going to need it.

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