"What did he say???"
That's right folks, that's where we are, that's the topic list.
The Taleban are attacking towns as close as 150 miles from Kabul. No road is 'safe' as police stations all over the country are being attacked; forcing the NATO war colossus to operate in a complex, multi faceted manner -- testing the limits of it's advantage.
We have lost the hearts and minds of Afghans by now, I fear. If this continues into the summer, then the war is over -- time to pack up and leave.
June 19, 2007 -- BBC NEWS,
By BBC World Affairs editor, John Simpson
In the east of the country, around Jalalabad, suicide bombings have become such frequent occurrences that the road from there to Kabul is now known as "the Baghdad road".
In the far western, Herat Province, May 31, 2007 BBC NEWS,
By Alastair Leithead
He described how it was only after the villagers were angered by culturally insensitive house searches that they picked up guns and took on the American military machine.
"When the Americans came the people started fighting them back, and then the planes came and started bombing us. "Even under the Russians we haven't witnessed bombardments like it before."
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) investigated the accounts and identified that at least 25 of those killed in Shindand were women and children.
Lost that battle.
In the following, the mans question gets to the point - the battle is not to beat the Taleban with military might, it can't be done, but rather to win the hearts and minds of Afghans.
From BBC NEWS story, "Afghan villagers answer your questions"
QUESTION: from Farid Mamundzay, Birmingham, UK,
It is often argued that Afghanistan was peaceful during the Taleban rule, and that after their fall, the country has not enjoyed the same level of peace and stability. Do you agree? Do you see the presence of foreign forces important for the future of Afghanistan or should the Taleban be invited to participate in a broad national government?
ANSWER: from, Rahmat Gul:
You are partly right. People did enjoy peace and stability. But Taleban laws were harsh and draconian. Now the laws are within the framework of a democracy and if we implement them we could have more peace and security.
To your second question - I think foreign forces should coordinate their operations with Afghan forces in a bigger way to avoid civilian casualties.
The thing is that if you invite the Taleban to join a broad-based national government, there will be no need for foreign troops in the country at all. It would not be such a bad idea, though I wonder how the Taleban would react to such a proposal.
It would be a good idea to declare an amnesty for all the indigenous Taleban and bring them into the mainstream of politics. The foreign Taleban should be kept out.
Invite the Taleban to join a broad-based national government, in exchange, NATO could leave. I wonder how the Taleban would react to such a proposal. As we see in Gaza, the fundamentalists don't play well with others... The other choice, for both sides, is endless this.
Building schools has failed I believe, because the tactic falls directly into the scope of the most effective of Taleban tactics -- playing to the fears of men and boys, who's identity is already in an abused state, now challenged by a liberating of women in the law -- while their identifier, farming, remains impossible because irrigation projects 1000's of years in use, remain destroyed from thirty years of war.
Rebuilding and improving the irrigation infrastructure, would employ farmers in their own self interest. They gain back identity in providing for their families, and the Taleban lose a fighter -- progress then would then surely follow.
Irrigation Infrastructure should be the the focus of a re-newed attempt, that is coming soon, to re-build infrastructure. Essential, culturally based infrastructure like the irrigation system --would help Afghans live day to day, and at the same time employ would be fighters at farming, and thus empower the family and local authority against the Taleban.
Information in the form of high quality color coded topographical mapping, and meteorological information would be a great way to interlock with the local economy -- and later as security returns, help NATO influence WHAT is grown with the water.
I fear these are but lost opportunities in the this, other imperial blunder. We have lost so many battles for minds in Afghanistan, and our tactics remain intractable -- that we are now losing this war.