Monday, September 04, 2006

Stuck in the quicksand

"What, if it met in frank secrecy, would any sentient Nato conclave conclude about this mission improbable? That Afghanistan, over centuries, has been the graveyard of occupying forces, however benevolent their intention: a great-game venue for losers only. That the aid poured in thus far, with blithe promises attached, has been far too puny to make a difference (and far too channelled through America's favourite American contractors). That people who hoped for something better have slowly lost heart and belief. That Karzai's Kabul regime is mired in cynicism and stuck with a writ that doesn't run much beyond the city's boundaries. That, in bitter sum, there are no firm foundations here to build on." —Peter Preston

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