Kommentar

Al Qaida og Taliban har etablert seg i provinsene Waziristan og Nord-Vest-provinsen av Pakistan, hvor de nyter godt av samme frihet som i Afghanistan. Hvis NATO trekker seg ut av Afghanistan vil Taliban snart være tilbake.

Richard Holbrooke har vært i Kabul og slår fast noen ubehagelige sannheter:

In a region of Pakistan almost unknown to most Americans, a sort of failed ministate offering sanctuary to our greatest enemies has arisen. It is a smaller version of what Afghanistan was before Sept. 11, 2001, and it poses a direct threat to vital American national security interests.

Waziristan and North-West Frontier Province, where Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar are hiding, have become a major sanctuary in which the Taliban and al-Qaeda train, recruit, rest and prepare for the next attacks on U.S., NATO and Afghan forces inside Afghanistan. The most recent, on March 29, resulted in the deaths of one American and one Canadian soldier. More attacks must be expected.

Situasjonen er låst: Afghanistan har ikke styrker til å ta opp kampen med Taliban-inntrengere. Pakistan gjør ikke noe effektivt med rottereiret i «tribal areas». Eneste svar er at NATO må bli stående, og trolig vil nærværet vare mye lenger enn Irak.

The only viable choice is to stay, in order to deny most of the country to the enemy. That means an indefinite U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan. No U.S.official will say it publicly, but the conclusion is clear: We will be in Afghanistan for a very long time, much longer than we will remain in Iraq.

Iran

I all stillhet øker Iran sin innflytelse i vest. Et lite påaktet fenomen.

Herat, the only major city in the west, highlights the complexities of Afghanistan. Less than 100 miles from the Iranian border, it is enjoying an economic boom and almost no Taliban threat. But the economy is fueled in large part by Iran, which is visibly gaining economic and political influence in the region. So here is the ultimate irony of a situation filled with irony: Our «strategic ally» (in President Bush’s phrase) in Pakistan is giving sanctuary to the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the east, while an «axis of evil» country is playing a stabilizing role in the west. In fact, of course, Iran is pursuing the same long-term strategic goal there as it does everywhere: to create a Shiite region stretching from Lebanon as far east as possible. Iran’s growing strength in Herat can only heighten Tehran’s sense that events are going its way these days.

Afghanistan: The Long Road Ahead