Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

June 20, 2006

The Taliban Makes a Comeback

Almost two years ago, Rummy said Afghanistan was a "breathtaking accomplishment":

"The Soviet Union took 200,000 or 300,000 troops, I believe, and attempted to subdue Afghanistan, and they lost the war," he said. "We had less than 20,000, and we won.

"The Taliban are gone; the al Qaeda are out of there," he continued. "They've had an election. They have a constitution. Women voted. The people voted for the first time in the history of that country. It was a breathtaking accomplishment.
Today, The Blotter says the Taliban are back:

The United States military is quietly carrying out the largest military offensive in Afghanistan since U.S. troops invaded the country in 2001.

[...]

The Taliban has re-emerged as the Afghan government "has created vacuums of power" says the official. Proceeds from the growing opium trade in the region has helped the Taliban obtain new weapons and pay local officials.

The Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, remains at large despite a $10 million reward offered by the United States. U.S. military officials believe he has established a safe haven in Pakistan, where U.S. soldiers cannot operate.
Rummy can't resist gloating, and it comes back to bite him in the butt. Typical of this bunch of Bush incompetents.

Two things caught my eye in this report:

1. The military launched "Operation Mountain Thrust" to "crush" the Taliban in 90 days. But how long can those types of operations hold the Taliban back if the opium that supports them continues to be grown?

2. U.S. soldiers can't operate in Pakistan and therefore can't capture Mullah Omar and possibly Bin Laden himself who's reportedly hiding there, too.

The obvious question is, why not? I thought Pervez Musharaff is a Bush ally in the "war on terror"? And don't even give me that national sovereignty argument. If Bush can convince the Europeans to collude with him so he can use their airspace on those secret rendition flights, why can't he convince Musharraf to let him take out two of the most wanted terrorists in the world? What happened to dead or alive?

The answers of course, are staring us in the face. Afghanistan isn't the "breathtaking" model of democracy it's touted to be. Propped up largely by U.S. forces, Karzai's rule is tenuous at best, limited to Kabul and its immediate outskirts while the rest of Afghanistan is still in hands of warlords who also control the poppy fields that finance the Taliban.

As for Omar and Bin Laden, Bush was never interested in pursuing them. They are boogeymen more useful to Bush at large than captured, convenient pretexts for war and the real prize: establishing a longterm stake in the Middle East via Iraq.

posted at 4:44 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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