by Declan Walsh and Richard Norton Taylor
After six years of US-led military support and billions of pounds in aid,
security in Afghanistan is "deteriorating" and President Hamid Karzai's
government controls less than a third of the country, America's top
intelligence official has admitted.
Mike McConnell testified in Washington that Karzai controls about 30% of
Afghanistan and the Taliban 10%, and the remainder is under tribal control.
The Afghan government angrily denied the US director of national
intelligence's assessment yesterday, insisting it controlled "over 360" of
the country's 365 districts. "This is far from the facts and we completely
deny it," said the defence ministry.
But the gloomy comments echoed even more strongly worded recent reports by
thinktanks, including one headed by the former Nato commander General James
Jones, which concluded that "urgent changes" were required now to "prevent
Afghanistan becoming a failed state".
Although Nato forces have killed thousands of insurgents, including several
commanders, an unrelenting drip of violence has eroded Karzai's grip in the
provinces, providing fuel to critics who deride him as "the mayor of Kabul".
. . .
A big injection of foreign troops has failed to bring stability. The US has
almost 50,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and - twice as many as in 2004 - while
the UK has 7,700, mostly in Helmand. Another 2,200 US marines are due to
arrive next month to combat an expected Taliban surge. . . .
An Oxfam report yesterday said international and national security forces,
as well as warlords, criminals and the Taliban, were perceived by ordinary
Afghans as posing security threats.
Declan Walsh, "US-led Troops Launch
Largest Assault on Taliban Since 2001," Guardian, January 15, 2006
[The British Government calls the Taliban "terrorists" and "extremists", but
people in Kandahar associate it with security. Before the 2001 invasion,
they say, they could walk the streets safely as long as they complied with
the movement's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Now even a simple
outing to the local market is seen as a risk, and the Taliban, established
as a response to lawlessness in the 1990s, is gaining fresh strength.--Chris
Sands, "We want the Taliban back, say ordinary Afghans," Independent,
April 8, 2007]
[Yet the evidence is that the US government wanted the Soviets to invade
and did what it could to provoke it. According to Secretary of State Robert
Gates 1997 book "From the Shadows" the CIA started giving aid to Islamic
rebels in Afghanistan six months before the Soviets invaded. This was
confirmed and detailed in an interview with Zbignew Brzezinski, Jimmy
Carter's National Security Advisor in 1998 in the French journal Le Nouvel
Observateur. In the interview Brzezinski explained that Jimmy Carter signed
an order on July 3 of 1979 to give aid to the mujahadeen and that he
(Brzezinski) wrote Carter a note that same day saying "this aid was going
to induce a Soviet military intervention". . . .
One could imagine another movie about Afghanistan, about real heroic
resistance, about the women of the Revolutionary Association of Afghan
Woman (RAWA). They've struggled against fundamentalism and all the regimes
oppressing Afghanistan since 1977. In a recent comunique they wrote
"Instead of defeating Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Gulbuddini terrorists and
disarming the Northern Alliance, the foreign troops are creating confusion
among the people of the world. We believe that if these troops leave
Afghanistan, our people will not feel any kind of vacuum but rather will
become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts. In
such a situation, they will face the Taliban and Northern Alliance without
their national' mask, and rise to fight with these terrorist enemies.
Neither the US nor any other power wants to release Afghan people from the
fetters of the fundamentalists."--Stanley Heller, "Brzezinski and
Charlie Wilson's War," counterpunch.org, December 26, 2007]
Zia Sarhadi, "Western
coalition unravelling under pressure from resistance in Afghanistan,"
muslimedia.com, April 2008
[According to RAWA, an independent organization of Afghan women,
prostitution has become widespread in conservative Afghanistan since the
2001 US ouster of Taliban.--"Sex for Bread in New
Afghanistan," islamonline.net, May 19, 2008]
[Forty nations are embroiled in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Anyone who
travels through the country with Western troops soon realizes that NATO
forces would have to be increased tenfold for peace to be even a remote
possibility.--Ullrich Fichtner, "Why
NATO Troops Can't Deliver Peace in Afghanistan," Spiegel, May 29, 2008]
[What the U.S. really wants, says Tariq Ali, is "to construct an army able
to suppress its own population but incapable of defending the nation from
outside powers; a civil administration with no control over planning or
social infrastructure, which is in the hands of Western NGOs; and a
government whose foreign policy marches in step with Washington's."--Eric
the U.S. Wants in Afghanistan," socialistworker.org, May 31, 2008]
forces to blame for rising violence in Afghanistan: Karzai," CBC
News, June 2, 2008
[Legal experts concerned that use of the weapons broke international law
simply renamed them.--Michael Smith, "Britain admits to using 'brutal' vacuum bomb against
Taliban," Australian, June 23, 2008]
Alison Smale, "Afghanistan
Is in Its Worst Shape Since 2001, European Diplomat Says," New York
Times, September 14, 2008
Charles Bremner and Michael Evans, "British
envoy says mission in Afghanistan is doomed," Times, October 2, 2008
Gary Leupp, "Seven Years in
Afghanistan: From 'War on Terror' to 'War of Terror',"
counterpunch.org, October 7, 2008
Graeme Smith, "Reversal of fortune leaves Kabul
under Taliban's thumb," Globe and Mail, October 14, 2008
[Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both want to send more American
troops to Afghanistan. Both are wrong. History cries out to them, but they
are not listening.--Stephen Kinzer, "The reality of war in
Afghanistan," Boston Globe, October 15, 2008]