Friday, October 27, 2006

Afghanistan: In Turmoil

Time to revist Afghanistan, Bush. Not literally, of course. Not in person. Too dangerous. There might be someone on hand with a bazooka. No, I mean it's time to turn our thoughts that way again. There's a good deal of unfinished business there. I know, I know. You fobbed that whole thing off onto NATO. Natty move. But NATO is clearly getting itself into deeper and deeper shit as the Taliban return in force from their refuges in Pakistan, and yesterday's news that large numbers of innocent civilians were killed in an aerial attack by NATO forces certainly does't help.

The Taliban, of course, were the folk we were pleased to help, when we thought it good to watch the Soviets sink into that mire. I suppose they're still putting the arms we supplied them with to good use. We helped them when it was convenient to us--though presumably someone must have known just how fanatical they were. Then when they came to power and showed their colors--in the repression of their own people as well as in offering sancturary to their Al Qaeda soulmates--it became apparent that they were not the friends we had apparently hoped they'd be. After 9/11, I confess that it seemed appropriate to rout them. These were the people, after all, who in their religious zeal had destroyed the Banyan Buddhas--those great, twin monumental carvings in the mountainside, which had stood there peacefully watching over the countryside for centuries. (I don't believe that the Buddha himself would have approved your action, but I myself am not yet that far along in my path to enlighenment.)

So where, Bush, was that spirit of "staying the course"--or these days, of course, "getting the job done"--at the time of Tora Bora? It wasn't only Bin Laden's escape into the hinterland, it was the mass of his loathsome associates. It was the Mullah Omar and his gang of thugs. You let them get away. I guess you were already focused on your Iraq plans at the time, but your inititiative in Afghanistan has proved worse than useless as a result of your defection at the last, critical moment, when you had the opportunity to finish the job you had started.

So now they're coming back, it seems, in droves--well-armed, well-motivated to take back their power, and as brutally ruthless as ever. It seems pretty clear that they're using those innocent villagers as human shields. My guess is that this latest disastrous action on the part of NATO was a set-up; that the Taliban used that village as a decoy, not only drawing NATO's firepower away from themselves, but creating a situation calculated to inflame the wrath of their fellow citizens and generate further support for their (triumphant?) return. As one bereaved and outraged family member cried out in his grief: "They think it's enough to say they're sorry."

It isn't, of course. Along with the Taliban, the resurgence of the opium trade as the sole means of support for many rural communities has assured a state of tension, if not outright emnity between the Afghanis and their Western protectors. With "protection" like this, who can blame them for turning back to the Taliban? It would seem like a choice between two evils, one of them being us.

All in all, another shambles, Bush. I just hope this poor old world will manage to survive another two years of this kind of insesensitivity and ineptitude. There are times I have to wonder if it will.


Anonymous said...

more on the success of the taliban

and...they're already levying taxes they're so entrenched

GringoWithoutBorders said...

I watched an excellent interview with a white women (why do I need to say white, maybe because I feel people will believe a white women more then a brown women) who works with the Red Cross or some Aid organization. She said most of the Afghan civilians are backing the Taliban again because the Northern Alliance is a bunch of criminals who steal their money/property and provide no law and order. They say at least under the Taliban, they had law and order; people felt protected and could make a secure living.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan doubled between 2002 and 2003 to a level 36 times higher than in the last year of rule by the Taliban, according to White House figures released Friday.

There is an excellent 7 Part PBS Frontline Series that provides an update on Taliban/Afghanistan that can be watched for free online at: Excellent!!!!!

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Here is another excellent interview by the BBC in Afghanistan, EXCELLENT: