Is anyone winning in Afghanistan?

There has been a raft of stories about Afghanistan which have thrown up military, political and humanitarian issues about what’s happening there. Put simply, it’s unclear who holds power and influence in Afghanistan, and what effect this tug of war is having on the people who live there. We’ll try and find out.


Mariana Babar – Journalist and diplomatic correspondent for The News, Islamabad

Barbara Stocking, Director of OXFAM, Great Britain

Ahmed Rashid – Author of “The Taleban” and journalist for the Daily Telegraph in Lahore, Pakistan

Jim Townsend from the Atlantic Council of the United States

Hussain Ramooz – member of Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul

Barry Salaam – Afghan journalist in Kabul

Ahmad Reshad Osmani and Sayed Ahmad Maisam – both journalists in Mazar

Major General Patrick Cordingley – former a British commander during the Gulf War


Three independent reports last week warned of a worsening situation in the country, suggesting that if Nato strategy doesn’t change Afghanistan could become a failed state.

Yesterday, the British International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, told the BBC that other Nato countries should involve themselves more in the rebuilding of Afghanistan. His comments echo earlier calls from the US and Nato for Germany to increase the number of Nato troops they have in the country. Jim Hoagland in the Washington Post complains that Afghan president Hamid Karzai should be doing more to protect his citizens from the Taliban, rather than creating a rift between his government and the UK and US. In fact, there is some suggestion that the UK should pull out of Afghanistan, as under present conditions the British are unable to achieve anything worthwhile in the country.

But moving away from the arguments over who should do what in the country, are things getting better or worse in Afghanistan? Taliban attacks on allied forces have increased in the last year, although most attacks occur within a relatively small area of the country. Despite that, the Independent newspaper today reports that the British plan to build a training camp for Taliban fighters who are willing to swap sides. Is it right to cooperate with the Taliban?

According to some though, there is reason to be hopeful about the situation in Afghanistan. After a recent visit to the country, historian James Holland writes that a recent increase in communication between troops and local communities is having a positive impact.

64 Responses to “Is anyone winning in Afghanistan?”

  1. 1 Brett
    February 4, 2008 at 13:35

    Yes, lets start up a training camp for the Taliban…. That worked well the first time didn’t it?

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 John in Salem
    February 4, 2008 at 13:48

    Afghanistan is the very definition of a failed state and NATO is treating it like a hobby. We should either get serious about al-Qaida and the Taliban or get the hell out.

  3. 3 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 14:54

    The reason the USA invaded was 911 and the Al Queda terrorist training camp outside Kandahar.

    Prevention of future use of Afghanistan to that end is the focal point.

    What deals are cut or who is paid to prevent that in the future is not the focal point.

    US forces were welcomed when we went in but those opportunities were not developed by our politicians.

    The defeatist talk I have read in the news is missing the point- the Kandahar terrorist training camp.

    Keep your eye on the ball folks.

    The war in Afghanistan was righteous, with cause, and good reason.

    The war in Iraq was and is not what it was stated to be.

    Do not confuse the two.

  4. 4 Nengak Daniel
    February 4, 2008 at 14:58

    Yes we could talk about Afghanistan. I think it is fast becoming a failed state seeing that the Karzai government seem to view the NATO forces as intruders.

    we could talk about Afghanistan. I think it is fast becoming a failed state seeing that the Karzai government seem to view the NATO forces as intruders.

    If the Nato forces cannot find effective ways of making Afghans responsible and effecient in securing their territory, then Afghans will always see them as a sort of colonisers and so they (Afghans) will certainly try to chase them out, or at best fold their hand (refuse to cooperate) and wait for Nato to pull out.

    God help us.

    Nengak Daniel
    Port Harcourt, Nigeria

  5. 5 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 14:58

    Germany received US protection from the USSR for decades- gladly.

    Today Germany says it is not in their interest to fulfill their NATO treaty agreements.

    Germany should step up to the plate or get out of NATO.

    Putin may surprise them if they do.

  6. 6 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 15:09

    The USA, under the Bush team, squandered the opportunity to rebuild and succeed in Afghanistan to invade Iraq.

    That is a done deal, we are where we are, not where we could, should, or wish we were.

    The USA has run the wars on credit, is deeply in debt and in poor condition economically with a fragile economy entering recession-

    we do not have the money to do a massive rebuilding effort in Afghanistan.

    This does not decrease the need to prevent Afghanistan from going under to the Taliban.

    It is time to reform the rebuilding effort to use the money wisely for the biggest bang for the buck.

    It is not the time to throw up our hands saying- “This is HARD, I don’t want to do it”

    The alternative of Terrorist Training Camps operating in Afghanistan as before 911 is not an alternative at all.

  7. 7 steve
    February 4, 2008 at 16:07

    George,I don’t think Afghanistan is anyone’s fault, it’s just proof that religion, if taken too seriously, means you become a permanent failed state if you don’t have oil. So long as they are religious, they will live in third world squalor. it’s up to them to want to get out of it.

  8. 8 carlos King
    February 4, 2008 at 16:14

    Good day Ros,

    There is a cynical (some say truthful) view that America enters a war to win but it will satisfy with making the opposition/enemy unstable. An unstable enemy is just as impotent as a defeated foe according to the proponents of American propaganda.

