Wednesday :: May 3, 2006

Didn't Bush Say He Won Afghanistan?

by Steve

The Taliban, you remember them, right? The folks that Bush left intact in the mountains of southern Afghanistan when he allowed Rummy to redirect $700 million to Iraq war planning without congressional authorization. You remember them, don’t you?

They’re back. And they’re back with their buds.

Building on a winter campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations and the knowledge that American troops are leaving, the Taliban appear to be moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding the rural areas of southern Afghanistan with weapons and men.
Each spring with the arrival of warmer weather, the fighting season here starts up, but the scale of the militants' presence and their sheer brazenness have alarmed Afghans and foreign officials far more than in previous years.
"The Taliban and Al Qaeda are everywhere," a shopkeeper, Haji Saifullah, told the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, as the general strolled through the bazaar of this town to talk to people. "It is all right in the city, but if you go outside the city, they are everywhere, and the people have to support them. They have no choice."
The fact that American troops are pulling out of southern Afghanistan in the coming months, and handing matters over to NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists, has given a lift to the insurgents, and increased the fears of Afghans.
The arrival of large numbers of Taliban in the villages, flush with money and weapons, has dealt a blow to public confidence in the Afghan government, already undermined by lack of tangible progress and frustration with corrupt and ineffective leaders. This small one-street town is in the Taliban heartland, and the message from the townspeople was bleak.
Uruzgan, the province where President Hamid Karzai first rallied support against the Taliban in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, is now, four years later, in the thrall of the Islamic militants once more, and the provincial capital is increasingly surrounded by areas in Taliban control, local and American officials acknowledge. A recent report by a member of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan shown to The New York Times detailed similar fears.

If you want to know how bad things are in Afghanistan, even the Bush Administration says that things are worse in Afghanistan than they are in Iraq.

The Bush administration is alarmed, according to a Western intelligence official close to the administration. He said that while senior members of the administration consider the situation in Iraq to be not as bad as portrayed in the press, in Afghanistan the situation is worse than it has been generally portrayed.

Think about that, and then ask yourself why the Democrats still seem unable to hammer this administration daily for its ability to spend billions and fail in a war we were told we won in Afghanistan years ago.

Steve :: 9:23 AM :: Comments (20) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!