The Bush administration apparently has decided to go on the offensive in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the verbal offensive, that is. Senator John McCain is flitting around the area and ensuring the world the United States has al-Qaeda on the run, Dick Cheney made a visit to Iraq and suddenly decided it was time to head off to Afghanistan and spread the good word everything was going OK. The vice president made an unannounced visit to Kabul to confer with President Karzai in order to support American demands for more troops from NATO nations. A senior US official with the Cheney party commented: “We’re going to want a very strong statement on NATO’s long term commitment for seing Afghanistan successful. He claimed more troops would somehow assist “Afghanistan overcome its very, very difficult history.”
The Cheney-Karzai talks will be held in a very heavily guarded compound since the success of the war in Afghanistan has not yet filtered down to such things as allowing its president to freely interact with the Afghan people. Taliban militants have threatened to step up suicide attacks as part of their strategy to get NATO to become disgusted and leave Afghanistan.
At no point has anyone in the Bush administration seriously investigated political solutions for Afghanistan. Talking seriously with concerne parties makes for fewer headlines and reduced photo ops, but, it just might produce longer range solutions.