    This explains why America was satisfy with retreating from Vietnam and Korea and why George Bush the 1st pulled out of Iraq the first time when he could have won a decisive victory and why the stalemate in Iraq and Afghanistan is no bother to the American or British government for that matter.

    Unstable enemies are just as impotent and therefore suites Americans objective to remain the premier economic power and the only super miliatary power in the world.

    All those pathetic puny powers who are “fighting” America are wasting their time and resources. If Saddam was a patriot instead of a despot he would have surrendered and save his people all the humiliation and suffering they have experience these past 5 years. The Talibans in Afghanistan are also despots. They are fighting a losing battle. They cannot defeat America and America cannot win the war and that suits the Americans just fine!

    Neither in Iraq or Afghanistan will things get better ever again. Not before Jesus comes again the second time. Only God can standup to and/or defeat America.

    Carlos, Kingston- Jamaica

  9. 9 gary
    February 4, 2008 at 16:24

    Hello All,
    A substantial number of the people of Afghanistan seem to be working very hard to achieve a “failed state.” Failed states can lead to enormous profit for a tiny minority of the population (Those who see the rule of any law other than their own as a bad thing.). Unfortunately, the facts suggest a significant minority of the people are comfortable with the current, very poorly functioning state, and would not be all that unhappy to see it gone entirely. Come on folks! How much love of democracy can you expect from a country in which half the population (the men) are more or less willing to cause the other half (the women) to live in subservient ignorance?

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    February 4, 2008 at 16:24

    I think the west needs to rally around the good Afghans or the Talibans will take control again. The aim of those guys is to see that you the westeners fail miserably and unless you stand very firm, they will suceed.

  11. 11 Brett
    February 4, 2008 at 16:26

    Yes, thats a wonderful idea, build a Western sponsored training camp for the Taliban, because it worked so well the first time, right?

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  12. 12 Alison, Idaho
    February 4, 2008 at 16:48

    It seems as though most Afghans only want what we all want…food, water, electricity, shelter, education and job opportunities. Just because religion plays a large role in their day-to-day lives does not mean they are interested in using it as an excuse to blow each other up. I think most Afghans would tell you the Taliban is the biggest threat to their country and prosperity. They now have some electricity that they have benifited from. If we can help them with their other basic rights, they will one day be able to fight the Taliban on their own, and their country can prosper again.

  13. February 4, 2008 at 17:04

    Afghanistan needs world community support for food, education and employment opportunities. Until we assist in reducing dire poverty and the resulting feelings of hopelessness, no progress toward a peaceful nation can be achieved.
    In the U.S.A., the greatest strides to civil rights in the southern states came with education and television. Television gave people a view to the possibilities for their own lives. It was the single most influential media leading to higher financial goals and successes.

  14. 14 John in Salem
    February 4, 2008 at 17:26

    I believe that if the West simply stands firm we will stand there for years. I would suggest that we take a third to a half of our troops in Iraq and redeploy them to Afghanistan and go on the offensive in a big way. We tell Musharif that he can help or he can sit on his hands and watch, and we go after these people where they live and wipe them out.
    I’m not a big fan of war, but If we’re going to make war then let’s do it properly and get it over with.

  15. 15 Isaac via email
    February 4, 2008 at 17:29

    Maybe the correct question to ask is ” who is losing in Afghanistan?” Its the people of that country who have lost, 6 years now after the war started Afghanistans are dying of hunger and cold. Watching those pictures of refugees starving in the cold was a bad site. The people of Afghanistan should be the ones to win here not any other grouping. Imagine children dying of hunger and winter what is the world real doing? There is need to provide them with shelter and food. The waste in life is to be a refugee in your own country.


  16. 16 Virginia Davis
    February 4, 2008 at 17:32

    Hello all from Portland, OR. I’d like to pose to all the people Ros says will be available: “What can be done?”

    Just from a simple minded view of their basic economy in opium, is there not a world wide concern that the people there develop a different way of making a living?

    As for the Taliban, it is part of the reality. How do the people of the country feel? Do they want it to settle in again? With the negative effects on the women?


  17. February 4, 2008 at 17:39

    Has anyone ever won in Afghanistan? It wouldn’t seem so.
    Apart from the Afghani poppy growers that is,enjoying yet another price hike.

    As for the US (aka NATO), bleating on about “more troops please”, far from agreeing, invited countries should be pointing out to the US administration that apart from considering the unthinkable embarrassment of trying to fob everyone off with that albeit dramatic but lame excuse for the invasion in the first place, that Bush and his administration should pay for their own wars.


  18. 18 rosatkins
    February 4, 2008 at 17:56

    No, no one is winning in Afghanistan. It is a constant back and forth struggle.

    What is needed is a decisive offensive by the West. America must make a statement that is totally final in their message to the Islamic wackos who attacked and invaded us. The present low intensity combat operations threaten to keep going for the next 40 – 50 years. America must draft all its 2 million state and federal prisoners into an attack force, and invade the difficult rock strune and mountainous areas of caves and santuaries normally off limits to faint of heart invaders. Pure, excessive numbers, more mobile and more strong willed than the historic Mongol armies that swept in from the Asian Steppe.

