Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Are there enough targets in Afghanistan now?

Remember 2001? A rough year on New York to be sure. A rough year on the country, and on the decisionmakers, like the ones who wanted to link September to Saddam, the ones who told us there were no good targets in Afghanistan, the ones who gave the people we were chasing more than a month head start and sent one tenth the number of troops we sent to Iraq to Afghanistan (a country 200,000 square km more than Iraq).

Remember Afghanistan?

Now, in a story I heard a snippet of on the radio and could only find buried on the second or third page of the Washington Post online, Lieutenant General Michael D. Maples tells the Senate Arms Services Committee that the insurgency in Afghanistan posed as big threat. How big, Walter Pincus of WP?:

"The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress yesterday that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and will increase this spring, presenting a greater threat to the central government's expansion of authority "than at any point since late 2001."

"Despite significant progress on the political front, the Taliban-dominated insurgency remains a capable and resilient threat," Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples said in a statement presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee at its annual hearing on national security threats.

Appearing with Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, Maples said attacks within Afghanistan were up 20 percent between 2004 and 2005, suicide bombings increased "almost fourfold" and use of makeshift bombs, similar to those used in Iraq, had "more than doubled."
Negroponte, in his prepared remarks, acknowledged that "the volume and geographic scope of attacks increased last year," but he added, "the Taliban and other militants have not been able to stop the democratic process" being undertaken by the central government of President Hamid Karzai."

The full story here. Wow.


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