A secret Australian assessment of al-Qaeda reached a conclusion that would shock Fox News and Homeland Security. The Office of National Assessment (ONA) told US diplomats in 2008 that al-Qaeda had “ultimately failed to achieve the strategic leadership role it sought within the Islamic world.” Australian officials blamed Taliban success, not on the ability of the Taliban, but on an inept, corrupt Afghan government which failed to offer Afghans stability and an effective government which they could trust. ONA director-general Peter Varghese attempted to get across to Americans that al-Qaeda benefited from a Pakistan military which regarded America as their enemy and the source of terrorism while they had strong ties to the Taliban. The Australians were upbeat at the success of Indonesia where its government was very proactive and had crushed Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia, the al-Qaeda Asian branch. They also noted Indonesia’s success which stood in sharp contrast to continued terrorism in the Philippines.
The moral of this story is anti-terrorist programs work when a government offers its people honesty, and effective governance. The problem is not the Taliban, the problem has, and is, President Karzai.