Meanwhile in Afghanistan

A DAY after celebrations in Afghanistan over the exit of Pakistan's Musharraf, the country has been hit by a wave of insurgency attacks. The Taleban have run over the Camp Salemo, the largest US army base in eastern Afghanistan that is located only 19 miles from the Afghan-Pak border. The Americans claim to have repelled the attack in which 13 insurgents are reported to have been killed.

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Published: Wed 20 Aug 2008, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

But the heaviest loss for the Nato alliance since the Invasion in 2001 no doubt is the other attack that killed 10 French soldiers yesterday, very close to capital Kabul.

What is going on in Afghanistan? The war that the US launched in response to the September 11 attacks has never been more directionless and disastrous. While the Bush administration is increasingly preoccupied with Iraq and the military top brass in increasingly looking at possible post-Bush scenarios, Afghanistan is bleeding to death.

And America's Nato-EU allies are increasingly frustrated with Washington's growing disinterest, nay indifference, on the question of Afghanistan. As a result, the Nato allies and the ill-equipped and demoralised Afghan forces are often left to fend for themselves. This administration has clearly lost interest in the war that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama insists is the "Good War" and the 'real' front of America's war on terror.

You need not necessarily agree with Obama's views on Afghanistan. Because this conflict has proved to be as unnecessary and disastrous as the war in Iraq is. But even if the US Invasion of Afghanistan had been justified from Washington's viewpoint what with the country being linked to the 9/11 attacks, it is clear that the Coalition of the Willing cannot win this war without winning the trust and confidence of Afghan people.

For all their extremist ways, unreasonable behaviour and violence, the Taleban continue to command huge following among the people, especially the Pashtun tribes that constitute the country's majority. Which is why the more the Taleban fighters are repelled, the more they seem to grow in strength. They've already taken practical control of several major cities and towns and are said to be determinedly advancing towards Kabul. Under the circumstances, shouldn't the coalition engage the Taleban leadership for some sort of working peace? The alternate scenario is more bloodshed on either side and more casualties involving innocents.

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