- Still, six years after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, violence persists in much of southern Afghanistan where the government has little presence, and recent militant attacks in Pakistan highlight a long-term regional problem with al-Qaida and the Taliban. Civilian deaths caused by U.S. and NATO forces in the first half of the year rattled the government, and more foreign fighters flowed into the country.
— Associated Press (12/31/07)
As results off Decider George’s so-called Iraq surge are still up in the air, the huge problems in Afghanistan persist. Much of concentrated efforts of the Islamic jihad seems to been refocused on a country that should by now been pretty-well straightened out — six years of fighting has created an even more long-term quagmire than Iraq.
Last year, now 2007, 110 US troops died in Afghanistan, the highest number since the whole show started in October 2002. Along with the Americans, more than 6,500 people were killed as violence touched every section of the country.
- “The thing that concerns me most is the general perception in Afghanistan that the government is not capable of meeting the basic demands of its population, that it’s involved in corruption … that it’s unable to deliver services in key rural areas, that it’s not able to protect its population, especially the police.”
— Seth Jones, an analyst with the RAND Corp. (AP story, 12/31/07)
And the situation?
- Preoccupied with establishing an empire, U.S. leaders lost interest in al-Qaeda. Indeed in March 2002 President Bush referring to bin Ladin declared, “I truly am not that concerned about him.” As for the al-Qaeda forces in Pakistan (whose very existence close U.S. ally Musharraf denied), they were Pakistan’s problem. The U.S. had unleashed a huge problem on the Pakistani state by invading its neighbor, toppling the Afghan government, and forcing al-Qaeda to relocate into Pakistan where sympathetic tribesmen (who have always resisted firm incorporation into the state) offered them safe haven. Pashtuns straddle the boundary of the two countries; Pakistani Pashtuns are largely sympathetic to the Taliban, and now a Pakistani Taliban is growing in strength in the Taliban and elsewhere.
— Gary Leupp, Professor of History at Tufts University and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, (posted 12/29/07, counterpunch.org)
So there we have it. Decider George has put the US in a shitwad of a spot. Instead of going after the people behind Sept. 11, 2001, he put US troops into Iraq, which had nothing to do with the World Trade Center attacks. And in doing so, pried open then inserted the entire body into the can of worms that is Pakistan.
No winning for losing with an arrogant, disturbed bunch in DC.