Friday, 21 August 2009

Afghanistan: Choices

Photo © Raheb Homavandi/Reuters-Courtesy WSJ Photo Journal

Our media is publishing reams of articles on the elections in Afghanistan, so I thought I'd highlight excerpts of articles written by a US commentator and another from the UK.

In his In Afghanistan, the Choice Is Ours in The New York Times, Richard N. Haass writes this:
Making this assessment in Afghanistan is difficult. The Taliban are resourceful and patient and can use Pakistan as a sanctuary. It is not obvious that Afghans can overcome ethnic and tribal loyalties, corruption and personal rivalries. No matter who is declared the winner, yesterday’s election is almost certain to leave the country even more divided.

There needs to be a limit to what the United States does in Afghanistan and how long it is prepared to do it, lest we find ourselves unable to contend with other wars, of choice or of necessity, if and when they arise.

The incomparable Robert Fisk in his Democracy will not bring freedom in The Independent writes this:

We still think we can offer Afghans the fruits of our all-so-perfect Western society. We still believe in the Age of Enlightenment and that all we have to do is fiddle with Afghan laws and leave behind us a democratic, gender-equal, human rights-filled society. In the meantime, NATO soldiers go on dying for the pitiful illusion that we can clean the place up. We can't. We are not going to.

That's right. We can't and won't.