Further proof that the Manley Panel report is a load of political hogwash came today in the release of several reports showing that we're not winning in Afghanistan but the Taliban is.
The Atlantic Council of the United States, in a report prepared by former Afghanistan NATO commander, retured US general James L. Jones, warns that NATO is, at best, in a "stategic stalemate" as the Taliban expands its influence in the countryside and the Karzai government fails to carry out vital reforms and reconstruction. From the Washington Post:
"Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan," said the report by the Atlantic Council of the United States. "Afghanistan remains a failing state. It could become a failed state," warned the report, which called for "urgent action" to overhaul NATO strategy in coming weeks before an anticipated new offensive by Taliban insurgents in the spring.
A second report, by the Afghan Study Group, co-chaired by General Jones and US diplomat Thomas R. Pickering stressed the urgent need for the appointment of a UN High Commissioner to coordinate the international effort, a move that Karzai sabotaged last weekend.
Progress in Afghanistan "is under serious threat from resurgent violence, weakening international resolve, mounting regional challenges and a growing lack of confidence on the part of the Afghan people about the future direction of their country," said the report by the Afghanistan Study Group.
Wow, we're not winning? The Taliban's winning? Odd that our military wunderkind, Rick Hillier, hasn't been sounding the alarm here at home, isn't it?
Of course we're not winning, something the Karzai government all but guarantees. Lest everybody realize how useless he is, Karzai blocks the appointment of Paddy Ashdown as UN super envoy, torpedoing it at the very last moment and setting the whole effort right back on its heels. You'll know Karzai is serious about salvaging Afghanistan the day he arrests his first drug lord. That's right, he hasn't arrested one of them in the past six years and it's so easy. All he would have to do is start with his own brother Ahmed who's reported to be in thick with the opium trade.
If there's to be any hope of saving Afghanistan we have to get rid of Karzai and the warlords and drug lords and common criminals who have insinuated themselves into positions of power in his government. We have to stop pretending that this guy is our guy. He's not.
Forget the helicopters, forget the extra troops, forget Manley and Harper. That's all meaningless nonsense until we can establish some sort of decent, functioning governance for Afghanistan. Maybe this is one of those Diem moments. Then again, how well did that turn out?