Afghanistan 8 years on…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/27/only-pressure-withdraw-stop-blood-price

Excerpts (emphasis added):

Eight years ago, Tony Blair’s ­office issued a ­triumphant denunciation of the small minority in the media who had ­challenged the war on terror and the invasion of Afghanistan that launched it. Reported by the Sun as “Blair shames war weasels“, Downing Street named 10 miscreant writers, including several on the Guardian, for suggesting that the war risked a ­Vietnam-style ­occupation, would increase the threat of terrorism and ignore the interests of Afghan women. They had “proved to be wrong”, the spin machine declared: kites were flying, women were throwing off their burkas and the ­Taliban and al-Qaida had been swept from the scene. […] Eight years on, far from being swept from the scene, the Taliban controls much of the country, al-Qaida has spread across the region, the war is ­escalating, thousands of civilians are being killed, corruption is rampant and the position of many women, according to women’s leaders such as the MP Malalai Joya, is actually worse under Nato-warlord rule than under the Taliban. […] Having failed to subdue Afghanistan militarily or achieve any credibility for the US and Nato-installed Hamid Karzai, the London conference is supposed to endorse their plan B. That can be summed up as: talk to the Taliban and buy them off wherever possible. The one-time boasts of destroying the Taliban or capturing its leader, Mullah Omar, alive or dead, are long gone. […] Instead, US defence secretary Robert Gates explained last week that the ­Taliban are part of Afghanistan’s “political fabric. Nato’s commander, General Stanley McChrystal, went further still, floating the possibility of a power-sharing deal with the ultra-conservative Pashtun-based guerrilla force. There is much talk about the New Taliban leaders the occupiers think they can do business with, […]

Echoes of the Ben Tre strategy.

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