Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Insurgents are winning

From Chris Sands:

Taliban gains could lead to political crisis

KABUL, Dec 8

... Observers of the conflict say the rebels are winning, having taken new ground and adopted more sophisticated tactics.

They do not regard defeat for the government and its foreign allies as inevitable, but they do say the state’s future is hanging precariously in the balance...

“People look at the balance of power in this country. I am sure if the government will improve a little bit more in terms of security a number of these groups will try to join the government. If they see the government weakening further and further, then you will see more people who could rise up and call themselves Taliban,” said Haroun Mir, co-director of Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy Studies...

According to Mr Mir, Afghanistan has “never recovered” from the riots that briefly tore Kabul apart in May 2006, when the government lost control of the capital as mobs took to the streets chanting “Death to America”. The trigger for that unrest was a fatal road accident involving US troops and innocent people...

More foreign soldiers are due to be sent here soon, with up to 20,000 American troops being deployed. Britain is also considering sending reinforcements.

In an interview via e-mail, Antonio Giustozzi, of the London School of Economics, warned that a surge might not have the desired impact because “so far more troops has only meant more insurgents”... (link)
More from Chris Sands:
  • Pashtuns "see hypocrisy in the international community’s willingness to pay, forgive and empower warlords from the north, while killing and arresting militants from the south."

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