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Monday, December 15, 2008

With the Taliban advancing, can the war in Afghanistan still be won by 2011?

What should be done about illegal poppy production in Afghanistan?

In a Western Standard column, "The problem with poppies,” Colby Cosh reports on an answer offered by the Senlis Council to this question :

The Senlis Council, a Canadian-led economic think tank with an office in Kabul, has recently offered a tempting way of solving the dilemma: if we're going to devote Afghan and NATO army resources to annihilating a cash crop, why not try policing it instead and allow legitimate international drug manufacturers to pay competitive prices for the poppies? The logistical difficulties are enormous, but years of U.S. "eradication" in Colombia has hardly taken cocaine out of the industrialized world's nightclub bathrooms.

The Senlis Council is now called the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), and the organization is making news again with its new report on the “Struggle for Kabul: The Taliban Advance.”

According to the report, the war in Afghanistan is being lost:

The Taliban now holds a permanent presence in 72% of Afghanistan, up from 54% a year ago. Taliban forces have advanced from their southern heartlands, where they are now the de facto governing power in a number of towns and villages, to Afghanistan’s western and north-western provinces, as well as provinces north of Kabul. Within a year, the Taliban's permanent presence in the country has increased by a startling 18%.

Three out of the four main highways into Kabul are now compromised by Taliban activity. The capital city has plummeted to minimum levels of control, with the Taliban and other criminal elements infiltrating the city at will.

Through its research platform in Afghanistan, ICOS determined the Taliban’s presence across the country using a combination of publicly recorded attacks and local perceptions of Taliban presence. One or more insurgent attacks per week in a province constitutes a “permanent Taliban presence” according to ICOS.

You can get the full report here.

Canada’s combat role in Afghanistan is scheduled to come to an end in 2011. Should Canadian troops stay longer with the Taliban advancing? Or should we heed the advice of those who say we should never have gotten involved in the first place?

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 15, 2008 in Military | Permalink


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I had on impromptu chat with a soldier on leave from the Afghan theater this weekend. He was working a part time job and on his way back there
He mentioned that he was returning soon to his "real" job while I was buying something from him.
I said, Well God bless and keep you, but you might not like my opinion of that war"
He asked what I thought. So I told him, "No way in hell we should be there, it can't be won."

He agreed. His comment was, "We're there to carry the Americans baggage and if the Russians couldn't do it in 12 years, it can't be done."

Support the troops, not the war.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-15 7:13:48 AM

There is no possible way we can 'win" in Afghanistan. Canada will be lucky to escape in 2011 with less than 150 dead, on the hook for $30 billion and with a security situation in Afghanistan that is only slightly worse than today. Any hope of changing Afghan culture to reflect our wishes is delusional. Plans to build the Afghan security forces have been so bungled that they may be doing more harm than good. The Afghan government is getting worse not better. This is all before we discuss Pakistan. It's time to leave. After the new US brigades arrive the Americans won't even notice as we exit stage left.

Posted by: F.T. Ward | 2008-12-15 7:49:12 AM

We sent a message. It had to be done.

Posted by: dp | 2008-12-15 8:05:36 AM

The way things are turning out, the primates who inhabit that cesspool of crime and horror are not about to evolve any time soon.

We need to get the f**k out of there and perhaps just carpet bomb the place every September 11th just to let them know that we are still pissed and they had better not every try a twin tower event again.

Posted by: John V | 2008-12-15 2:06:54 PM

Time to Leave - actually time to remember we should not have gone there in the first place - even if it was for noble reasons.

God Bless our Troops - those that died and those that remain until we bring them home.

AS JC reported "He agreed. His comment was, "We're there to carry the Americans baggage and if the Russians couldn't do it in 12 years, it can't be done."

Don't forget the Brits also failed!

Support the troops, not the war."

It was lost before it even started with the UN (UNDCP)offering Cash for poppy concessions. The cash went into more weapons for the Taliban and the drugs kept on coming. Even blowing up the Budda made no effect on UN Diplomats who felt then as today - this monster can be placated under...?

Posted by: the LS from SK | 2008-12-15 3:25:33 PM

JC: You're a solid guy with great opinions, but supporting the troops and not the war is like saying "support the rapist but not the rape."

Invaders should lose!!

dp: It didn't have to be done. We've lost over 100 good young men (and a woman) for nothing. FUCKING NOTHING!!!

My only hope is that we learn that our fight for freedom should begin and end at home.

Posted by: Duder | 2008-12-15 4:00:14 PM

If you think the Afghanistan adventure was a futile, death-dealing, money sucking sinkhole to keep the political-military industrial matrix humming with your tax money, read this;

The Conservative Party plan for spending $490 billion over 20 years on Canada's military. Thats $18,000 per Canadian. For what? Who we going to fight? China's military? The United States? Or more foreign interventions? Harper's final act of Bush love is to set up a military on steroids to bail out the crumbling US military machine.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-12-15 7:46:57 PM

True enough Marc. I shouldn't have said "nothing," I should've said "Nothing good or decent."

Posted by: Duder | 2008-12-15 7:54:30 PM

Emery, you're good proof of what drugs do to people. Get your "facts" straight. But the Liebral Party started the involvement. So cease the Bush bashing. Blame the corporations of Toronto who sell arms to the US for their wars, not Mr. Harper.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-15 8:28:10 PM

Canada should leave Afghan asap. It has shown it cannot win this war, or any war fighting the way it's fighting there. If the war is to be won, assuming any war is actually winnable, Canada's allies must share the burden. To date few of Canada's allies want to share the real cost of winning. Like Canada, many of her allies may be too soft, confused and ignorant to do real battle in these modern times.

Posted by: dewp | 2008-12-15 10:49:33 PM

JC: You're a solid guy with great opinions, but supporting the troops and not the war is like saying "support the rapist but not the rape."

Thanks for the kudos, I do my best to participate and I try very hard to be respectful of other's opinions. But to say support the rapist but not the rape is a little over the top. (I'd cheerfully beat a rapist with a bat) Likening what the Soldiers are doing to that sort of criminal is not a fair comparison. The rapist is an individual criminal. The soldier is not. While we might take the view that our involvement in Afghanistan is criminal in nature (Stress "might") the soldiers there are noble and doing what they have been ordered and taken an oath to do. They might themselves not like it, but they are loyal. I have to respect that and so should you. I would like to see them home soon.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-16 7:11:05 AM

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