Afghanistan Imperiled: Extremist Forces Are Making a Comeback as American Attention Turns to Iraq

By Rashid, Ahmed | The Nation, October 14, 2002 | Go to article overview

Afghanistan Imperiled: Extremist Forces Are Making a Comeback as American Attention Turns to Iraq


Rashid, Ahmed, The Nation


Lahore

There are mounting fears in Afghanistan that President George W. Bush's war against Iraq will seriously compromise further attempts by the US-led Western alliance to stabilize Afghanistan--even as the US Defense Department appears to be finally acknowledging its failures in helping to rebuild the country.

Almost a year after the defeat of the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai's government is weaker than it was a few months ago, ethnic and political rivalries plague the country, the military power of the warlords has increased and there is a new wave of anti-Americanism from the Pashtun tribes in the east and south, who feel alienated and victimized both by the Kabul government and US forces.

The fragile security situation was highlighted by the September 5 assassination attempt against Karzai in Kandahar, a car bomb in Kabul that killed twenty-six people and stepped-up rocket attacks against US forces. On September 14 Afghan police intercepted an explosives-laden tanker truck headed for the US air base outside Kabul, and two days later rockets were fired at a US garrison at Khost, in the largest artillery barrage by Al Qaeda forces since their defeat last November.

The success of the US-led Afghan war depends less on catching the remnants of Al Qaeda than on insuring that the escalating political crisis does not cause the demise of the Karzai government. Since last December the Bush Administration has primarily focused on its military and intelligence war against Al Qaeda rather than on a political and economic strategy, which would help stabilize the fragile government and kick-start reconstruction.

Karzai has been unable to extend the writ of Kabul's authority across the country or find a political formula to rein in the warlords. He has been stymied not just because of continuing ethnic and tribal tensions but by the stark failure of the international community to deliver on two key pledges made last December. The first was to mobilize an International Security Assistance Force to stabilize Kabul and five other cities. The ISAF still has only 5,000 troops, and only in the capital. Even more dangerous has been the world's failure to deliver on reconstruction funds.

Essentially, Washington has frozen the status quo following the December Bonn conference, which nominated the Karzai-led interim government. And even though Karzai was elected to a two-year term in June at the Loya Jirga, or grand tribal council, the United States has done little to strengthen the central government.

Washington has begun to help build a new national army, but this will take years to achieve. And this policy is directly undermined by continued US funding of the warlords. Even though the majority of the 1,500 delegates to the Loya Jirga harshly criticized the warlords, the Pentagon has renamed them "regional leaders," giving them a legitimacy that Afghans themselves are unwilling to bestow.

At the end of August the Pentagon finally appeared to be getting the message. "I do think increasingly our focus is shifting to training the Afghan national army, supporting ISAF, supporting reconstruction efforts--those kinds of things that contribute to long-term stability," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told me in an interview at the Pentagon.

Also, for the first time US officials appeared to be seriously concerned about lack of funds. "My single biggest concern is that the economic aid that was promised at the Tokyo conference, which I think is crucial not just for economic purposes but for political and security purposes, is just not coming through at the levels that were pledged," Wolfowitz said. The January Tokyo conference pledged $4.5 billion for reconstruction, of which donor nations promised to give $1.8 billion this year. "Barely 30 percent of what was promised for this year has been delivered," Wolfowitz added. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afghanistan Imperiled: Extremist Forces Are Making a Comeback as American Attention Turns to Iraq
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.