Ahmed Abdullah – Al Jazeera.com April 2, 2007
More than five years after the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan that ousted the Taliban regime, Afghans say their lives have become more insecure.
"We have more bloodshed, more poverty and more grievances than during the Taliban's time," Haji Agha, a resident of Lashkargah, the provincial capital, told IRIN.
Taliban military chief Mullah Dadullah has been quoted recently as saying that thousands of Taliban fighters have been deployed across Afghanistan and are preparing to attack occupation bases as well as the puppet Afghan Government.
Mullah Dadullah’s remarks, which were rejected by Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi who labeled them as “psychological tactics”, came to assert a recent assessment by two Afghanistan experts who suggested recently that the situation in the war-torn country was getting out of control of the occupation and NATO forces, citing fledging support of Afghans to the NATO mission, probably as a result of recent surge in civilian casualties as a result of indiscriminate NATO and occupation forces’ attacks.
Over 4,000 people, a quarter of them civilians, according to Reuters, were killed last year.
Speaking to Commons committee, U.S. scholar Barnett Rubin and Gordon Smith painted a bleak image for the situation in Afghanistan.
Their remarks as well as remarks by Mullah Dadullah contradicted a statement made a few days earlier by Canada's top military commander, Gen. Rick Hillier, who claimed that great progress is being made in Afghanistan.
On one hand, Dadullah asserted that Taliban, which although ousted from power in 2001 its fighters maintained a hit-and-run guerrilla war against U.S.-led occupation and Afghan forces, now has the ability and the weapons to fight foreign troops for a long time.
"We have sent thousands of Taliban fighters to all Afghan cities for attacks on foreign troops and their Afghan puppets," Dadullah said.
"We will turn our motherland into the graveyard of the U.S. forces and their families should wait for their dead bodies.
"The Taliban's war is only for the freedom of Afghanistan from the enemies of Muslims."
On the other hand, Rubin, who has been to Afghanistan 29 times, believes that Afghans’ anger over the failure of the Western powers to stabilize the country is growing day after day.
Their support to the NATO forces is fading away, he said.
"They're not at all happy. Support for both the international presence and the government has plummeted in the past year or so," he told the foreign affairs committee, adding that Afghans’ anger is stemming from the failure of the occupation forces to bring the stability and democracy the U.S. boasted about prior the occupation.
"The main complaint that I hear from Afghans is ... that we haven't delivered what they think we promised."
Also political experts attribute the possible return of Taliban to the lack of development in Afghanistan.
"People are poor, unemployed and affected by drought. Instead of offering them assistance to survive, the government has eradicated their poppy fields and has installed corrupt and incompetent provincial officials," Engineer Matin, an MP from Helmand, said.
In a recent article published in Foreign Affairs magazine, Rubin warned that Afghanistan "is at risk of collapsing into chaos," attributing that to the underestimation of the influence of Pakistan, a strong ally in Bush’s so-called “war on terrorism”, by Washington.
He said Pakistan has become a "safe haven" to the Taliban.
On the other hand, Smith, now executive director of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, suggested that there’s growing evidence that fighters with ties to Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network are more potent than before.
"The Al Qaeda problem has not gone away," he told MPs. "It's important that we not forget the original motivation for going to Afghanistan, and that was to deal with Al Qaeda."
In a recently released report titled Canada in Afghanistan: Is it Working? Smith raised questions over whether the occupation and the NATO forces can achieve their goals in Afghanistan or not, even within 10 years.
The U.S.-led occupation overthrew the Taliban regime after its leadership refused to hand over Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden following the September 11 attacks on the United States, which Washington blames on Al Qaeda network.
But the U.S. is failing to win the so-called “war on terrorism”.
The Bush administration’s campaign has undertaken an active and highly publicized agenda domestically and overseas to rid the world of “evildoers,” but as remarks and assessments in this article made clear, more than fiver years after embarking on this campaign following 9/11, the American public hasn’t become freer or safer, both at home and when traveling.
Bush’s administration’s foreign policies have only ensured Americans will see both their security and liberty eroded.
Last updated 05/04/2007