Kabul Confidential


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.