Monday, October 13, 2008

Stephen Harper & NATO's Failure in Afghanistan -The Country Has been Decimated & Is In Chaos

Anyway, it appears Stephen Harper is now not as certain as he once was about the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan as we see in recent statements.Now Harper opens the way for the Afghanistan government to negotiate with various groups including the Taliban. So I guess we failed to destroy the Taliban . Afghanistan has become another quagmire as it was for the Soviet Union before we and NATO under orders from America , George Bush , that is that we had to invade and occupy the sovereign nation of Afghanistan. Maybe if we had gone in mainly to help rebuild the country while encouraging it to move towards democracy and the improvement of human rights we may have by now made some real progress. Instead we went in Rambo style all guns blazing without any concern for the innocent civilians of Afghanistan.

by STEVEN CHASE /Globe and Mail /October 6, 2008

HALIFAX — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said it's up to the Afghan government to decide if it wants to negotiate peace with Taliban insurgents there.
“Ultimately, how to bring about political reconciliation and who to talk to -- these are decisions the Afghan government has to take,” he said during a campaign stop in Ottawa today.
Mr. Harper was commenting on a recent statement from Britain's top commander in Afghanistan, who said the war there will not end in victory and suggested that a negotiated settlement will be necessary.
The Conservatives have often shot down the idea of direct negotiations between Canada and the Taliban, and Mr. Harper's party made fun of parties who suggested a political solution.

From Harper INdex.Ca:Afghanistan — Harper imitates Bush's cut-and-run, support-the-troops rhetoric

Canadian deaths up ante in patriotic slogan debate.

Canada became involved in the NATO occupation of Afghanistan to placate the Americans for not sending troops to Iraq. The nature of Canadian involvement changed radically, however, once Stephen Harper's minority government was elected in January 2006.

Harper has always backed the aggressive military behaviour of the United States. He enthusiastically supported the US invasion of Iraq and complained bitterly when Canada did not send troops there.

"I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans," he told Report Newsmagazine, March 25th 2002. He voted against a motion urging the Canadian government not to participate in the US military intervention in Iraq on March 20, 2003.

On April 4, 2003, he told a Friends of America Rally, "Thank you for saying to our friends in the United States of America, you are our ally, our neighbour and our best friend in the whole wide world. And when your brave men and women give their lives for freedom and democracy we are not neutral. We do not stand on the sidelines; we're for the disarmament of Saddam and the liberation of the people of Iraq."

Most Canadians, however, did not support Canadian involvement in Iraq. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien arranged to send a few troops to relatively safe parts of Afghanistan as a quiet, face-saving endorsement of America without high costs. Later under Prime Minister Paul Martin and Defence Minister Bill Graham, Canadian troops were deployed to more dangerous southern regions on the advice of newly-appointed chief of Canada's land forces Rick Hillier. When the Harper Conservatives won their minority government, things intensified.

We were told over and over again that we were in Afghanistan in part to help the women of Afghanistan but the reality is that things are not any better for women in Afghanistan since NATO's Intervention:

...The persecution of women persists as badly as under the Taliban, as confirmed, she reports, by the women of RAWA, the same women's group that resisted the Taliban government. The government is elected but controlled by the US and the warlords, civilians continue to die in large numbers as a result of NATO and Canadian actions, leading to the creation of more insurgents.

"The Harper government claims (among other things) that the fight in Afghanistan is about the establishment of a democratic government that respects human rights, in particular the rights of women. In fact, this fight is not about human rights and never has been," wrote political scientist James Laxer in Straight Goods in February 2007.

"The Taliban and Al Qaeda grew out of the earlier struggles of the Mujahideen from the 1970s to the 1990s to overturn the pro-Soviet regime that was kept in power by Soviet troops. The United States provided enormous financial aid and direction to the Mujahideen, knowing that they were virulently opposed to the rights of women. Now the US and its NATO allies are fighting the political forces Washington helped create.

"While the human rights record of the Taliban government was atrocious... we must never forget that the US played a large role in creating the Taliban. Moreover, the Northern Alliance and other allies of the US in the struggle to overturn the Taliban government have been guilty of major human rights abuses including rape, public executions, bombing of civilians and the massacre of prisoners."

