The US appears to be foundering in Afghanistan almost at the same level it is foundering in Iraq. The New York Times ran a huge article about America’s failures in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, while the Financial Times ran three separate articles on Tuesday about how badly the war (or the reconstruction) is going there, a front page article and two opinion pieces.
One of the main problems is that Afghanistan is reverting to its poppy growing heroin ways under Taliban influence. It’s ironic that Afghanistan finally began to break its reliance on heroin under a Taliban government that ruthlessly punished heroin trafficking, but now that the Taliban is on the outside, it is encouraging opium production.
The other problem is the breakdown in security, as in Iraq. This is due mainly to the Bush administration’s failure to commit enough military force to do the job, as in Iraq. Now NATO is taking over the military job, and is paying the price for the American failures.
Adding to the problems in Afghanistan, and to Bush’s lack of credibility on terrorism issues, is Pakistan’s decision to keep hands off Osama bin Laden, who presumably is in western Pakistan.