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Author Topic: Afghanistan--Mission accomplished?  (Read 698 times)
Nym90
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« on: October 16, 2004, 12:00:12 am »
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KABUL, (AFP) - Three years after the US-led invasion, Afghanistan (news - web sites) is flooding the world with heroin, warlords reign in the provinces, women are scared and the new security forces are underarmed and undersized, analysts say.

But as he bids for re-election, US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) is trumpeting Afghanistan's own recent presidential polls as a symbol of success in nation-building.


His Democrat challenger John Kerry (news - web sites) meanwhile makes the diversion of resources from Afghanistan to Iraq (news - web sites) and the failure to nail Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) three years ago key planks of his attack.


Bush's vision of success in Afghanistan since US forces helped overthrow the ultra-Islamic Taliban in late 2001 is rose-tinted, the analysts say. But Kerry's criticism may be over-simplistic, they add.


"Bush has painted a rosier picture than exists on the ground... and expressed success prematurely," said Vikram Parekh, Afghan affairs analyst for the International Crisis Group.


"When Bush presents Afghanistan as a country which has made great strides towards democracy, those claims lack credibility," Riffat Hussein, head of strategic studies at Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam University, told AFP.


Hussein and others cite three yardsticks for improvement in the war-torn central Asian land in the last three years: the creation of a national security force; eradicating opium poppies; and disarming warlords' militias.


"If we take these three or four areas to measure success, you will get a very mixed result," Hussein said.


"Militarily the country is under the control of the warlords and Karzai's government does not run beyond Kabul. Right now it's virtual warlord rule whether you look east, west, north or south of Kabul.


"One litmus test is Afghanistan's progress in setting up its own army. Initial goals were for 90,000 and they've not been able to raise beyond 15,000.


"This lack of a national army is directly related to the failure of the government to reign in opium poppies."


Poppy cultivation is set to jump 40 percent this year, the CIA (news - web sites) predicts, after a bumper crop last year supplied 90 percent of Europe's heroin and three quarters of the worldwide supply.


It brought in 2.3 billion dollars to Afghanistan last year, 35 percent of gross domestic product, making it the crippled economy's biggest source of revenue.


Parekh points out last weekend's peaceful and well-attended election was "only half an election". Parliamentary elections are on hold until April, because of insecurity and logistical problems.


"That's still going to be a formidable task to administer," Parekh told AFP. "By postponing it, we haven't addressed the obligations that we the international community have committed to."


Post-election claims by the US military that the Taliban are a spent force after failing to sabotage the elections, were "very much a premature conclusion," Parekh said.


Bush capitalised on the first vote on October 9 being cast by a refugee woman in Pakistan, to underscore women's emancipation from Taliban-imposed repression.

   



Outside Kabul however most are still in all-enclosing burqas, and women are scared to speak out.

Human Rights Watch said a "pervasive atmosphere of fear" persists for women involved in politics. "Many Afghan women risk their safety if they participate in public life," it said in a report this month.

Freeing the provinces from the rule of the gun was also a long way off.

"Large parts of the country remain dominated by militia and the disarmament process has made limited headway," Parekh said.

Most Afghans told Human Rights Watch they were more afraid of local military commanders than the Taliban.

The crucial disarmament drive in one year has stripped just over 10,000 militiamen of weapons, but at least 30,000 are yet to surrender them.

Kerry accuses Bush of making "a colossal error of judgment" in diverting resources from the hunt for bin Laden to the war in Iraq.

"Instead of using US forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains (in December 2001)," he said in a campaign speech.

A Western diplomat said Kerry had "oversimplified" the bin Laden hunt, saying it was less about troop numbers, more about local intelligence and the capacity of neighbours like Pakistan to block his movement.

But Hussein concurred with Kerry on the need for more US resources.

"I think Kerry is right, if you need this government to get on its feet you need to put in more troops and help set up the country properly," he said.
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agcatter
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2004, 10:27:06 am »
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Kerry is all talk when it comes to putting in "more troops".  When it comes to projecting American military power, Kerry has been opposed to it at every turn for his entire carreer.

1991.  Saddam invades Kuwait.  The UN passes a unanomous security council resolution authorizing force to remove Saddam if he refuses to pull out.  Incredibly, John Kerry votes no in an up or down vote to give President Bush the authority to go to war.

Kind of says it all.

Please don't throw around that crap about Kerry's supporting more troops - anywhere.  Rings hollow.
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The Duke
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2004, 03:09:02 pm »
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Germany has 12% unemployment, and 25% unemployment in Berlin.  I guess the occupation of Germany failed.

Italy has had an economy prone to inflation, and has gone through over 50 Prime Ministers since WWII.  I guess the occupation of Italy failed.

Japan has been in recession for over a decade.  I guess the occupation of Japan failed, too.

Just because a country has problems doesn't mean it isn't on the right track.  Liberals have taken to moving the goal posts on Bush because he's constantly succeeding at stuff.  They moved them so far back on Afghanistan that only an idyllic paradise has become acceptable to them.

I wonder if they'd want Kerry held to this absurd standard?  Oh wait, it won't be a problem because when Kerry's President paralyzed people will stand up and walk.
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Shut you hole... Conservatism is dead. I hope I get to see your head paraded on a pike with it.
TheCommentator
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2004, 04:42:19 pm »
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Germany has 12% unemployment, and 25% unemployment in Berlin.  I guess the occupation of Germany failed.

LOL. When Germany is the 255th largest economy in the world & most of its people are subsistence farmers, and Germany's president rules only Berlin, and warlords control the rest of the country, then you can come back and say the occupation failed.

Truman was a genius.
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The Duke
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2004, 05:07:38 pm »
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Germany has 12% unemployment, and 25% unemployment in Berlin.  I guess the occupation of Germany failed.

LOL. When Germany is the 255th largest economy in the world & most of its people are subsistence farmers, and Germany's president rules only Berlin, and warlords control the rest of the country, then you can come back and say the occupation failed.

Truman was a genius.

Germany also started the post-war occupation with a literate population.  This is what I'm talking about, a completely unrealistic standard.  He wants Afghanistan, a country with a history of tribal politics and an illiterate population to be a modern industrial state in five minutes.

This also plays into my "smart, but not reasonable" thesis on Democrats.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2004, 01:02:37 am »
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Germany has 12% unemployment, and 25% unemployment in Berlin.  I guess the occupation of Germany failed.

LOL. When Germany is the 255th largest economy in the world & most of its people are subsistence farmers, and Germany's president rules only Berlin, and warlords control the rest of the country, then you can come back and say the occupation failed.

Truman was a genius.

Germany was far from being stable a couple years after the war.  Fortunately, the population was of a western culture, literate, and skilled.  Also, loads of western/soviet troops staring at each other across the border didnt hurt either in terms of settling it down.  None the less, attacks on american personnel and infrastructure by the germans did occur for several years, as did Nazi re-ecucation camps.
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