To quell public criticism of the Afghanistan mission, Conservatives have relied on the motto "support our troops." "There will be some who want to cut and run, but cutting and running is not my way and it's not the Canadian way," Harper told a rally of troops in March, 2007.

as for Afghanistan well it appears the US & Nato want to get chummy with the Ousted Taliban so maybe the Taliban can retake Afghanistan so what were the last eight years about -oh yeah Women's rights the Pentagon & Nato's Feminist Strategy or excuse for taking control of Afghanistan . But how does one allow religious fanatics to share power. As if the Taliban would settle for just a seat at the table. So I guess things are not really improving in Afghanistan and now NATO wants out.

US mulls Taliban reconciliation Oct. 10, 2008

Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, has said his country would "ultimately" be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban group to end the conflict in Afghanistan

...And, speaking after the first day of Nato meetings in Budapest about the war in Afghanistan, Gates said any settlement with the Taliban would be on the Afghan government's terms and would require the group to subject itself to Kabul's rule.
"There has to be ultimately, and I'll underscore ultimately, reconciliation as part of a political outcome to this," he said.

"That's ultimately the exit strategy for all of us."

The Harper government tells the Canadian people that our military is in Afghanistan along with the Americans and other members of NATO to destroy Al Qaeda & The Taliban and other extremists and terrorists groups yet it appears that the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse. We are told our Canadian troops are in Afghanistan are also there to defend human rights especially the rights of women and to usher in democratic reform. Yet there has been little or no democratic reform and the Afghan women are no better off than they were before NATO and America's intervention or invasion & occupation of Afghanistan. To even suggest that our mission is a failure and that we should pull out of Afghanistan is to be labelled as a disloyal Canadian who does not support our troops and who is giving aid and comfort to the enemy terrorists and to show a lack of concern for the plight of Afghan women. Because such accusations are tossed around by Stephen Harper & his party and all those who have bought into his "jingoistic slogans " it has become almost impossible to have a calm and reasonable discussion about Canada's role in Afghanistan.

One wonders how much of the passion fueling the War on Terror is really fueled by racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance.Are Western Nations in Afghanistan & Iraq in order to neutralize terrorist threats or are they there to punish Arabs & Muslims in general for 9/11 and other terrorist attacks.Are we in these countries as a continuation of The Crusades to ensure that Christendom prevails over all other religious groups. We may say we are there to take out the extremists but to the average person in these areas it all appears to be just the West flexing its muscles to teach the rest of the world who is in charge.

What began as as a military intervention to attack , capture or kill Al Qaeda members then was said to be a means too undermine the power & control of the Taliban & to spread Democratic principles and freedom but has turned into another unwinable quagmire. It has become a seemingly unending horror unleashed on the people of Afghanistan . First it was the Soviets who invaded Afghanistan in 1979 while the Americans used that opportunity to back various extremists and fanatical religious groups in Afghanistan in a proxy war against the Soviet Union..

Nothing new for America as it also backed a proxy war against Iran using the brutal Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein . He was given free rein to torture and kill his own people along with over a million Iranians . Yet the Ultra-Conservatives still claim they were somehow shocked by Saddam's actions even though they knew all along about them and downplayed such facts to the press & the public to prove their loyalty to Saddam. Before that the Americans had backed the Brutal Shah of Iran for over 25 years who also killed tens of thousands of his own people especially those who criticized his rule or claimed that the Shah was an American Puppet.

For decades the Americans and other governments with ties to the Shah of Iran defended his actions or downplayed them saying that the Shah needed to do what he did because of a Communist threat within his country . But to Iranians and others the Shah was crushing any form of dissent imprisoning critics or anyone opposed to his regime while shutting down the Press and the Media. But Americans do like their dictators and extremists when they are of use to them.The West is all in favor of Democratic elections if the people in these foreign nations vote into power those who will serve the interests of the West and Western Corporations rather than serving the needs of their own people. Serving the needs of their own people might mean insisting that foreign corporations pay the workers decent wages and provide them with benefits that we in the West take for granted. This would also mean allowing workers to form unions even in those Industries partly owned or controlled by Westerners. This would also mean that these foreign corporations would have to pay their fare share of taxes to the government of these nations and to give a percentage of their profits to those governments. They would also have to abide by occupation and health standards and be subject to environmental regulations . All of these are not things which most Western countries would be willing to agree to. Whenever Nationalist movements no matter how moderate arose in various countries Western Nations would do everything they could to suppress even the most popular and reasonable attempts at reform if it meant Western Corporations profits were to be adversely affected.

