Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Taliban Threat Growing in Afghan South

While Rosie DiManno blithers on about the Taliban "gradually" laying down their weapons, the new York Times lays out a grimmer version of reality here:

TIRIN KOT, Afghanistan, April 27 — Building on a winter campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations and the knowledge that American troops are leaving, the Taliban appear to be moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding the rural areas of southern Afghanistan with weapons and men.


The Taliban and Al Qaeda are everywhere," a shopkeeper, Haji Saifullah, told the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, as the general strolled through the bazaar of this town to talk to people. "It is all right in the city, but if you go outside the city, they are everywhere, and the people have to support them. They have no choice."

The fact that American troops are pulling out of southern Afghanistan in the coming months, and handing matters over to NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists, has given a lift to the insurgents, and increased the fears of Afghans.


Uruzgan is not the only province teetering out of control. Helmand and Kandahar to the south have been increasingly overrun by militants this year, as large groups of Taliban are reportedly moving through the countryside, intimidating villagers, ambushing vehicles, and spoiling for a fight with coalition or Afghan forces.

Insurgents also have the run of parts of Zabul, Ghazni and Paktika Provinces to the southeast, and have increased ambushes on the main Kabul-Kandahar highway.

So the Americans are leaving, and the "British-led" NATO peacekeepers left behind (Canucks included) have no intention of "fighting terrorists" (but what have we been up to lately?). The Bush administration is "alarmed" because the situation is "worse than generally portrayed".

We are getting stuck cleaning up anAmerican mess. I guess their way of thanking us was with the softwood lumber deal.

And it seems to me that journalists like Rosie are still kind of enjoying our Afghanistan mission, because they get to run around in tanks and fly to exotic parts of the world--way better than sitting around in Toronto and writing about a lack of funding for Methadone addicts (or whatever). Hopefully, the thrill will wear off quickly enough and they can reclaim their senses.

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