‘A doomed mission’

‘A doomed mission’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, February 28, 2007

Failure in Afghanistan has revived the Taliban and now, after six years of occupation, there is no way Nato can win this war

It is year six of the UN-backed Nato occupation of Afghanistan, a joint US/EU mission. On February 27 there was what some claim to be an attempted assassination of Dick Cheney by Taliban suicide bombers while he was visiting the “secure” US air base at Bagram (once an equally secure Soviet air base during an earlier conflict). Two US soldiers and a mercenary (“contractor”) died in the attack, as did 20 other people working at the base. This episode alone should have concentrated the US vice-president’s mind on the scale of the Afghan debacle. In 2006 the casualty rates rose substantially and Nato troops lost 46 soldiers in clashes with the Islamic resistance or in shot-down helicopters.

The insurgents now control at least 20 districts in the Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan provinces where Nato troops have replaced US soldiers. And it is hardly a secret that many officials in these zones are closet supporters of the guerrilla fighters. The situation is out of control. At the beginning of this war Mrs Bush and Mrs Blair appeared on numerous TV and radio shows claiming that the aim of the war was to liberate Afghan women. Try repeating that today and the women will spit in your face. read more