An amazing story in the New York Times a couple of days ago revealed that Iran has totally infiltrated the Afghan leadership, giving Karzai’s chief of staff BULGING sacks of money.
Karzai’s completely defiant reaction to the piece – admitting his misbehavior and asking, “So what?” – indicates things ain’t likely to change.
And for good reason: Pakistan – which continues to support the Taliban – and Afghanistan are hedging their bets, well aware that the American penchant for crapping on a country and then wandering off is doubly likely in this case, because President Obama HAS SAID THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE’RE DOING.
The president’s December 2009 announcement that we will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in what is now about nine months – July 2011 – has made a clear difference in bolstering Taliban morale and it’s determination to wait out the United States, allowing it to withstand Obama’s surge, as a Washington Post article today makes clear.
Here are a couple of quotes from the piece, titled Taliban Unscathed by Military Campaign.
Escalated airstrikes and special operations raids have disrupted Taliban movements and damaged local cells. But officials said that insurgents have been adept at absorbing the blows and that they appear confident that they can outlast an American troop buildup set to subside beginning next July.
U.S. officials said Taliban operatives have adopted a refrain that reflects their focus on President Obama’s intent to start withdrawing troops in the middle of next year. Attributing the words to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, officials said, operatives tell one another, “The end is near.”
Setting a deadline, by the way, is exactly what Bush avoided in Iraq, where a similar surge rescued a situation that seemed beyond repair.
Obama has justified the withdrawal date by saying it was meant to put pressure on Karzai to shape up. But he must have known last December that Karzai was in bed with Iran. The “deadline” will only move him closer to Iran and the Taliban in a desperate bid to save himself.
What the deadline is really all about, as the Taliban knows, is a president with little stomach for this fight, who WANTS OUT of Afghanistan.
Obama’s outreach to Iran was further evidence to Karzai of the weakness of his new American ally, writes Faoud Ajami in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Karzai didn’t need to be a grand strategist. He had, as is necessary in his world of treachery and betrayal, his ear to the ground, his scent for the irresolution of the Obama administration. He saw the scorn of Iran’s cruel leaders for America’s diplomatic approaches. He could see Iranian power extend all the way to the Mediterranean, right up to Israel’s borders with Lebanon and to Gaza. The Iranians were next door and the Americans were giving away their fatigue. Why not accept the entreaties from Tehran?
I always thought that after Vietnam we were only supposed to fight wars if we intended to win them. And, you know, after Hitler, we’d treat really bad guys like the villains they are, and assume they just use outreach to further their evil ends.