While NATO forces are swatting at the Taliban for Hamid Karzai some of his country's other dark forces are looming.
The way this miserable war has been pitched to us here, we have the Taliban on one side and we're with the good guys on the other side. Black and white, white and black. Easy as pie. Sure.
As Rosie Dimanno writes in today's Toronto Star, Afghanistan's other murderous loonies now seem on the verge of making their own power grabs:
The most ravaged district of Kabul is a ghostly testament to the folly of war, waged without pity.
There is nothing left intact, just the detritus of siege: Jagged bits of masonry, husks of buildings, crumbling walls pockmarked with artillery fire.
The Soviets didn't do this. The Taliban didn't do this.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar did this.
Hekmatyar has more blood on his hands, arguably, than even the Taliban, with which he has variously fought against and yoked himself to, depending on strategic ambitions. And he's always been a most ambitious man.
...this is the man – an unyielding terrorist by any definition of the word, the embodiment of treachery – that Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he would welcome in peace talks. Hekmatyar says sure, let's parley – once foreign troops are removed and the new Afghan constitution is dissolved.
Nuts to that, Karzai counters, knowing full well that Hekmatyar covets the presidency and an ultrafundamentalist Afghanistan no different than what the ousted Taliban had imposed. Leery of what comes after NATO forces depart, however, Karzai is welcoming all fugitives into the negotiating tent as pre-emptive gambit.
A worst-case scenario: Rumours that Hekmatyar might join forces with another unhappy warlord, Rashid Dostum. The ethnic Uzbek thug is a founding member of the United National Front, an anti-government alliance established this year that has pulled together senior veterans from the fight against the Soviets.
Though detesting each other, they've been fleeting allies before, Hekmatyar and Dostum, during the change-lobsters-and-dance chaos of the civil war era.
Last year, coalition forces found a cache of arms belonging to Dostum's forces. There is an escalating worry that Dostum, perhaps in co-ordination with Hekmatyar, would unleash heavy artillery on ill-prepared NATO troops in the northern part of Afghanistan, soldier contributions from countries that have kept them out of combat zones.
All these factional groups just won't let Afghanistan be, the fanatically anti-West Hekmatyar most especially. Yet there are elements within NATO, even in the U.S. State Department, urging accommodation with Hekmatyar, such is the yearning for a political resolution to end the insurgency.
In Afghanistan, though, internecine politics always devolves to war. And if new Afghanistan is destined to become once more old Afghanistan, Canadian troops have been wasting their time, their sweat, their blood.
Just what did we expect to come out of this idiotic notion that we could establish orderly, Western secular democracy in this nest of vipers?