Monday, September 11, 2006

The Taliban will be back in power if the west doesn't narrow its ambitions

NATO"It is widely said that the Afghan deployment is a key test of whether Nato can remain a serious organisation. The omens are not auspicious. Almost five years after invading Afghanistan, the west knows pitifully little about the place. Hardly any Nato soldiers, diplomats or intelligence officers speak its language. Electronic surveillance helicopters hover over the battlefields overloaded with interpreters. An American officer observes that the tribal structure down around the Pakistan border is extraordinarily complex, "and we don't really understand it at all". Nato guesses that there are 6,000-8,000 Taliban operating inside Afghanistan, but nobody knows how many more are in waiting." —Max Hastings

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