Five Years after West Declared Victory, Violence, Corruption and Squalor Dog a Proud Nation. by Kim Sengupta in Kabul ; Blair Scales Back Aims in Afghanistan as War Takes Toll on Shattered People
Sengupta, Kim, The Independent (London, England)
The paraphernalia of death were laid out on the table - shrapnel, detonators, bombers' manual, false identification cards. "Enough for four, five suicide attacks" said General Ali Shah Paktiawal of the Afghan police.
"We are not allowed to blame Pakistan directly of course. But the men we caught were from Pakistan, these things were bought there. Look, they have even kept receipts."
This was Kabul yesterday, the capital of a country from which Tony Blair famously promised "this time we will not walk away", a land now torn by violence and wide-scale corruption, the heroin supplier to the world despite millions of dollars spent on eradication.
Five years after the American-led invasion, the infrastructure still lies shattered, with accusations of international aid being squandered. Meanwhile, the rights of half the population, women, are being steadily clawed back under the burqa.
Afghanistan is also where Western forces, in large numbers, are fighting a war which George Bush and Mr Blair had declared won with the fall of the Taliban regime as they moved the "war on terror" to Iraq.
The Taliban are back with a vengeance now and there is little talk of victory. Nato troops have inflicted heavy casualties on the insurgents, but military commanders talk of reinforcements coming from across the Pakistani border. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has accused Pakistan of sheltering the bombers and its intelligence service, the ISI, of arming and training them. Mr Bush and Mr Blair have raised the claims with Pakistan's leader, General Pervez Musharraf, who vehemently denies them.
General Paktiawal was poisoned while in a government ministry four months ago, an example of the long reach of a ruthless enemy. He received emergency treatment abroad and is still on medication. He said: "Who did it, the Taliban, al-Qa'ida, the ISI, working together?
I do not want to say. What I do know is that I will be surprised if they do not try to kill me again. "You cannot end terrorism quickly, especially when there are outside forces involved," he added. "I accept we have big problems."
Syed Mahmood Gailani, a member of parliament from Ghazni, is grappling with some of these problems. He and fellow MPs have been asked to look into the construction of a failed dam and find out who was responsible.
Mr Gailani, 28, polled the third largest number of votes in the country as an …
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Publication information: Article title: Five Years after West Declared Victory, Violence, Corruption and Squalor Dog a Proud Nation. by Kim Sengupta in Kabul ; Blair Scales Back Aims in Afghanistan as War Takes Toll on Shattered People. Contributors: Sengupta, Kim - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 2, 2006. Page number: 14. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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