There are many examples of Western Corporations in non-Western countries running rough-shod over the governments and the peoples of these nations. In fact the reasons Western Corporations are interested in setting up in these countries are greatly determined by being allowed to pay subsistence wages and the promise of Unions being kept out of their Industries and that there be little or no benefits to workers. Beyond this Western Corporations having been spawned by a culture of greed do not want to pay their fare share of taxes or to share their profits with the people of these nations beyond bribing the corrupt rulers whom they support in these nations so they can continue to plunder the wealth of these nations.They also do not want to have to worry about pesky issues such as destroying the environment or polluting the land and waters of these countries or by their actions destroying the health of the people of these nations as a result of lax environmental regulations which are in part ruled by Western supported puppet regimes. So much for fair competition and a level playing field or being responsible corporate citizens. These third world countries are basically slave states for the Western nations or other powerful countries . For decades we saw this policy defended in countries such as South Africa with its brutal Apartheid Regime which without the help of certain Western and Middle Eastern countries would have been forced to become more democratic sooner than it finally did.

Robert Fisk on Iraq & Afghanistan

Robert Fisk compares Saddam Hussein's targeting of innocent civilians to exact revenge on a family, a tribe or a village to the reprisals made by Americans or NATO forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the end what is the real difference. Over and over again we hear of villages being bombed because there might be a connection to a terrorists or insurgent or a wedding party is bombed because they share their last name is the same as some insurgents.

Robert Fisk's World: 'Collateral damage' or targeted killing, the effect is much the same One grandfather lost all his sons and grandsons. His family line came to an end
Saturday, 11 October 2008

But now I ask a question. When US troops massacre Iraqi civilians in Haditha because their buddy has been murdered, what is the difference between their revenge and that of Saddam? When a Taliban attack on NATO forces in Afghanistan provokes a US air strike on a village and leaves women and children torn to pieces in the ruins – this now seems the inevitable result – what is the difference between those innocent deaths and the destruction of the families of Abdullah's grandchildren in Dujail?

Yes, I know that Saddam's thugs selected the relatives of his enemies and we merely kill anyone in the area of our enemies. And yes, I grant you the outcome is not the same. The Iraqi dictator was hanged in Baghdad in 2006, cursed by his hooded Shia "Al-Dawa" executioners as he stood on the scaffold. For us, there will be no hangings.

In this next article an American soldier describes how racist views were spread from the top down in the military especially after the 9/11 attacks and these racist attitudes became typical of American soldiers as they referred to Iraqis as Haji and used ( and still use ) other racist epithets about Iraqis . This attitude can also be applied to the American and NATO intervention in Afghanistan where all Afghani citizens are often seen as mere " savages " and so all are seen as the enemy.

"Then September 11 happened, and I began to hear new words like "towel-head," and "camel jockey," and the most disturbing, "sand nigger." These words did not initially come from my fellow lower-enlisted soldiers, but from my superiors: my platoon sergeant, my first sergeant, my battalion commander. All the way up the chain of command, these viciously racist terms were suddenly acceptable."

He then describes a mission in which he and other American soldiers were ordered to remove a number of families from their homes because the military wanted the buildings to set up a HQ. He also describes how he took part under orders in the interrogation of POWS by using "Torture Techniques " and if he refused he would have been courtmarshalled since an American soldier cannot use the Geneva Conventions or other international agreements to refer to protect himself from being charged under US Military Law- One must remember George Bush & Co. along with Tony Blair and Stephen Harper obey only what they believe to be God's Law and the the United Nations is just another organization attempting to curb their power

'We Were Told We Were Fighting Terrorists; the Real Terrorist Was Me'
By Aaron Glantz, Haymarket Books. Posted October 10, 2008.

A powerful excerpt from 'Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan' lays bare the racism at the core of the Iraq occupation.

We've heard a lot about raids and kicking down the doors of people's houses and ransacking their houses, but this was a different kind of raid.
We never got any explanation for our orders. We were only told that a group of five or six houses was now property of the U.S. military, and we had to go in and make those families leave their houses.

