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The Forum > Article Comments > Whither Afghanistan? > Comments

Whither Afghanistan? : Comments

By Heidi Kingstone, published 20/2/2013

Stubborn and meddling regional players, the politicisation of aid, the new Great Game, rampant corruption, unrealistic expectations and misguided policies help explain the underlying reasons for the lack of real success.

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I think we can all agree it's a mess. And those speaking the truth will admit it's going to continue to be a mess, probably worse.

Afghanistan seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and yet in the middle of everywhere. There has never been a time, certainly not in living memory, when foreign states didn't have their dirty fingers probing its wounds.

And yet such a beautiful country, so full of potential.

However the tribal and religious prejudices that riddle the place are not going away any time soon.

If anything the troubles there are under-reported, and the western media seem happy slavishly and uncritically spouting the official line du jour. And please don't make me laugh about how the trillions spent by the USA, in getting 8 girls to go to university, is some kind of sign of progress. The fact is, the USA and all the foreign forces have lost their war in Afghanistan, have failed*to achieve what they wasted so much blood and treasure for, and that's why they're leaving. They couldn't beat a force of mediaeval goatherds.

By 2010, the Taliban already had shadow governments in 33 out of 34 provinces. Last year, they got heavy guns onto high buildings in Kabul and fired down on government and foreign buildings. Didn't hear much about that in the media, did you? Nor the beheadings in Kabul in broad daylight.

Perhaps the most insightful comment I saw was by a grizzled Taliban commander imprisoned in Kabul, interview on youtube.

"How long after the foreign forces withdraw do you think it will be before the Taliban take over?" the journalist asked.

"About five minutes" he said, deadpan.

At least they won't be as corrupt as the USA and the allies it has crawling up its arse.
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Wednesday, 20 February 2013 7:56:48 AM
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Dear Jardine,

Can't agree more.

Only way the Allies will prevent the Taliban from retaking Afghanistan is the leave their troops there for another 50 years.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Wednesday, 20 February 2013 2:11:09 PM
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JKJ: I largely agree with what you say, but would just add some further points.

The media largely seem to think that the history of western involvement (meddling?) in Afghanistan's affairs started in October 2001. In fact there was a lengthy and sorry history of western (largely British) attempts to control Afghanistan in the 19th century, not least because then, as now, it was a major source of heroin. In the 19th century heroin was crucial to the pacification of China; it is now the CIA's single biggest source of funds for its off the books financing of terrorism around the world. All of this has been amply documented by Alfred McCoy, Peter Dale Scott and others, authors unread by most media commentators.

The second point is that there is a huge fight going on in Washington at the moment between those who favour admitting defeat and getting out of Afghanistan (the realists) and the Pentagon who see Afghanistan as an important cog in their encirclement policy. Big Oil has a vested interest in the military remaining as Afghanistan is the only geographically/politically feasible route for a pipeline from the Caspian Basin to a warm water port.

The reviewer talks about the "ostensible" reason for the invasion of 2001. It is a pity she did not examine the real reasons so tied up is Afghanistan in the western media with the mythology of the "9/11" attacks.

I am still waiting for OLO to be brave enough to publish something that actually questions the mythology.
Posted by James O'Neill, Wednesday, 20 February 2013 2:55:07 PM
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