Thursday, November 22, 2007

Afghanistan: Majority Taliban, and Kabul could fall next year

At least if you go by land area. The Guardian reports the Taliban now control more than half the country at an estimated 54 percent.

The Senlis Council, an independent British think tank, warns the country could be lost entirely, even as the Taliban front line creeps closer and closer to Kabul:

“It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when ... and in what form. The oft-stated aim of reaching the city in 2008 appears more viable than ever and it is incumbent upon the international community to implement a new strategic paradigm before time runs out.”

Its 110-page report coincides with an equally severe warning from Oxfam. In a report for the House of Commons International Development Committee the humanitarian and aid agency warns that the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating significantly with the country's problems exacerbated by corruption in central and local government.

Senior British and US military commanders privately agree despite their public emphasis on short-term successes against Taliban fighters.

Senlis recommends urgent action, as does Oxfam, but nobody seems to listen or care:
It says that the NATO-led International Security Force of some 40,000 troops should be at least doubled and include forces from Muslim countries as well as Nato states which have refused to send troops to the country.

There is no sign of any move within NATO to send reinforcements to Afghanistan.

While western governments, like the Senlis Council and Oxfam, are increasingly concerned about the lack of effectiveness of President Hamid Karzai's government, there is no agreement about how to solve the problems.

Also interesting to note that “our boy” in Kabul is more and more perceived as less and less effective, kind of like the whole succession of “our boys” in Baghdad.

The domestic political fallout will be huge if the Taliban occupies Kabul in, say, mid-summer 2008, after primaries are over but before the party national conventions. That holds true in spades if Bush’s soul-gazed bosom buddy in Karachi, Pervez Musharraf, continues to dig in his heels about not taking serious action against the Taliban and allies in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands.

Ted Rall was right: If there was a country to invade six yeas ago, it was Pakistan. But, THAT most definitely would have required a military draft.