Seven years ago, American troops invaded Afghanistan working with tribal opponents of the Tallban and destroyed the fundamentalist regime. The world witnessed scenes of joyous Afghanis who welcomed the overthrow of the repressive Taliban and it was clear support for the fundamentalists was at a low point. As the Taliban fled, American troops did not pursue Osama bin Laden but allowed the al-Qaeda leader to gain safety in the mountainous regions on the border of Pakistan. During the ensuing years little was done by American forces to train, equip, and allow an Afghan army to assume responsibility for dealing with militants. Little was done to invest billions in creating jobs for Afghans by building an infrastructure or assisting farmers to develop crops other than poppy fields.
Yesterday, General Petraeus said a “comprehensive approach” is needed to deal with the war in Afghanistan. He believes it is necessary to reconcile with the Afghan population and work with Pakistan on border issues. Petraeus insists coalition and allied forces must be seen as “liberators,” not occupiers. But, they once had that reputation and lost it. Isn’t it time for Bush to take responsibility for losing the war in Afghanistan, after all, he claims he won the war in Iraq!