    Then the President of the U.S. needs to announce that all 15 million illegal immigrants must go back to where they came from in one months time or they will be rounded up and trained as an airborne attack force and cordon force. Also those who hire them will also be used as a resource to create a steady, always reinforcing attack force. These infidels will be parachuted into the areas, where the bad guys are staging and training.

    This would be very expensive, but it would tire the enemy out, and cause them to abandon their intent to create an Islamic State that is all 6th century thinking and based entirely on an imaginary world of the unknown. The resource captured from the enemy can be used to pay the booty to the infantile invaders to either establish themselves in conquered ground or pay their way home to their nation of birth.

    Nehalem, Oregon

  19. February 4, 2008 at 17:59

    The sad part is nobody is winning in Afghanistan. Not the Taliban really, not the American/ NATO mission, certainly not the Afghani people, and most defiantly not the American soldier or the American people. The only acceptation might be the poppy farmers who have flourished under the demise of the Taliban. Turns out the Taliban felt poppy was grown against gods will.

    It is said that “Nobody wins a war. One side just looses less.” It is hard to tell who is loosing “more” in that conflict.

    The Idea that we went in to take out a training camp and so we completed the mission is to take a narrow view. One training camp in the Middle East is shut down, since then 100 have cropped up all over the region.

  20. 20 Sean
    February 4, 2008 at 18:05

    As for the question about winning in Afghanistan, it’s hard to determine who is “winning”. First I must ask how do we define winning? Is it overwhelming political persuasion? Is it killing all those of the opposition? Is it negotiating an end to hostilities?


  21. 21 Jabarkhail via text
    February 4, 2008 at 18:18

    The Only way get afghanistan on track is Negotiate with taliban . Prosecute Warloads, fight corruption, reduce poverty.
    Jabarkhail in kabul

  22. 22 VictorK
    February 4, 2008 at 18:18

    The US overthrew the Taliban because they refused to surrender Osama Bin Laden following 9-11.

    It was a justified punitive act against a regime that knowingly sheltered an international terrorist and mass murderer, and a warning to other governments not to make the same mistake of either giving haven to criminals or refusing to co-operate in bringing them to justice.

    The problems began with everything that followed. Once the Taliban had been toppled the excuses for a Western military presence in Afghanistan proliferated. It was necessary to prevent the Taliban returning; it was necessary to bring freedom and democracy to the Afghan people; it was necessary to protect Afghanistan’s fragile democracy; it was necessary until the Afghans themselves were able to maintain security; it was necessary to prevent Al Quaeda re-establishing themselves in the country; it was necessary to eliminate the cultivation of poppies; it was necessary in order to re-build Afghan society, from its infra-structure to the institutions of civil society. In effect, Afghanistan has been permanently occupied, and any plausible, sugar-coated excuse about democracy, clean water and vaccinations is trotted out to justify that occupation.

    The difficulty I have is with the basic assumption underlying all of these justifications: that country A has a right to dictate to and manage the affairs of country B. The US had a right to attack the Taliban in retaliation for their collusion with Bin Laden and Al Quaeda. Every act undertaken by the US subsequently seems to me to lack any kind of legitimacy, unless the principle of enlightened imperialism is to be admitted.

    Nobody is obliged to respect the outcome of elections organsed by an occupying power, especially when the elections lead to the occupying power’s favoured candidate winning. The Taliban resistance are quite reasonable in not recognising the right to rule of the Afghan government. Besides which, since democracy is not part of Afghanistan’s political tradition there is no obligation to recognise it when imposed by an alien power.

    I cannot accept that anyone has a right to dictate to the Afghans how they should live their lives. The arrogance of the Western powers is truly breathtaking in assuming a right to direct the affairs of another country. In doing so they must follow one of two repulsive courses: either work for a state of affairs that respects Afghan culture and traditions, including cherished and much loved practices like the death penalty for insulting Islam; or work to establish a system that represents what is best in the Western tradition, even though Western freedoms, enlightenment and tolerance are anathema to the great body of Afghans (not just the Taliban) and will be seen as a calculated insult to Islam. The way to avoid such a dilemma is not to get involved in ‘nation-building’ at all, especially when the values, traditions, history and culture of the nation in question are utterly alien to everything that you represent as a Westerner.

    The absurdity of a body with the name ‘North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’ undertaking operations in Afghanistan is self-evident. Afghanistan doesn’t represent a threat to any NATO member and their collective presence there is aggression, pure and simple. The canard about poppy growing is an insult to our intelligence. Afghan’s are entitled to grow and sell anything that there is a market for; they are not responsible for the behaviour of drug dealers and drug addicts in the West or anywhere else. And it is only a failure to distinguish metaphor from reality that could cause anybody to believe that it is any part of the role of an army to be a tool in the ‘war’ on drugs.

