Welcome To Jihadistan
Newweek International has a major story on Bush's spetacular failure that is going on in Afghanistan:
The Rise of Jihadistan Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they—and Al Qaeda's leaders—can operate freely.
By Ron Moreau, Sami Yousafzai and Michael Hirsh
Oct. 2, 2006 issue - You don't have to drive very far from Kabul these days to find the Taliban. In Ghazni province's Andar district, just over a two-hour trip from the capital on the main southern highway, a thin young man, dressed in brown and wearing a white prayer cap, stands by the roadside waiting for two NEWSWEEK correspondents. It is midday on the central Afghan plains, far from the jihadist-infested mountains to the east and west. Without speaking, the sentinel guides his visitors along a sandy horse trail toward a mud-brick village within sight of the highway. As they get closer a young Taliban fighter carrying a walkie-talkie and an AK-47 rifle pops out from behind a tree. He is manning an improvised explosive device, he explains, in case Afghan or U.S. troops try to enter the village.
. . .NATO officials say the Taliban seems to be flush with cash, thanks to the guerrillas' alliance with prosperous opium traffickers. The fighters are paid more than $5 a day—good money in Afghanistan, and at least twice what the new Afghan National Army's 30,000 soldiers receive. It's a bad sign, too, that a shortage of local police has led Karzai to approve a plan allowing local warlords—often traffickers themselves—to rebuild their private armies. U.N. officials have spent the past three years trying to disband Afghanistan's irregular militias, which are accused of widespread human-rights abuses. Now the warlords can rearm with the government's blessing. Afghanistan is "unfortunately well on its way" to becoming a "narco-state," NATO's supreme commander, Marine Gen. Jim Jones, said before Congress last week.
. . .Indeed, the aid numbers for the past five years are grim. In the first years of reconstruction, aid amounted to just $67 a year per Afghan, says Beth DeGrasse of the government-funded U.S. Institute of Peace. She compares that figure with other recent nation-building exercises such as Bosnia ($249) and East Timor ($256), citing figures from the International Monetary Fund. "You get what you pay for in these endeavors, and we tried to do Afghanistan on the cheap," she says. "And we are going to pay for it." International conferences since 2002 have pledged some $15 billion, but countries have ponied up less than half of that so far. And the Afghan government estimates it will need $27.5 billion through 2010 to rebuild the country and its institutions.
. . .Pakistan fostered the Taliban movement in the 1990s as a way of holding sway over Afghanistan and undercutting India's influence there. Those ties persist. Despite Bush's praise of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf—"We're on the hunt together," Bush said at a joint news conference on Friday—U.S. and British military officials say Musharraf has allowed the Taliban to set up headquarters near the southwestern city of Quetta. Musharraf has also cut a deal giving militants free rein in north Waziristan; since then cross-border attacks have increased. Senior U.S. officials say that Musharraf caved in to Qaeda sympathizers who fiercely resisted the Pakistani Army's incursion into the tribal region last year. Musharraf reassured Bush last week that the Waziristan tribal leaders had agreed not to permit Taliban or Qaeda cross-border activity, but the militants say no such commitment was made. "Instead of eliminating the militants, the Pakistani military operation only added to their strength," says Ayaz Amir, a respected political columnist for the daily Dawn newspaper. The Afghan Taliban's recent offensive has only raised the morale of their Pakistani brethren.
You know what. Despite the fact that pretty much everybody else supported going to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan - whether they are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Jew or Gentile, Gog or Magog, I was opposed to the full on war in Afghanistan.
Even though the international support and sanction has tempered my misgivings (plus the fact that any other war now looks good compared to the debacle we have in Eye-Rack) the events and the failures that have come to bear has confirmed what I hated most about the Afghan war. That it was done on the fly, done on the cheap, it was done half-assed with its ultimate goal of capturing Osama fucked up from the beginning.
The fact that they sent only 3 dozen Special Forces troops to fight against 1,500-2000 Al-Qaeda militants AND search for Bin Laden in Tora Bora suggests that the Bush administration WANTS to fail. The fact that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda now has safe haven in the newly autonomous region of Waziristan and the fact that for the last two years the Bushies haven't come up with ANY new clues for finding Bin Laden makes the case even more clear.
I would have felt comfortable about the war in Afghanistan if it actually took at least some of the national sacrifice that we made in WWII, hell even a slice of Vietnam might have sufficed. But nope, Bush told us to go shopping instead and give the corporate welfare queens more tax cuts. Now the result is that it doesn't take a two-hour's drive from Kabul to encounter Taliban resistance right now, especially since Taliban soldiers are BETTER PAID than the reputed national army. And helping the Afghan people? Ha, we give more money to the Bosniacs than the Afghans.
Maybe if we are lucky, Bush will again defer THIS conflict to better head of state in the future before he fucks it up even more.