Kabul Confidential

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A downbeat report on Afghanistan's fortunes five years later:

It seems essential for the west to narrow its ambitions in Afghanistan merely to frustrating the return of the Taliban. An American officer declares proudly that there are now 6 million Afghan children in schools, including 2 million girls. It is appalling to contemplate the prospect that if the fanatics regain power, the absolute subjection of women will be restored.

Yet it seems impossible for westerners to aspire to transform the entire culture of the country, simultaneously with eradicating opium and beating the Taliban. President Karzai will never govern his country successfully on a western democratic model. Whatever form of rule evolves there, in western eyes it is unlikely to be pretty. The best we can hope is that it will prove less ugly than that of the Taliban.

That's Max Hastings in the Guardian. Whole thing here.

NEXT: 99 Bottles of Beer Down the Drain

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  1. id say opium is the biggest think the afghans have going for them. and besides theres nothing like a little black tar to kickstart a friday evening …
    we all know the only way to help the world is to open up free trade. and the war on drugs is impeding free trade, so we are basically responsible for fucking the afghanies right now.

  2. Not to fear, Rove and Co. will turn this losing streak into November gold they way it’s beeen done before: failure is an asset.

  3. Failure is an asset when you want the system changed. Setting up a failure can be a strawman tactic to get people to think your way is better because the “other” way failed.

  4. TrickyVic,

    I agree and the US should be equally aware of those that support such a strawman.

    Also, the women in Afghanistan would probably say “whatever works”.

  5. Guardian Shocker – Columnist Criticizes US Foreign Policy!

  6. I’m sure everyone here opposes the war on drugs and everyone knows Afghanistan provides a signifigant majority of the world’s opium, but does anybody know why? In a country that is a battleground between Islamic fundamentalists and US soldiers you’d think it would be the last place on earth to be the opium growing captiol. Is the Afghan soil uniquely good for opium cultivation or something?

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