    No amount of high-mindedness, humanitarian sentiment, or liberal arrogance entitles one country to intervene permanently in the affairs of another. The Western powers, for all their good intentions, have the same moral standing in Afghanistan as China has in Tibet (China’s invasion was also justified by promises of liberation and improving the lives of the people it was occupying). Afghanistan is the homeland of the Taliban fighters. Their successful resistance is no mystery to anyone who understands the meaning of patriotism and religion, the two greatest motivators in the world. Promises of clean water and access to the internet just don’t compare as motivating forces. How can anybody argue that a man fighting for his fatherland against an invader is in the wrong? If the Taliban represent a primitive, brutal and cruel future for Afghanistan – which they do – that is a matter for the Afghan people to do something about; a foreign invader has no standing to offer an opinion on the merits of the Taliban or a Taliban regime. To do so would be to affirm that Western values are the supreme and incontestable standard for all mankind, a piece of arrogance that not even NATO has dared to indulge in, and something that is in any case undermined by the many appeasing concessions to Islam that the occupiers have made in ‘re-building Afghanistan.’

    And it strikes me that NATO are making the same mistake in Afghanistan that the coalition has made in Iraq: failing to take on board the lessons of experience and instead applying the prescriptions of liberal dogma. The disaster in Iraq reveals one unpleasant but overruling truth: the Iraqis are the kind of people who require a Saddam Hussein to give them the peace and order that they are incapable of achieving through their own free co-operation. Likewise, the Afghans, it seems, are the kind of people who can only know peace and order under a regime as harsh and brutal as the Taliban. Fantasies of freedom and democracy have only led to years of violence and bloodshed, more violence and bloodshed than was ever seen in pre-invasion Afghanistan. The Afghan people have never been wholeheartedly on the side of NATO, since they know better than to trust to abstractions about ‘freedom’ and promises of a better life in some utopian future. Their experience has taught them that safety lies not with supporting the better man (NATO), but with backing the stonger man. They see that between the Taliban and NATO the former have the will and the motivation to fight for their country and to clear it of invaders, while the latter can only spout claptrap about freedom, democracy and clean water while offering bribes of one kind or another to appease the Taliban and persuade them not to fight. Bin Laden once made a comment about how when people see a weak horse and a strong horse they naturally back the strong horse. The Taliban are the strong horse. After 7 years in conflict with the might of the US and NATO they are unbeaten and unbowed. NATO has no real reason for being in Afghanistan and it shows in their lacklustre performance. Just as the Iraqi insurgents (brutal and evil though they are) are driven by patriotism and religion to drive out their country’s occupiers, so the British army – who had nothing to motivate their futile presence in that country – ultimately fled from Basra – dress it up as you will – and left that city to the strong horse represented by the victorious insurgents. That’s just how it will end, but on a larger scale, with Afghanistan.

    *The West has no business being in Afghanistan because no country has a responsibility for another country or a right to dictate how it should manage its affairs;
    *elections managed by an occupying power have no validity, unless the result is universally accepted by the people of the country under occupation. A significant body of Afghans do not recognise the validity of the elections and the Afghan government cannot therefore claim any kind of legitimacy (which can come only from universal acquiescence in its right to govern, not from occupier-managed elections);
    *freedom and democracy are alien to Afghan traditions; sharia – as represented by the Taliban – is not. The Taliban are entitled to portray themselves as the representatves of Afghan tradition, and as such they are entitled to challenge an occupying force that represents the anti-Islamic and anti-Afghan alien traditions of Western liberalism;
    *The Taliban are fighting for the land of their ancestors against invaders; they represent the spiritual and cultural traditions of Afghanistan; they are fighting for an Afghanistan whose future is determined by Afghans and by nobody else. What motivates them is what has always motivated men to fight to the end and to die willingly: patriotism. NATO are fighting to mend water pipes and to have better paved roads and for the promise of what to the ordinary Afghan must be meaningless, alien abstractions about ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy.’ NATO has no vital interest in Afghanistan. Not a single NATO soldier will fight more determinedly or more courageously for the sake of making life better for Afghans, a political objective dreamed up in London and Washington, and lying somewhere at the end of a rainbow;
    *The Taliban will win when NATO follows the example of the British army in Basra and flees Afghanistan (with appropriate face-saving spin). They will deserve to win since, ironically, they represent nationality, independence and sovereignty, while NATO represents globalist government, liberal imperialism, and the denial of local traditions.

  23. 23 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 18:19

    Brett- your point is well taken

    The US strategies and tactics to deal with one problem are dropped like a hot potato once that problem is addressed.

    I am beginning to think the intelligence community creates more problems than external enemies for this reason.

    carlos KIng-

    destabilizing enemies, rather than going for a clear defeat, may have some truth as a spook community doctrine

    but do not kid yourself, militarily we do go for victory and miss the mark for various reasons.

  24. 24 Ali via text
    February 4, 2008 at 18:24

    The more civilians killed by NATO air strikes in Afghanistan ,the stronger Taliban is.
    Ali in Egypt

  25. 25 Archibald via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:25

    It is a broad question, but what, in the opinion of your guests, makes it so difficult to remove the Taleban from power, as they seem to benefit noone but themselves? Is it popular support or popular fear? probably a bit of both…

  26. 26 Stephan via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:25

    We hear a lot about the fragmentation of Afghanistan; What is necessary to really bring Afghanistani people together?


