Unravelling of a nation ‘liberated’ by the West

by Kim Sengupta Independent (UK) full article

At the Nato summit in Istanbul the US and Britain squared up to France yet again. But this time the row was not over Iraq. They quarrelled over which troops should be sent to a country that had already been liberated; a country where power has already been handed over. Amid the wrangling, one man cut a forlorn figure. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leader appointed with a nod of approval from the West, cares little whether it is a Nato response force or reserve troops that fly in. He simply needs help. “I would like you to please hurry. Come sooner than September, please.” September is when elections are due.

Tony Blair may have pledged that Afghanistan would not be abandoned, but after the Taliban was ousted, Washington and London’s focus shifted east to Iraq. Meanwhile, the toll of dead and maimed is rising. The infrastructure is non-existent, opium production is rocketing, warlords control large swathes of the country, and the Taliban are back. Afghanistan is unravelling piece by piece.

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