We went to these houses and informed the families that their homes were no longer theirs. We provided them no alternative, nowhere to go, no compensation. They were very confused and very scared. They did not know what to do and would not leave, so we had to remove them.

One family in particular, a woman with two small girls, a very elderly man, and two middle-aged men; we dragged them from their house and threw them onto the street. We arrested the men because they refused to leave, and we sent them off to prison.

In the article below of the mess created in Afghanistan by NATO forces as they accidentally kill large numbers of innocent civilians who's relatives then join the insurgency to seek revenge as fighters or suicide bombers while other Afghans who are near starvation join the Taliban because the Taliban pays each recruit $200 a month. Meanwhile the Afghan and NATO forces appear all too willing to imprison journalists for trying to do their job - Maybe Americans & Canadians just don't like journalist who might reveal the horrible truth about the situation in Afghanistan about which Canadians don't really want to hear about.

The article in question is from TomDispatch in which we get a catalogue of the horrors visited upon innocent civilian Iraqis who then often join the insurgeny or at least do little to help NATO or Canadian or American forces occupying their country:

The Surge That Failed Afghanistan Under the Bombs by Anand Gopal 09/10/08 "TomDispatch

Surging in Afghanistan

When, decades from now, historians compile the record of this Afghan war, they will date the Afghan version of the surge -- the now trendy injection of large numbers of troops to resuscitate a flagging war effort -- to sometime in early 2007. Then, a growing insurgency was causing visible problems for U.S. and NATO forces in certain pockets in the southern parts of the country, long a Taliban stronghold. In response, military planners dramatically beefed up the international presence, raising the number of troops over the following 18 months by 20,000, a 45% jump.
During this period, however, the violence also jumped -- by 50%. This shouldn't be surprising. More troops meant more targets for Taliban fighters and suicide bombers. In response, the international forces retaliated with massive aerial bombing campaigns and large-scale house raids. The number of civilians killed in the process skyrocketed. In the fifteen months of this surge, more civilians have been killed than in the previous four years combined.

During the same period, the country descended into a state of utter dereliction -- no jobs, very little reconstruction, and ever less security. In turn, the rising civilian death toll and the decaying economy proved a profitable recipe for the Taliban, who recruited significant numbers of new fighters. They also won the sympathy of Afghans who saw them as the lesser of two evils. Once confined to the deep Afghan south, today the insurgents operate openly right at the doorstep of Kabul, the capital.

This last surge, little noted by the media, failed miserably, but Washington is now planning another one, even as Afghanistan slips away. More boots on the ground, though, will do little to address the real causes of this country's unfolding tragedy.

Under the Bombs

In the muddied outskirts of Kabul, an impromptu neighborhood has been sprouting, full of civilians fleeing the regular Allied aerial bombardments in the Afghan countryside. Sherafadeen Sadozay, a poor farmer from the south, spoke for many there when he told me that he had once had no opinion of the United States. Then, one day, a payload from an American sortie split his house in two, eviscerating his wife and three children. Now, he says, he'd rather have the Taliban back in power than nervously eye the skies every day.

Even when the bombs don't fall, it's quite dangerous to be an Afghan. Journalist Jawed Ahmad was on assignment for Canadian Television in the southern city of Kandahar when American troops stopped him. In his possession, they found contact numbers to the cell phones of various Taliban fighters -- something every good journalist in the country has -- and threw him into prison, not to be heard from for almost a year. During interrogation, Ahmad says that American jailors kicked him, smashed his head into a table, and at one point prevented him from sleeping for nine days. They kept him standing on a snowy runway for six hours without shoes. Twice he fainted and twice the soldiers forced him to stand up again. After 11 months of detention, military authorities gave him a letter stating that he was not a threat to the U.S. and released him.

Starving in Kabul

If you're walking his street, there isn't a single day when you won't see Zayainullah. For as long as he can remember, the 11 year-old has perched on the sidewalk at one of Kabul's busiest intersections. Zayainullah has only one arm; the Taliban blew the other one away when he was a child. He uses this arm to beg for handouts, quietly in the mornings, more desperately as the day goes on. Both his parents are dead so he lives with his aunt, a widow. Given the mores of modern-day Afghanistan, she can't work because a woman needs a man's sanction to leave the house. So she puts young Zayainullah on the street as her sole breadwinner. If he comes home empty-handed she beats him, sometimes until he can no longer move.
He sits there, shirtless, with a heaving, rounded belly -- distended from severe malnutrition -- as scores of other beggars and pedestrians stream by him. No one really notices him though, because poverty has become endemic in this country.
Afghanistan is now one of the poorest countries on the planet. It takes its place among desperate, destitute nations like Burkina Faso and Somalia whenever any international organization bothers to measure. The official unemployment rate, last calculated in 2005, was 40% percent. According to recent estimates, it may today reach as high as 80% in some parts of the country.

