Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't worry. Obama is 'winning' in Afghanistan. Go back to work.

While the White House continues to insist that its "surge" has reversed Taliban momentum, the Talibs are now killing more Afghans than at any time since they were chased out of Kabul a decade ago. This is the consequence of a perfectly straightforward equation. If the President of the United States declares that he has no intention of winning anything more than the means to force the Afghan people to "reconcile" with Talibs, why wouldn't the Taliban fight on? When Barack Obama settles on a policy that will "please anti-war Democrats while also encouraging the Taliban to hang on and keep fighting," should we be surprised that this is exactly what the Taliban are doing?

Yesterday, the Taliban killed at least 24 Afghan civilians, including 12 young children, in roadside bomb attacks on two minibuses near Herat. In a separate incident on the far side of the country two Afghan security guards were killed in a suicide attack on an American base. Today, a Taliban suicide bomber slaughtered at least 40 people attending prayers at mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkwa. At least 100 are wounded. Yesterday in Kabul, at least a dozen people were killed in a Taliban attack on a non-military British Council office, and local resident Shah Agha reported: "When the dust cleared I could see dead municipality workers on the ground and the body of a policeman without a head." Lovely.

In the real world, a senior Pakistani military officer says that Pakistan can deliver the Haqqani Taliban to the negotiating table. Why, then, can't Pakistan deliver the Haqqani Taliban to the graveyard? Because that's not what Pakistan is for. It's not what Iran is for, either, and yet for two years, Barack Obama has trundled along with his hopes to build "constructive ties" with the Khomeinists. How is Obama's "diplomatic engagement" faring in Tehran?

Today, the US State Department admitted that Iran is still the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism," and here's just a few things that Iran has been up to lately in Afghanistan: "Iran's Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets. Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives. Iran has shipped a large number of weapons to Kandahar, Afghanistan, aiming to increase its influence in the country."

This follows the US State Department's embarassing disclosure last month that an Al Qaida cell is operating out of Iran under the terms of an agreement with the Khomeinist regime that allows it to do so.

If being the laughing stock of Central Asia is what "winning" looks like, what would losing make America look like?


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