The twin strategy of war and reconstruction in Afghanistan has failed to achieve any remarkable success. The country is sliding fast into chaos and disorder, particularly on its southern and eastern periphery. If other areas are calm, it is not because the state has extended its writ to them, but because it has surrendered its authority to the local warlords. There is general despondency and frustration among the population.The U.S. under the Bush administration has allied itself with the warlords, the worst and least popular elements of Afghan society:
Their grief and anger is widely shared by the international community and by friends of Afghanistan throughout the world. After three bouts of deadly war, the Afghans thought they would have a better, peaceful future and economic opportunities to reconstruct their individual and collective lives.
The Taliban have re-emerged as a formidable force, against the hope that international intervention and political reconstruction would end the war. The warlords continue to stay put and strong, forcing President Hamid Karzai to make compromises. The Pashtun regions remain unstable and out of the government’s control.
Local farmers and international drug-traffickers have found the absence of the Afghan state and weak political and security arrangements auspicious for reviving poppy cultivation on a scale never known before in the history of the country. Afghanistan unfortunately has become a narcotics state — a development that has taken place in the presence of NATO, ISAF and US forces.
The warlords humiliated, coerced and murdered tens of thousands of Afghans, and most of them had a narrow support base in their immediate ethnic or tribal communities. The United States, by co-opting them as allies against the Taliban, rehabilitated them, empowered them with money and weapons and gave them a dignified space in the new political structure.Read the full commentary.
Most of them have committed untellable atrocities against their political and ethnic rivals and could be put before an international criminal tribunal for their crimes against humanity. All of them have been spared for the ‘good’ work they have done for the US and ISAF forces.