20 October 2007

Too Early to Tell About Afghanistan

There is some pretty bad news coming out of Afghanistan. According to a report by Chatham House, an influential, non-partisan London-based think tank, Afghanistan is in a slow descent.

This comes on top of an already poor situation where Afghani President Hamid Karzai has called for talks with the Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar and been rebuffed. See AP article here. The International Herald Tribune has a nice analysis of the situation here.

Additionally, according to a journalist inside the country for the last year, the roads near the capital are becoming too dangerous to travel, see here.

Basically, we’ve been in Afghanistan for nearly six years, and the Taliban is still a potent force, still being run by Mullah Omar, and Osama bin Laden is still running around recruiting bearded nutters to blow themselves up to commit murder.

There is some good news, however. Pakistan has been fighting against the Taliban sympathisers in Waziristan, see here.

If the Taliban are actually stopped from crossing back and forth across the border, coalition forces might actually make some real progress against them. The Chatham House report notes that one of the chief problems fighting the Taliban has been their ability to hop across the border to safety where the coalition forces are not allowed to follow.

My hunch is that unless the coalition and Pakistan can crush the Taliban, really, not just as a temporary PR exercise (also known as “lying about it”), there is a disturbing chance that radical Islamists will wind up taking control of Pakistan itself. The attempted assassination of Benazir Bhutto is stunning in its scope, 133 dead and at least 400 injured. If you do a Google search for “Pakistan” and “bomb” the first 350 entries (that’s all I had patience for) are all of suicide bomb attacks within Pakistan, most of which were not heard about in the West. In other words, Pakistan is struggling over its future. And remember, they have nukes.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home