    Santa Barbara, California, USA

  27. 27 Tom via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:26

    In the 1990s Unocal asked for permission to build a pipeline across Afghanistan and the Taliban refused.

    Now that Hamid Karzai, a former Unocal employee, is president, has that pipeline been built or is it being built?

    Bend, OR

  28. 28 Stefan via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:26


  29. 29 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 18:27


    The training camp at Kandahar was the point of departure for 911.

    As such it was important to destroy.

    Your argument of creating new terrorist camps out of the conflict applies to Iraq, not Afghanistan.

    Honor is a very strong factor in that part of the world.

    Destruction of the Kandahar camp is understood and respected, it was honor.

    The US in Iraq works against the honor code, we degrade them, so they must vindicate their honor.

    Afghanistan was honorable on our part.

    Iraq was dishonorable on our part.

  30. 30 Evun via text
    February 4, 2008 at 18:29

    Don t you think that life under the Russian occupation was better?
    Evun in Ukraine

  31. 31 John in Salem
    February 4, 2008 at 18:30

    Uhh… you’re on your own there, Troop.

  32. 32 Erik via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:30

    looking at the billions that we, the western countries, spent, looking at the level of opium production, looking at the corruption of Karsail and its government, looking at the legal system that allows journalists to be condemned to prison, and so on, I do not see my values there. So I feel like that that country is and will remain rogue and archaic. Therefore, if the afgans want that, fine we must then live them to the fate and only apply a containment policy. End of story. Our boys must come back.

    Eric (Netherlands)

  33. 33 Igor
    February 4, 2008 at 18:36

    Hello to everybody in that interesting disscussion.
    I know that there is huge effort by the western countries to put the money into Afghanistan and its development and stabilization.
    One of those channels are so called PRTs and I would like to ask the guests what they think about the role of the PRTs. I would like to hear from the Afghan guests whether they think that PRTs may help and how and in which sectors they can do it. And is the Afghani public ready and willing to cooperate with PRTs? And I would also like to ask Barbara what is the Oxfams position towards the PRTs? Can they help or are they just ruining the NGOs efforts and blurring the lines between military and aid workers? Thanks a lot and all the best to those in Afghanistan.

  34. 34 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 18:42


    Most of what you say sounds like a good argument.

    There is one fly in the ointment.

    The Taliban allowed a terrorist camp to operate that attacked a NATO country, the USA.

    Anyone who is actively making war on the nations of NATO countries is the reason NATO exists for defense.

    However badly the US administration has handled it’s time in office is not the issue, nor their practices or doctrines, even though they are not good ones.

    The simple truth is the US was attacked. Afghanistan was the physical origin of the attack.

    The USA and NATO are there to prevent attacks from Afghanistan soil.

  35. 35 AJay via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:45

    The winners in Afghanistan are the American military-industrial complex, using the story of a need to defeat the horror of dark-ages Islam to line their pockets. Follow the money, find the winner.
    Chester, Connecticut, USA

  36. 36 Sameer via text
    February 4, 2008 at 18:47

    Afghanistan needs professionals, but from where i see, people of Afghanistan are illitrate, all they want right now is just food and security, the only way to groom Afghanistan is to educate people so that they can see there is a standard to live and what a sucessful state means,
    Sameer in Kuwait.

  37. 37 Mohd via text
    February 4, 2008 at 18:48

    No body is winning in Afganistan, security of Afgans did not improve at all, not even those in Kabul. Hamid Karzai should invite the Taliban & discuss peace,then other things should follow.
    Mohd, Maiduguri, Nigeria

  38. 38 VictorK
    February 4, 2008 at 18:52

    Is your American guest living on the same planet? contrary to his nonsensical statement, most of the people who attacked America on 9-11 did not come from
    Afghanistan. they came from that wonderful US ally, Saudi Arabia. None of them were Iraqis either.

    When people are reduced to uttering transparent lies to justify the occupation of another country you know that the game is up. There’s no reason for NATO to be in Afghanistan or for the West to be squandering its blood and treasure there. Let Afghans sort out their own future. Succeed or fail, the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone.

    The Taliban’s success is deserved punishment for gratuitous occupation and pointless aggression backed by lies.

  39. 39 Mike via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:52

    I’m sorry, but we have just about finished with Afghanistan. There is no way to victory, other than taking over the country, and changing everyone’s life.

    Mike J
    Portland, Oregon

  40. 40 Eliel via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:53

    We have to give them financial help. I don’t want us losing more money but because we pulled out of there so abruptly, at the end of the cold war, we gave the Taliban their power. We left it in shambles once. How about we don’t mess it up again. Stabalize, Build Schools, Hospitals, and give them quality of life before we leave.
    Eliel from Brooklyn

  41. 41 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 18:53

    On Honor-

    My remark refers to how we are viewed by others under their honor code.

    Our troops have fought honorably and with courage in Iraq.

    The reasons of our leadership for giving them the mission are viewed as less than honorable.

    I am always for our troops, and have the highest regards for our forces, morally, ethically, and on every other basis.


