Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Surging" Troops to Afghanistan, Too?

I first read about it in the Houston, Texas Chron, and now in the Washington Post. “Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday he would consider more troops for Afghanistan…”.The numbers he is considering are reported to be around two thousand. The Afghanistan government is requesting 2300. That is, two thousand troops in addition to the 20,000 plus troops being “surged” to Iraq.

So now, not only is the War in Iraq being escalated, the War On Terror in Afghanistan is, as well. Actually, no. The War On Terror in Afghanistan is being put on hold while we fight the War On The Taliban. Put on hold because we can’t find any Al-Qaeda terrorists to kill.

The Taliban, it will be recalled, were not Al-Qaeda, just the Islamic Fundamentalist government in Afghanistan that took power when the Russians were booted out. Their association with Al-Qaeda was to the extent that they gave them safe haven within their borders, and allowed them to train there. It was an alliance of convenience. Made inconvenient to them when their guests decided to kill on a mass scale. Al-Qaeda - Taliban: all painted together with broad brush strokes.

I recall another Taliban alliance of convenience that came home to roost in Sugar Land, Texas. You remember the alliance that was forged in the late 1990’s between Unocal, an oil company with offices in Sugar Land (and recently swallowed up by ChevronTexaco), and the Taliban? Oh, but that's not fair - that's when the Taliban only did stuff like destroy 2000 year old Buddhist shrines with cannon fire.

I’m not rambling, I'm just trying to understand things here. Who we are actually fighting, and why.

But my main concern in all of this is why we are escalating the war in Afghanistan when we are not involving the real culprit in all of this, our friend and ally, Pakistan.

According to all intelligence on this, the Taliban are not established in Afghanistan. Their organized elements are encamped across the border, in Pakistan. They cross the border to engage our troops in Afghanistan, and then break off and return to Pakistan where US troops cannot go, because Pakistan is our ally.

So by not engaging their military in uprooting these elements within their own borders, like a true ally would, is Pakistan then harboring them in a safe haven, allowing them to engage our troops at will? Are they not doing for the Taliban what the Taliban were themselves doing for Al-Qaeda?

And why do we continue to fight these fights alone?

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