West Won’t Win Afghan War

By Eric Margolis

09/17/06 "
Toronto Sun" -- -- As Canadian, American and British soldiers continue to die in Afghanistan, it is time the truth be told about this ugly little war.

Much of what we’ve so far been told by our governments and media has been untrue, wishful thinking, or crass jingoism.

The respected European think tank, Senlis Council, which focuses on Afghanistan, just reported the Taliban is “taking back Afghanistan” and now controls that nation’s southern half. According to Senlis, southern Afghanistan is suffering “a humanitarian crisis of starvation and poverty.

“U.S. policies in Afghanistan have re-created the safe haven for terrorism that the 2001 invasion aimed to destroy,” Senlis found.

Claims that withdrawing Western garrisons from Afghanistan or Iraq will leave a void certain to be filled by extremists are nonsense. Half of Afghanistan and a third of Iraq are already largely controlled by anti-Western resistance forces.

Were it not for omnipotent U.S. airpower, American and NATO forces would be quickly driven from the area.

Last week, Canadian and British commanders boasted they were about to annihilate Taliban forces “surrounded” around Panjwai and Zahri. They crowed about already killing an “estimated 500 Taliban.”

After a storm of bombing and shelling, British and Canadian commanders admitted “we were surprised the enemy had fled.” Surprised?

“Good Morning, Afghanistan!” Doesn’t anyone remember the Vietnam War’s fruitless search-and-destroy missions and inflated body counts? Don’t NATO commanders know their every move is telegraphed in advance to Taliban forces?

Did Canadian officers making such fanciful claims really believe the Taliban’s veteran guerillas would be stupid enough to sit still and be destroyed by U.S. air power?

U.S., British and Canadian politicians say they are surprised by intensifying Taliban resistance. They have only their own ignorance to blame.

Attacking Pashtuns, renowned for xenophobia, warlike spirits, and love of independence, is a fool’s mission. Pashtuns are Afghanistan’s ethnic majority; long-term national stability is impossible without their co-operation.

What the West calls “Taliban” is actually a growing coalition of veteran Taliban fighters led by Mullah Dadullah, other clans of Pashtun tribal warriors, and nationalist resistance forces under Jalalladin Hakkani and former prime minister Gulbadin Hekmatyar. Many are former mujahadeen once hailed as “freedom fighters” by the West, and branded “terrorists” by the Soviets.

The UN’s anti-narcotic agency reports narco-state Afghanistan now supplies 92% of the world’s heroin. Production surged 20% last year alone. Who is responsible? The U.S. and NATO. Washington, Ottawa and London can’t keep pretending this is someone else’s problem. Drug money fuels the Afghan economy and keeps local warlords loyal to the U.S.-installed Kabul regime.

Russian influence

Afghanistan’s north has become a sphere of influence of Russia and its local allies, the Uzbek-Tajik Northern Alliance (led by notorious war criminals and leaders of the old Afghan Communist Party).

The U.S. and its allies are not going to win the Afghan war. They will be lucky, the way things are going, not to lose it in the same humiliating manner the Soviets did in 1989.

Ottawa’s deepening involvement in a conflict in which it lacks any national interests — save pleasing Washington and selling lumber — jeopardizes Canada’s security.

Western troops are not fighting “terrorism” in Afghanistan, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims. They are fighting the Afghan people. Every new civilian killed, and every village bombed, breeds new enemies for the West.

2006 The Toronto Sun

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