  42. 42 Bernie via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:53

    Its not just US, the whole world should help rebuild Afghanisthan.

    Bernie from NY

  43. 43 Scott via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:54

    Of the three leading American Presidential candidates, only one — Barack Obama — has consistently opposed the war in Iraq, largely because it is a distraction from the real “war on terror” in Afghanistan. His plan to withdraw troops from Iraq would allow America to increase troop levels and economic aid to Afghanis.
    Neither Clinton nor McCain can claim that.

    Tigard (“Tie-gurd”), Oregon

  44. 44 Zachary via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:54

    I believe that America is united in its firm belief that we need to provide both money and military support to Afghanistan. We, however, must maintain a careful balance so as not to be viewed as a conquering and occupying power. We cannot put at risk our strategic interests in the area any further than we already have. Further, a larger number of our troops in Afghanistan, along with a stabilization of that country, may help faltering Pakistan. In return, however, We expect the Afghans to turn away from militant fundamental Islam and accept peace and debate instead of violence and coercion to settle disputes.


  45. 45 Fred Greatorex
    February 4, 2008 at 18:55

    I can’t say that I’m committed to military and economic aid for Afghanistan — why doesn’t Saudi Arabia contribute to the economic aid of their Islamic Brothers? It just always seems that whenever there’s aid needed it’s always “what’s the US doing”? There are other countries with stronger economies that don’t contribute, and don’t feel the need too.

  46. 46 Daria via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:55

    Yes, absolutely, we are willing to ask continuing and increased commitment to Afghanistan of our politicians.
    Daria in SF on KALW

  47. 47 Fiona via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:56

    I’m an American citizen and am against sending troups to Afghanistan. Someone mentioned that those who flew into the trade centers were from there, but from my understanding, most of the terrorist were actually Saudi’s. I tend to believe that Afghanistan needs humanitarian aid, not more troops. Plus, with the American economy slipping the way it is, the last thing we need is to put military funding into another country.


  48. 48 Dan via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:56

    I think that if the US were to spend 1/5 of the military spending on agricultural market development in Afghanistan it would have a larger impact than boots on the ground. The Afghanis are a proud people and I believe that if they are given the means to support themselves, make choices on their own and feel assisted in their efforts the Taliban will become a moot point.


    Dan – Portland, OR

  49. 49 Antonio via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:57

    Invading the border areas of Pakistan is the only way to stop the taliban! And ultimately help Afghan democracy.

  50. 50 Larry via email
    February 4, 2008 at 18:57

    You must be deranged…
    There aren’t any winners; merely gaggles of losers.
    As far as American farming assistance, monetary aid, or any other support; please answer, what’s in it for us?
    We’ll provide the plowshares… while the Taliban provides Kalishnikov’s?
    From Larry in Detroit.

  51. 51 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 19:26


    Exactly what part of the Kandahar training camp being the origin of the 911 attack is unclear?

    For that matter, what other purpose than mutual defense does NATO exist for?

    For a moment- forget the rhetoric of spreading democracy, forget the rhetoric of religions, or anything else.

    NATO exists for the defense of NATO countries.

    A NATO country was attacked.

    The origin of attack, planning and training ground for the attackers was Kandahar Afghanistan.

    That is the reason to be in Afghanistan, to prevent attacks from that point on earth.

    If the individuals were recruited from Saudi Arabia, the doctrine of hate preached is from Saudi Arabia, and the fly swatters used by the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, that is a real issue, but has nothing to do with the need to prevent further attacks from its point of origin.

    NATO does not exist to address hate doctrines, the countries of origin of combatants, or fly swatters.

    NATO exists to defend nations in NATO when attacked.

  52. 52 George USA
    February 4, 2008 at 19:38

    The most valuable discussion is how to rebuild the nation of Afghanistan with the biggest bang for the buck.

    What can be done to rebuild it more effectively?

  53. February 4, 2008 at 19:41

    Honor among the extremist is something that they use as a front. They have no “honor”. Honor is an excuse for them not a way of life. Honor is something they use to inspire the naive and week minded. It is what they use to keep women week and terrified. Given the chance they will shirk their beliefs to advantage themselvs.

    The request to the Taliban was to hand over Osamma Bin Laden or suffer the invasion. It wasn’t “destroy Kandahar or we are invading.” If you want to split hairs, that was the focus of the mission. If the Taliban had the ability and the desire to turn over Osamma, the invasion would have been thwarted, at least temporarily.

    We certainly didn’t send good men and money into Afghanistan just to “hurt their feeling”. We sent them in to stop them from spreading their extreme ignorance around the world. We instead saw as there was direct communication between al-qaida in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The US in both Afghanistan and Iraq just threw water on a grease fire.

    The big picture is in both places our stated goal was to shut down the recruiting mechanism used by extremist to recruit more belligerent enemies of the US. Instead we have become the inspiration.

