Saturday :: Mar 10, 2007

Canada: Afghanistan is Slipping Away

by soccerdad

A Canadian government report on Afghanistan suggests that the West’s hold on events in Afghanistan is tenuous and time is short to avoid complete defeat. Without further commitment from NATO countries the conflict could last for generations, assuming defeat can be avoided.

“It is in our view doubtful that this mission can be accomplished given the limited resources that NATO is currently investing in Afghanistan,” said the report by the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. “The current NATO contingent doesn’t have enough troops to go toe-to-toe with the Taliban.”
Former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander told the committee that it would take five generations to “make a difference in Afghanistan,” while Land Forces Commander Andrew Leslie estimated that it would take at least two decades to complete the mission.

A large Taliban offensive is expected this summer and America’s allies had envisioned doing peace keeping and reconstruction, not going toe-to-toe with the Taliban.

“The Afghans are holding elections in their own minds as to whether or not the Westerners can provide the wherewithal to make life better or let the Taliban come back; at least they are predictable,” Canadian Committee Chairman Colin Kenny told me. “We have a very short window of time in which to show them we can assist them.”
Dawn Black, a member of the House of Commons noted that the level of security is poor. In addition people outside the bases are starving. She also noted the poor record of winning hearts and minds.
“How are you winning the hearts and minds of these people when you drive a tank through their farms?” Black said.
Incidents such as this don’t help:
Nine civilians, including four children, were killed in Afghanistan when US planes dropped two 2,000lb bombs on their mud home.
The day before we had this
The incident took place after a US convoy was targeted in a suicide bombing on a busy highway. Witnesses say that as they drove away from the scene of the attack, US Marines opened fire indiscriminately at cars and pedestrians along the road. "I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction," said Ahmed Najib, a 23-year-old who was shot in the shoulder. "I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans."
And of course the credibility of US troops suffers when they erase all the images, i.e. evidence, from the cameras of the reporters present at this latter incident. Link

The Canadian report was blunt:

“Anyone expecting to see the emergence in Afghanistan within the next several decades of a recognizable modern democracy capable of delivering justice and amenities to its people is dreaming in Technicolor,” the report said.
“The three primary forces in Afghan politics [are] armed power, tribal loyalties and corruption,” the report said. “Eliminating corruption in a place like Afghanistan is probably a pipe dream. …
“Any attempts to centralize control are complicated by the fact that Afghanistan’s economy is almost totally dependent on the sale of opium, and the opium marketplace is controlled by the warlords and, increasingly, the Taliban.”

Its difficult to come up with any thing new to say about the continued stupidity of these disasters. These kinds of interventions are simply not solely military in nature. There must be a predominately political, well planned and executed process in order to have any chance of success. Contrary to the BS spewed by Washington not everyone has a burning desire for democracy such that they are willing to die for some abstract concept, the purveyors of which, are unable to meet the basic needs of the people. Given the choice of living under a repressive Taliban regime or having a 2000 lb bomb dropped on your mud hut I’d wager that they would choose the Taliban.

soccerdad :: 1:49 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!