Approximately 45% of the population is now unable to purchase enough food to guarantee bare minimum health levels, according to the Brookings Institution. This winter, Afghan officials claim that hunger may kill up to 80% of the population in some northern provinces caught in a vicious drought. Reports are emerging of parents selling their children simply to make ends meet. In one district of the southern province of Ghazni last spring things got so bad that villagers started eating grass. Locals say that after a harsh winter and almost no food, they had no choice.
Kabul itself lies in tatters. Roads have gone unpaved since 2001. Massive craters from decades of war blot the capital city. Poor Afghans live in crumbling warrens with no electricity and often without safe drinking water. Kabul, a city designed for about 800,000 people, now holds more than four million, mostly squeezed into informal settlements and squatters' shacks.

Washington spends about $100 million a day on this war -- close to $36 billion a year -- but only five cents of every dollar actually goes towards aid. From this paltry sum, the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief found that "a staggering 40 percent has returned to donor countries in corporate profits and salaries." The economy is so underdeveloped that opium production accounts for more than half of the country's gross domestic product.

What little money does go for reconstruction is handed over to U.S. multinationals who then subcontract out to Afghan partners and cut corners every step of the way. As a result, the U.N. ranks the country as the fifth least-developed in the world -- a one-position drop from 2004.

The government and coalition forces may not bring jobs to Afghanistan, but the Taliban does. The insurgents pay for fighters -- in some cases, up to $200 a month, a windfall in a country where 42% of the population earns less than $14 a month. When a textile factory in Kandahar laid off 2,000 workers in September, most of them joined the Taliban. And that district in Ghazni where locals were reduced to eating grass? It is now a Taliban stronghold.

...ordinary Afghans are usually not so lucky. Locals tend to fear the neighborhood police as much as the many criminals who prowl Kabul's streets. The notoriously corrupt police force is just one face of a government that much of the population has come to loathe.

Police are known to rob passengers at checkpoints. Many of the country's leading members of parliament and cabinet officials sport long, bloody records of human rights abuses. Rapists and serious criminals regularly bribe their way out of prison. Warlords and militia commanders run wild in the north, regularly raping young girls and snatching the land of villagers with impunity. Earlier this year newspapers revealed that President Hamid Karzai pardoned a pair of such militiamen accused of bayonet-raping a young woman.

What Karzai does hardly matters, though. After all, his government barely functions. Most of the country is carved up into fiefdoms run by small-time commanders. A U.S. intelligence report in the spring of 2008 estimated that the central government then controlled just 30% of the country, and many say even that is now an optimistic assessment.

Drive a few miles outside Kabul and the roads are controlled by bandits, off-duty cops, or anyone else with a gun and an eye for a quick buck. The Karzai government's popularity has plummeted to such levels that, believe it or not, many Afghans in Kabul wax nostalgic for the days of Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, the country's last Communist dictator. "That government was cruel and indifferent, but at least they gave us something," an Afghan friend typically told me. The Karzai government provides almost no social services, expending all its efforts just trying to keep itself together.

and he concludes the article thus:

Of course, the Taliban won't be capturing Kabul anytime soon; the international forces are much too powerful to topple militarily. But the Americans can't defeat the Taliban either; the guerrillas are too deeply rooted in a country scarred by no jobs, no security, and no hope. The result is a war of attrition, with the Americans planning to pour yet more fuel on the flames by throwing in more soldiers next year.

This is a war to be won by constructing roads, creating jobs, cleaning up the government, and giving Afghans something they've had preciously little of in the last 30 years: hope. However, hope is fading fast here, and that's a fact Washington can ill afford to ignore; for once the Afghans lose all hope, the Americans will have lost this war.

As for NATO's determination to win it is fading fast as the realist on the ground see the situation deteriorating day by day.