  54. 54 Sohail
    February 5, 2008 at 08:42

    I think there is no winner in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is being forgotten once again by the international community as it was in 1990s. Afghan people are disappointed and extremely frustrated since they see no change and their lives. I believe the reason for Afghanistan becoming a failed state is the lack of honest and sefficient financial aid and cooperations. There are reports that the British intelligence officers are training around 2000 Taliban forces. That shows the dual politics of the Britain, on one hand, they support the Afghan government and on the other, the Taliban! Moreover, Afghans are all grateful for the internationaly community being here but what they expect them to do is to provide them sufficient and honest cooperation! Given the above assessments, I see the losers are only Afghan people!

  55. 55 VictorK
    February 5, 2008 at 12:21

    George: the justification for the US taking retaliatory action against Afghanistan is not in dispute. The continued occupation of the country on the basis of constantly shifting excuses is. Nothing that you’ve written makes an even half credible case for what’s been happening in Afghanistan for the past few years.

    Yes, everybody knows that the 9-11 hijackers went to Afghanistan, took instructions from the Al Quaeda leadership there, and received training. What you conveniently ignore is the fact that there was an Al Quaeda cell in Hamburg (which included Muhammed Atta) and its members, as well as visiting Afghanistan, were also briefed by their handlers during their time in Hamburg. The Taliban could have claimed, like the Germans but not as plausibly, to have been unaware of precisely what was hatching in their backyard. The real justification for the strike against Afghnaistan was not simply the presence of Al Quaeda in Afghnaistan, but the refusal of the Taliban to co-operate in bringing them to justice when, following 9-11, it was known, beyond all possibility of deniability, that Bin Laden and his organisation were responsible for the outrage. If the US were to attack every country that knowingly harboured Jihadists wishing to harm the US, US citizens and US interests it would find itself attacking several NATO members, including Britain.

    There is good evidence that the Saudis funded the 9-11 attack in part or in full. It is a mystery to this day why no action has ever been taken against that country.

    Your take on NATO’s role is simplified to the point of caricature. You might actually read the NATO Charter, and even without doing that you know perfectly well that NATO was established as a force to counter Soviet expansionism, not to counter Islamic terror. That is the context in which to place the contents of its Charter. Article 5 is the critical one. It states that ‘…an armed attack against one or more of them [NATO members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,’ and that as a result ‘…each of them…will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking…such action…including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic Area.’ 9-11 might with some ingenuity be construed as an ‘armed attack’ under these provisions, but not even you will claim that Afghanistan in anyway represented a threat to the security of ‘the North Atlantic area.’ NATO’s presence in Afghanistan is unwarranted by the terms of its own charter.

  56. 56 George USA
    February 5, 2008 at 18:02

    I have no argument with your specific questions concerning Saudi Arabia.

    From there we part company-

    Germany and for that matter even Saudi Arabia- did not have a terrorist training camp on their soil, with their full knowledge and approval, to train/plan/implement armed attacks on other nations.

    The Taliban did and there is real threat that should they take Afghanistan again would do so in the future.

    Your argument concerning other nations is illogical- only a nation that supports, in full knowledge, a training and operations base with the express purpose of attacking other nations is being discussed- Afghanistan under the Taliban.

    Individual jihadist, or cells of jihadists, unknown to a nation and without their support have nothing to do with a terrorist training and operations base approved and supported by the government- again Afghanistan under the Taliban.

    You make my point on NATO- Thank you for quoting Article 5

    That is precisely the point- Afghanistan under Taliba rule did exactly represent a threat to NATO countries with armed attack conducted from their territory on more than one occasion.

    Kamakasi plane attacks, with or without passengers, are armed attacks. The losses in WWII of destroyers and US navy personnel during the last battle of WWII were due to Kamakasi plane attacks of the picket ship to the invasion.

    “Kamakasi” boat bomb attacks, as took place with the USN Chole was an armed attack.

    “Kamakasi” truck bomb attacks of US Embassy buildings in Africa were armed attacks.

    Any explosive device mounted on a vehicle or separate and independent is a weapon when used to kill targets.

    If you type in New York City and Washington DC to Google maps, you will find they both lay well within “the North Atlantic Area”, each are on the shore of the North Atlantic.

  57. February 5, 2008 at 18:18

    Pakistan, and the idea of an expanded and offended neighbor country with Muslim radicals and Nukes is a big part of us, America, not doing what really should have been done….continue the chase into Pakistan.

    We depended on a Pakistani Government that really was not in charge of a remote provinces, to eventually control them to eventually deliver the end of the Talibon and Bin Ladin supporters……..failure, and bad choices to really anger a surface allie.

    Time for a new U.S. President to form at least a 10 million person army to invade the rocks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to find close with and destroy all the crux of this Islamic wacko movement.

    I had no interest at all in going to Vietnam, I was busy with a decent job, but got drafted, became a Marine in the Infantry and stayed in the fight for some 3 years.
    It was a great experience and I just do not have any idea what all the flap would be if a lot of people got drafted and sent on a really profound venture to a foreign land to attack and wipe out really bad guys.

    As far as I can see we have lost all ability to round up an attack and go to war against really deserving enemies. We do not have to kill all 100,000,000, Muslims only a mere 1,000,000, of the radical nut cases who want to venture forward to clash with the young people from the west who are alloted to cull out the bad guys. We must get on a war footing and ignor these couch potoes who are tired of war, and they never even have gone to one. We need to get back to giving a good war a chance at ending the possibility of war being the one thing that will continue on for another 50 years.

