Monday, October 12, 2009

Difficult situation for NATO in Afghanistan

I approved the new American strategy consisting of redeploying US forces away from Irak and into Afghanistan, as I don't see the Taliban as worthy of ruling, regardless of the local popular support.
When you think about it, the very poor condition of Afghanistan should make it easy to win a popularity contest with a bunch of religious, backward, murderous zealots: Remove landmines, help agriculture develop, build up infrastructure, promote free education for all children, including girls...
All this should be relatively easy, provided a certain level of safety can be provided.

Unfortunately, after seeing "Dokument utifrån" on Swedish national television (SVT), I fear the NATO coalition is going to fail miserably. I don't know if American forces differ from other NATO coalition members in Afghanistan, but the attitude and tactics of the US army appeared deeply inadequate to me.

First, we get to see how a soldier reports the situation to his commander during a debriefing. The soldier reports that locals are mute when it comes to providing information about Taliban fighters which America forces know must be in the sector. Instead, locals insisted on complaining about goats and trees, or rather the lack thereof. What's got that to do with the US forces? It turns out US forces burned trees and killed goats in an attack the year before. No big issue, certainly... The American commander shook his head, and said "That's what happens when you provide support to terrorists, you lose your goats and trees" (or something in these lines).
This reminds me of the failed tactics used during the Vietnam war.

Apparently, Pachtuns are naturally bent on supporting Talibans, both for cultural and historical reasons. Regardless of their claimed goals, Westerners are seen as invaders, and will be fought and dealt with in the same way all earlier invaders were.

Leaving Afghanistan is in my opinion no option, seeing how the previous regime behaved in September 11, 2001 and before. Staying and using that kind of fruitless tactics is doomed to fail, and will eventually lead to a new Taliban regime anyway. So what should we do?

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