A strategy destined to fail?
A major new intelligence byMustafa Qadri, Thursday October 09 2008

It hasn't been the most positive week for the US-led International Security Force for Afghanistan (ISAF). Last week, a French newspaper leaked a secret cable in which Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Britain's ambassador to that country said the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse and its government is mired in corruption. According to the report, Cowper-Coles, a man who is no stranger to controversy, said only "an acceptable dictator" could guarantee stability in the country.

That was followed on Sunday by remarks from Mark Carleton-Smith, commander of British forces in the country, that a decisive victory against the Taliban is impossible. Carleton-Smith said the Afghan conflict can only be ended through a political solution that includes the Taliban. His comments were supported by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the chief of the French army.

Carleton-Smith was in part reacting to reports of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government mediated by Saudi King Abdullah in Mecca last month. Such initiatives "should not make people uncomfortable", said Britain's top military commander in Afghanistan, "[because] that's precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this".

Those words were echoed by the UN's top official in Afghanistan. "We all know that we cannot win it militarily," said UN special envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide. "It has to be won through political means. That means political engagement."

Whether or not Afghanistan is on the brink of collapse, the current mood reflects the growing realisation that military might alone cannot create stability. The Taliban may represent the most virulent strand of militant Islam, but it is also a major player in Afghanistan that has resisted successive attempts at its eradication. Britain and the UN's highest officials in Afghanistan have concluded that dialogue must replace open hostilities.

Afghanistan military situation will worsen next year, Mullen says By NANCY A. YOUSSEF McClatchy Newspapers,Thurs. 10,2008

WASHINGTON -- The highest-ranking U.S. military officer warned Thursday that the situation in Afghanistan will likely get worse next year and that it will take time to turn it around because it has been headed in "the wrong direction" for the past two years.

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the security situation in Afghanistan cannot improve until there is economic and political development in Afghanistan and the U.S. and its coalition partners have embraced a strategy that links Afghan and Pakistani issues.

"The trends across the board are not going in the right direction," Mullen said at a breakfast with reporters. "It will be tougher next year unless we get at all these challenges."

The chairman's comments reflects a growing worry among Pentagon officials that the U.S. military cannot sustain troop levels in Iraq and also address the worsening violence in Afghanistan. While violence has dropped significantly in Iraq this year, it has risen by roughly 30 percent in Afghanistan, and U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan now surpass the monthly toll in Iraq.

Last week, Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, also said the situation would likely worsen. McKiernan has asked for three more combat brigades.

Afghanistan has had a far lower priority in troops and funds than Iraq has, and it frequently has been referred to as an "economy of force" operation, one that requires a minimal number of troops.

But top Pentagon officials say it can't be run that way any longer, and the military has recently begun to re-examine its Afghan strategy.


France's military chief, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, has echoed suggestions by a senior British military officer that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won,By Henry Samuel in Paris 09 Oct 2008

Mr Georgelin said that he interpreted British Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith's comments over the weekend as "saying that one cannot win this war militarily, that there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis and I totally share this feeling".

"The strategy of Nato, as it has been redefined in Bucharest (at the start of April) does not say anything else," said Mr Georgelin in a French television interview.
His remarks follow those by Mr Carleton-Smith, Britain's top military officer in Afghanistan, who said that people should "lower their expectations" about how the conflict would end.

"We're not going to win this war. It's about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army," he said.

Mr Carleton-Smith said his forces had "taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008" but said it would be "unrealistic and probably incredible" to think that the multinational forces in Afghanistan could rid the country of armed bands.
"We may well leave with there still being a low but steady ebb of rural insurgency... I don't think we should expect that when we go there won't be roaming bands of armed men in this part of the world," he said.

Mr Georgelin said that all initiatives "aimed at encouraging reconciliation among Afghans are good and should be encouraged".

and the daily reports from Afghanistan are gruesome & bloody with no end in sight:

Afghanistan: 48 Killed in another brutal day of US occupation: :
A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan killed two Afghan officials and wounded three others, while 46 militants were killed in clashes with Afghan and foreign troops in the country's south, officials said Friday

Pentagon source: strike killed 30 Afghan civilians:
The probe found that the strikes against a "suspected Taliban compound" in the western province of Herat killed about 30 civilians - not the five to seven the U.S. originally acknowledged, according to a Pentagon official

and so it goes,

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