Kandahar Kan Or Kan Not Do?

Nine years ago, the Bush administration launched an invasion of Afghanistan in order to wipe out al-Qaeda which was responsible for the 9/11 bombings. Buush pretended to have a policy in Afghanistan and pretended to be building an Afghan army, but once he left for chopping wood in Texas it became clear no policy had ever been implemented to deal with militants in Afghanistan. During the past few months, US and NATO forces with their Afghan allies have supposedly cleared the area around Marjah and are now in Kandahar. General McChrystal describes the campaign in southern regions of the country as slow and difficult. Admiral Mike Mullen is blunter: “I think we’ve been clear for months now that this was going to be a very difficult fight for the south, and tried to set expectations, as tragic as it is, for these losses.”

Everyone agrees things are going slower. Everyone on the scene knows that most Afghans hate the Taliban but also lack much confidence in their own government. The sense on the scene of action is people are hanging back, afraid to trust a government known more for its ability in being corrupt than in its ability to meet needs of citizens. Most probably, they are more sympathetic to the Taliban than to their own government.

So, where does this leave American and NATO forces? There is an old Army expression which may well summarize the situation– “up shit’s creek.”