Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moving Backwards in Afghanistan

Despite the presence of more than 50,000 troops of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the Taliban has taken back control of vast rural areas since the beginning of 2008 and now has a foothold just outside Kabul. Their recent brazen attacks have raised questions about the effectiveness of the War on Terror in Afghanistan and whether any place in the country is safe from the Islamist movement that the war was originally intended to eradicate.(from
Year of the Taiban on the Huffington Post, 06-27-08, by Jamal Dajani*)

Foreign policy in Bush II's administrations has been marked by failed insight, acute incompetence, lack of clarity, and pervasive failure.

Six years ago we invaded Afghanistan to clear out the Taliban, establish democracy and rebuild the country. Today this country is one of the poorest in the world, with abysmal insecurity, no effective central government, democracy in name only, and almost a complete failure to deliver to Afghanistan the materials, money and expertise to bring it up to even a reasonable example of a third world government.

The poppy crop is flourishing. The harvest in August of last year set an all time record making this country the almost sole supplier of world heroin.

Most discouraging is the Taliban situation. The Taliban may be winning. Since January 2008 they have blown up a major prison and freed hundreds of their followers; wreaked havoc at this year's celebration in the capital, Kabul, of the defeat of the Soviets in 1989. And, almost killed the Afghan President,, Hamid Karzai. Earlier in this year they conducted an attack on the best hotel in Kabul, the Serena, although it is surrounded by their best security. More and more villages and land is under Taliban control. This --- despite 50,000 US and NATA troops, millions of dollars spent --- mostly wasted due to a lack of clarity and vision on the part of our leaders and the ineptitude of our "almost hand picked" front man: Hamid Karzai's whose blundering and corrupt administration likes to blame Pakistan for allowing Taliban forces to move back and forth between the two countries from bases in the northwestern mountainous region of Pakistan.

Pakistan's central government has a weak grip on these territories. The USA has given millions of dollars of aid to Pakistan for the purpose of training and supplying Pakistani special forces so they can enter and subdue the Taliban bases. President Musharaff, our supposed "lackey" has instead of using this money for the purposes we intended --- directed 90% of the funds to fortifying the border between Pakistan and India --- on the opposite side of the country.

Maybe we should just stay at home and use these millions, billions and trillions to fix up OUR country --- suffering from a variety of weaknesses: infrastructure, health care, education. environmental protection, corrupt and confusing election methods, financial skulduggery throughout America's corporate entities and financial bastions of power.

Let's clean up, straighten up and restore our own nation and our own liberties.

We certainly don't seem to have any luck overseas -- militarily or diplomatically!!

*Jamal Dajani is the Senior Director of Middle Eastern Programming at Link TV. He has produced more than 1,600 episodes of the Peabody Award winning news show, Mosaic: World News from the Middle East