An Occupation in Shambles

October 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Posted in Political Economy | 1 Comment
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As last week’s reports of NATO allowing free passage to Taliban leaders, even ferrying them on NATO helicopters, for negotiations with the Hamid Karzai regime indicate, President Obama’s deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan has been a spectacular failure. It has failed to dislodge the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and as Scott Atran wrote in the New York Times, the Taliban leadership is contemplating negotiations not because they “fear defeat at the hands of the Americans, but because they worry that their new generation of midlevel commanders is getting out of control.


Insurgent attacks, he reports, are up 60 percent thus far this year compared to 2009 according to UN reports and Taliban numbers are up tenfold since 2001 and there is not a single unit of the Afghan Army that “can hold its own against the Taliban troops.”

Continued drone attacks across the border in Pakistan has solidified local support for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda–or at the very least turned public opinion against the United States. After that country has suffered the worst drought in its history, and at one time one-fifth of its land was under water, not only has US aid not matched aid to other countries suffering catastrophic natural disasters, but to also expect the country to prosecute a ‘war on terror’ rather than rebuilding its shattered infrastructure boggles the mind!


Meanwhile, President Karzai’s government is increasingly blase about accepting wads of euros from the Iranians (and presumably others) in a blatantly corrupt administration. And across the border, in Iraq, Wikileaks have exposed official US military documents recording instance upon instance of torture by Iraqi forces on the civilian population.


Underlining the incoherence of the current policy, NATO is approaching Russia for military assistance in Afghanistan–precisely when they are negotiating with the Taliban. Does anyone remember that it was the Mujahideen which drove out Soviet troops with American assistance. While this is in part, because supply lines through Pakistan is no longer secure and Russia provides the only available alternate supply route, it would incense the Taliban that the NATO is trying to entice into a coalition with the Karzai government. Can such a policy be outbidden for sheer incoherence and downright stupidity? Or is it merely a sign of complete desperation?


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  1. Or…one can’t help but wonder if the Russians are contemplating coming in to take revenge on the Afghans for past defeats, or to help the Afghans take revenge on the US… If they convince the US to take its hardware out of Eastern Europe, and then armed the Afghans to help get the US out of the region, that would be a coup, no? Or…

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