View Full Version : The Taliban are coming back to the front

24 Jun 06,, 00:33
The Taliban are coming back to the front
By James Rupert

The United States and its allies have been forced to launch their biggest military operation of the war in Afghanistan because in the 55 months since ousting the Taliban movement from power, they neglected to establish minimal security or governance in the country’s south, analysts say.

That failure has let the Taliban walk back in through an open door, say Afghan and foreign officials in Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar. Afghan officials estimate thousands of Taliban guerrillas, many recently infiltrated from Pakistan, are in the five southernmost provinces, where their attacks culminated this spring in a spasm of bombings, ambushes and assassinations against scattered government targets.

US-led coalition forces launched a counteroffensive last week that they said will involve 11,000 Afghan and Western troops, in an effort to stabilise the south this summer before US commanders hand that region over to an arriving Nato force.

“If we had made efforts on this scale five years ago, we would be in a much stronger position than we are now,” said James Dobbins, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan who studies post-war rebuilding operations for the RAND Corporation think tank.

The Taliban have won much of their support by intimidating villagers or buying them off with money gained through the opium trade, said officials and residents interviewed in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. But critically, the Taliban have been able simply to fill a political vacuum because the United States and its allies failed to do it instead, they said.

Under coalition supervision since 2001, what has passed for “government” in the south amounts mostly to “corrupt, local warlords who allied themselves with US forces,” said Abdul Qadar Noorzai, the director in Kandahar of Afghanistan’s government human rights commission. These local strongmen have taken control over the weak state bureaucracies and police forces, and much of the opium trade, Noorzai said.

As the corruption has spread, local officials “push the people for bribes and so the people are turning to the Taliban” for protection from the government, said Abdul Ahmad Mohammadyar, publisher of a Pashtu-language cultural magazine in Kandahar.

The top US commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, conceded last month that “the very weak institutions of the state” have permitted what he painted as a small Taliban revival. But “I am confident ... the situation will improve by the end of this year,” he said.

The reality in the south looks far nastier. Because of the Taliban’s spread, United Nations agencies, which a few years ago operated freely over 60 per cent to 70 per cent of southernmost Afghanistan, now can work readily in only six of the region’s 50 districts, or counties, said UN regional director Talatbek Masadykov.

The Taliban have established parallel authorities, including courts, in wide areas of the south and people are turning to them to solve conflicts, say Afghan press reports and UN officials.

Relatively few in the revived Taliban movement are “true believers, or real jihadists,” Masadykov said.

Larger numbers “are fighting for pay” or “have joined the Taliban because of intimidation or disaffection with the government,” he said. In late May, Afghan and US forces battled hundreds of Taliban in villages barely 10 miles west of Kandahar. City residents say armed Taliban patrol their outer neighbourhoods, warning people not to send their children to government schools. Last year, guerrillas burned or shut down more than 100 schools in Kandahar province.

In the 1990s, Kandahar was the Taliban’s stronghold. After September 11, 2001, when the US recruited anti-Taliban warlords to overthrow the regime, its ally in Kandahar was Gul Agha Sherzai, a strongman seen in Afghanistan as corrupt and brutal.

Beginning in 2002, US-backed President Hamid Karzai pleaded for a broad, international peacekeeping force to replace and disarm the provincial warlords and speed the training of Afghan army and police forces.

But Washington resisted and it took Karzai until last summer to ease first Sherzai and then his protégé out of the governor’s office. Under Karzai and the Americans, Kandahar has had a limited economic revival.

But official bribery and extortion, plus the violence of the Taliban’s resurgence, have helped choke off any economic boom.

As in much of Afghanistan, perhaps the most glaring failure of rebuilding is the police. Most police, recruited locally and untrained, are not paid regularly, and significant numbers are deserting, officials and Kandahar residents said.

Even in districts where policemen face strong Taliban forces, the policemen don’t have a second clip of ammunition for their rifles, said an Afghan security official in Kabul. “The coalition is ramping up now to build up the police force. But that’s four years too late.”


24 Jun 06,, 08:31
You cannot defeat an enemy who is being assisted by your friend.

25 Jun 06,, 04:01
It's high time Bush nuts up and deals with the issue...

02 Jul 06,, 08:58
You cannot defeat an enemy who is being assisted by your friend.
what do u mean actually !!!
who is supporting taliban secretly/openly ?

02 Jul 06,, 09:21
It's true: the Taliban ARE coming back to the front...and getting their asses handed to 'em.

They are fighting us on our terms; may it ever be so. They simply cannot beat us like that.

02 Jul 06,, 17:01
The problem is Afghanistan is that the coilition hasnt been sucessful in rebuilding the country as much as they promised. Money has been pouring into the country from EU, Japan, US and from the rest of the world.

Money isnt the issue, the problem is the currption, money is set aside for projects but as the projects gets underway the middle man ends up running away with the money.

This sort of thing has been going on for 5 years now, aid agencys build schools they are give say $150,000 for a new girls school but only 10% of that will actully reach the people who want to build the school, the rest is lost in the process as it trickles down.

The population are getting uneasy no progress means trouble and Taliban are capitalising on such dreadful events.

Bottom line is Afghanistan will not see the bright future they were promised and the violence will continue, this is the view from a freind who works in a aid agency in Afghanistan not a personel view.

And the irony is that everyone wants to help but we need just to give it the little extra push that it requires, we worked so hard to get this far but we aint pushing that little bit harder to get there.

03 Jul 06,, 06:09
what do u mean actually !!!
who is supporting taliban secretly/openly ?
The very chaps who supplied the Taliban with replacement batteries for their old stinger missiles. ;)