I might have mentioned this book before, but CommonDreams has an excerpt from it that lays bare the political incompetence that led to the failure in Afghanistan:
Now, I read this fully cognizant that this is just one voice out of thousands on the Afghanistan debacle. But it has the ring of truth about it. The sense of plausibility.How do you fight a war without an adversary? Enter Gul Agha Sherzai -- and men like him around the country. Eager to survive and prosper, he and his commanders followed the logic of the American presence to its obvious conclusion. They would create enemies where there were none, exploiting the perverse incentive mechanism that the Americans -- without even realizing it -- had put in place.
Sherzai’s enemies became America’s enemies, his battles its battles. His personal feuds and jealousies were repackaged as “counterterrorism,” his business interests as Washington’s. And where rivalries did not do the trick, the prospect of further profits did. (One American leaflet dropped by plane in the area read: “Get Wealth and Power Beyond Your Dreams. Help Anti-Taliban Forces Rid Afghanistan of Murderers and Terrorists.”)
If true, it certainly puts the sputtering arrogance of people like Terry Glavin into perspective. And I mention Glavin again, not due to some sadistic cruelty, but because he is one of the most dangerous bangers of the GBWT war-drums Canada has. Given the fact that Glavin's entire world-view on the GBWT has so many logical gaps in it, so much willful blindness of obvious facts, I'm more prepared to entertain Anand Gopal's thesis over his.
It certainly makes the occasional NATO aim to reach out to "moderate Taliban" more understandable. The Taliban was a political movement created out of young men and boys raised in refugee camps in Pakistan. They were trained by men espousing a crude, simplistic theology. They were a disciplined, austere group who brought order to a territory ravaged by rampaging warlords. Their attempts to impose their authority upon people of different ethnicities and beliefs is what produced continued warfare in Afghanistan. Their own people tired of them and the warfare produced by their sectarianism, and when the Americans arrived, the Taliban's allies and supporters were quick to renounce them and flock to the stronger side. But American incompetence, brutality and the corruption of their puppet government produced anger in the countryside and the Taliban organized the insurgency against it. But the people of Afghanistan, including the Pashtun people who form the base of the Taliban, are not fighting for the reimposition of the Taliban.