Saturday, October 06, 2007

What's it all for?

In today's London Independent, Patrick Cockburn asks a good question: why are US and British soldiers continuing to die in Afghanistan? What is the mission there? Originally, NATO and other troops were to topple the Taliban and provide Afghans with a better life. The first was achieved, temporarily, but recently the Taliban and Al-Quaeda have been granted a safe haven by the Pakistani authorities. No one, not Pakistanis nor NATO forces, are allowed anywhere near their stronghold in Waziristan. If the Pakistanis can't be pursuaded to go after them there, and won't allow NATO forces to, then what's the point of NATO troops continuing to fight them and die? The Taliban fighters slip over the border, regroup and then return to bomb and snipe the occupation forces and terrorize local villagers. Would it not be more prudent to concentrate on negotiating and end to the safe haven before proceeding with combat operations?!

Am I missing something here?

Also, how can anyone talk about a better life in view of the purposeful destruction of poppy fields, when poppies are the only major cash crop there? Are there no agricultural experts who could help with harvesting poppies for legitimate enterprises, like spice companies?

Maybe some enterprising member of the press corps will query President Bush about these matters during his next news conference. The Afghan mission is at this point pretty difficult to discern.


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