    If we lose and our entire civilization gets destroyed……fine maybe we need to start a new one anyway. What a crock to put up with this crap that looks like it will go on and on for eons of time with no government making a true stand.


  58. February 5, 2008 at 18:23

    moderation? should we be nicer? They are murderers and killers. Moderation is only interpreted as weakness. We have got to get stronger willed and do something so filled with momentum that it would cause the Islamists to pray to Allah for an end to war. This is a far better form of moderated response rather than hitting them with several thousand nukes.


  59. February 5, 2008 at 18:24

    OK we’ll end the thing faster and not drag it on and on. Plus we will bless them after they are not moving any more.

  60. 60 George USA
    February 5, 2008 at 18:37

    The above was to VictorK

    This to Dwight-

    Here you go-

    “Honor: A History”
    by James Bowman (Author)

    There is a very real definition and context for the use of honor in Muslim society and it has nothing to do with what you are saying.

    This book is a good read, outlines the history of honor, how honor is no longer used in the US, why, how it is used in the Middle East and what it is, as well as how it applies to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I highly recommend you buy it on amazon or request it in your library.

    The reason is not one-up-man-ship on a discussion blog, nor is it to make my point, but that you and as many people as possible get a base line of understanding of our enemy in war, without it, we are talking about completely different things.

    The mission of the United States Army is to seek, find, close with and destroy the enemies of the United States of America.

    If you have ever traveled or lived abroad for any time, you found there were unwritten norms that you stumbled over because you did not know what they were.

    It is important that each Army officer understand as much as possible about the culture and norms he is fighting in to more effectively
    seek, find, close with and destroy the enemies of the United States of America.

    This is all the more important in an insurgency war.

    Read it.

  61. February 6, 2008 at 22:47

    Is anyone winning in Afghanistan?really the question of the day peace in the region is another question of the relating subject and whether Afghanistan running on the track leading to a ”failed state”

    A super power with allied Nato forces are one side and Talban islamists are other,guerilla war is going on which has been spread on years and perhaps will take much time can not be imagine.

    Kerzai government with unique help of Allied forces are engaging to sweep insurgency,terrorism in teh region but still failed what is the reason behind this failur subject to more and more investigation as have seen forces facing the terrorism has lost heart and now Nato countries are talking about repetriation form the battlefield.

    different kins of disputes are created among them ,World intelecual expressing their concern that Afghanistan is going become a ”failed state”

    I mean American policies are failed there also and what happing they never thought further more time is very short to deal with exiating circumstances.

    After considering the whole scenario we can not described that talban has been defeated there totally they are spreading day by day,there is example of Pakistan trible areas.

  62. February 7, 2008 at 17:24

    Talban and Al-gaeda,two in one is called terrorist orgnisation committed insurgency in different parts of the world.

    they committe insurgency without considering that what will be the result after a powerfull blast how much inncocent died and how much poor houses dived in the darkness.

    people lost their beloveds for ever it has been happened suddenly.
    No doubt,it is incredibe outrage.
    World fame political leader Benazir Bhutto has been assasinated by pre-planed conspiracy.

    Is it islam?
    no absolutely not,
    Islam teach us sympathy,brotherhood mercy and mutual respect not cruality,outrage baseless revenge and useless fight.

    It is an admitted fact that united states attacked Iraq and Afghanistan and planing entering into Pakistan.
    It has also great number in commission of crime against humanity.

    How much time they take in such position against eachothers.
    At last end will come and they moved to compromise but after inflicting countless injuries on human being’s person.

    So it is better forget all enmity and moving toward the way leading to brotherhood and security.

    It is true that there will be no peace without participation of Talban in the Afghan government.matter can be solved through negotiations.

    I am sure,middle east countries can play remarkable role bringing the peace in the region espacially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    pls be remembered still no one in a position can claim its victory.
    Bloodshed is going on and every corner of the world smeared with blood of innocents peoples. God bless us all.

  63. February 8, 2008 at 16:09

    Imperialism can never be a relevant and ready answer to political stability and cannot be seen as the solution to a political problem . As a matter of principle it envisages the termination of the right to self determination and the imposition of alien authorities . Afghanistaan has fallen prey to the colonial ambitions of the powers of the day . Talibaans exit though much wanted was insured through the military action by the ultimate powers but the objective was not confined to the liquidation of taalibans alone , rather it was a step forward towards neo-imperialism . Afghanistaan today is being governed by those who wanted to slant a political arrangement in Asia to control the politics and call shots directly by imposing a dummy regime . THe regime continues but the insurgency and the suicide attacks continue unabeted and the so called Karzai Government has been a disaster in dealing with the growing violence. next was Iraq annexed from the jaws of dictatorship and thrown into the mouth of colonial quagmire. Syria and Iran are waiting for the military action to be initiated against them. The world polity is all at sea and there is no control on the imperial ambitions of the most dreaded and they are going berserk without the fear to be pinned down.

  64. 64 Karki Sudarshan
    July 13, 2008 at 11:04

    I wan’t to Security service in USA

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