Sunday | August 03, 2003
Afghanistan slipping back to warlordism
By Steve Gilliard
Afghan Political Violence on the Rise
A year and a half after the United States and its allies drove the Taliban from power, acts of politically motivated violence have become frequent and fierce in the key southern province of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban and the source of countless shifts in Afghan politics and culture over the centuries.
Bands of 50 or more pro-Taliban fighters have begun appearing around Kandahar, both along the border with Pakistan and in the interior of the province
In addition to Taliban fighters, other men with guns -- warlords -- dominate much of Kandahar, allowing the trade in illegal drugs to flourish. Civic activists who once hoped to provide an alternative to both radical fundamentalists and marauding militiamen feel silenced and afraid.
Afghanistan is slipping back into the hands of warlords because the US refused to extend international control outside Kabul, keeps two brigades there when 10 are needed and have underfunded reconstruction across the country. We expected an Afghan national army to solve our problems when that is years away from being anything close to reality.
Afghanistan is a place were we could easily wake up one morning, find the President assassinated, the Army in revolt and US troops stuck in the Kindu Kush fighting tribesmen from both sides of the border. Things are so desperate that the 25ID, trained to fight in the Pacific and Korea, will send the next brigades to Afghanistan.
Our obession with Iraq, trapping whole divisions there, leaves Afghanistan exposed and ripe for an election year failure.Posted August 03, 2003 12:22 PM