Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beginning to sound like 1989... [update]

... when the Soviet Union was chased from Afghanistan:
20 Dead as Taliban Attackers Storm Kabul Offices
NYT, 12 Feb 2009
This article was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr., Abdul Waheed Wafa and Sangar Rahimi and written by Mr. Oppel.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen struck government buildings at three sites here on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding 57. It was a complex and closely coordinated attack that demonstrated the ease with which the insurgents could penetrate even Kabul, Afghanistan’s heavily fortified capital.
Note: Not in Kandahar, not in some village near the Pakistan border... in Kabul - the only place nominally controlled by the Karzai government!

[Note: I'll include some comments from Paul Reickoff regarding the Afghan war when transcript is posted by The Rachel Maddow Show.]

Realizing that SoS Clinton faces myriad challenges left by her predecessors, I'd still like to see some coherent statement regarding our ultimate goals in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, I have a radical tactical suggestion:
Encourage the only currently thriving export industry in the country: Opium poppy cultivation!
Our current eradication policy seems only to be driving the Afghans into the camps of warlords & the Taliban. Let's legitimize the drug business (who knows - maybe we could adopt a sane drug policy here at home.).
[See, e.g., Prohibition for a none-too-sane approach that we finally abandoned!]

30,000 more troops?
Okay... to do what?

Global Economic Crisis Poses Top Threat to U.S., Spy Chief Warns
Published: February 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — The new director of national intelligence told Congress on Thursday that global economic turmoil and the instability it could ignite had outpaced terrorism as the most urgent threat facing the United States.
But Mr.
[Dennis C.] Blair also spread around the blame for Afghanistan’s problems. A day after a brazen attack by Taliban gunmen in Kabul, the Afghan capital, Mr. Blair named the American-backed government of President Hamid Karzai as part of the problem in Afghanistan.

“Kabul’s inability to build effective, honest, and loyal provincial and district level institutions capable of providing basic services and sustainable, licit livelihoods erodes its popular legitimacy and increases the influence of local warlords and the Taliban,” Mr. Blair said.

[emphasis added.]
On the bright side: Obama's appointees seem willing to speak the truth.

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