It is quite obvious from yesterday's incidents that the huge US-led internal security force of over 100,000, has failed even to secure the Afghan capital Kabul against attacks from the Taliban. All they have done during the past eight years or so in the country is to cause widespread havoc, kill people by the tens of thousands, lay waste vast tracts of land and pulverise mountains.
Characteristic of guerrilla tactics, the fighters suddenly emerged from nowhere to strike at principal official buildings in Kabul on Monday (January 18), after they had reportedly quietly slipped into the capital. There were explosions near the southern gate of the Presidency and a huge pall of smoke circled overhead.
Smoke was also seen near the Central Bank and the justice and finance ministries, and Kabul's only four-star hotel Serena and two shopping centres were on fire. There were chaotic scenes, as the people ran away from the directions from where the noises of exploding rockets and grenades and gunshots were being heard.
NATO and international forces, working with the Afghan security, were busy trying to secure the area, as the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid warned that as many as 20 of his men were engaged in the fighting that, latest reports suggest, has left 10 dead and many more injured. Officials maintain that among the dead are four suicide bombers.
To be exact, insurgents did not have to come from anywhere. To cloud this reality, however, they are called Taliban - terrorists in the US and allies' terminology. And if the world had thought that the freezing winter of the country would dampen their fighting spirit, it was badly mistaken. In fact, by the time summer sets in, the 37,000-odd US and NATO surge that would most probably be in place by then to augment the strength, would find a revitalised resistance ready to face the new challenge.
The solution clearly is not the surge but withdrawal without further delay. The resentment caused by the presence of foreign forces in the country has been swelling the ranks of the insurgents. One hopes that the Americans intend living up to their declarations, as repeated by special envoy Richard Holbrooke, that negotiations should be held with the Taliban. The only right course for them is to let the people work out a system of governance that reflects the country's ethnic mix and suits them best, and for Pakistan to stop fighting its own people and settle differences through negotiations.
The Nation, Pakistan.
Reprinted with permission
(R) thedailystar.net 2009