Patrick Cockburn, writing in The Independent notes tomorrow marks the six anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan in order to end Taliban rule. There has now been six years of continual warfare with no apparent certainty of its conclusion. As Cockburn points out, when he visited southern Afghanistan in 2002 it was safer and under greater government control than at present. He emphasizes, “,,, during the years that have elapsed is there any evidence from the speeches of successive British ministers that they have much idea what we are doing there and what we hope to achieve? It is a fair question. During the initial months of the invasion, Pakistan cooperated and the Taliban essentially collapsed. Today, Pakistan does not cooperate and the Taliban has gained renewed power.
People often compare the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. Iraq has oil potential which would lead to an economic boom, but all Afghanistan has at this point in time are poppy fields. American policy is to destroy poppy fields, but what then is the basis for wealth in Afghanistan. It is extremely difficult wiping out the Taliban since they readily retreat in Pakistan sanctuaries where they can not be touched. Is there something wrong with this picture?