China Hand
Asia Times Online
October 30, 2008

As the US public is dimly aware, things are not going very well in Afghanistan.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The most recent United Nation situation map for Afghanistan issued September 3 paints a grim picture: there are large swaths of the country where things are getting worse. This includes the entire area surrounding Kandahar on the Pakistan border in the south, as well as areas on the Pakistan-Tajikistan border in the northeast and other areas on the Turkmenistan border to the northwest.

Despite the deterioration of security in the Afghan countryside – illustrated by the recent massacre of 24 bus passengers by the Taliban on a major highway in Helmand province – a Taliban reconquest of Afghanistan is unlikely. (See Death stalks the highway to hell, Asia Times Online, October 24, 2008)

Recall that it took years, US$5-6 billion in CIA funding matched dollar for dollar by the Saudis, and a concerted national effort by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan assisting a variety of domestic and foreign fighters to expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. It also took officially sanctioned safe havens in Pakistan that the Russians wouldn’t violate, and a supply of Stinger missiles to negate the vital Soviet advantage in helicopter-based mobility and firepower.

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