December 19, 2007:
The U.S. is upset that
NATO countries have failed to deliver three infantry battalions, 3,000 trainers
and 20 transport and attack helicopters they promised to send. The reasons are part political (the Afghan
operations are unpopular in Europe) and partly practical (the Cold War era
forces most NATO nations have are not organized or equipped situations like
Afghanistan. NATO nations are inclined to follow a five year plan to deal with
the Taliban. The pro-Taliban tribes are willing to keep it up for decades, and
with the help of drug gangs, they can afford to do that. To further complicate
matters, Holland announced that they were withdrawing their troops from
Afghanistan in 2010, no matter what. Many Europeans believe that if they just
ignore Afghanistan, there will be no problem. Americans are more inclined to
see the country becoming another base for international terrorism if the
Islamic radicals are not neutralized (one way or another.)
A major factor in the Taliban violence is support
from pro-Taliban tribes across the border in Pakistan. In some cases, it's the
same tribe, with clans on both sides of the border. Since the Summer, Taliban
attacks from Pakistan have fallen 40 percent. This is largely due to offensive
operations by the Pakistan army, and increased activity by the Afghan army
along the border.
For the government, the main problem is economic.
In a poor country (the poorest on the planet outside of Africa), whoever can
provide jobs will win the loyalty of the population. The growing wealth of the
drug gangs makes these criminals a major economic, and political, factor. The
drug gangs are allied with the Taliban, because both groups are fighting the government. The drug gangs
stay out of the way of foreign and Afghan troops, it's the Taliban who are
running around terrorizing people. For that, the Taliban are taking the most
casualties. But as long as there is money to pay the Taliban gunmen (a minority
volunteer for free), the violence will continue. The government is unsure how
to proceed against the drug gangs, what with the growing number of government
officials being bribed by the gangs.
December 15, 2007: Two more terrorist bombs
went off in the capital, killing civilians and not doing much damage.
December 14, 2007: Mullah Sangeen, one of the
major Taliban field commanders, was killed in the south.