And Afghanistan slips away too
They were in such a hurry to march into Iraq. No time to spare — no time even to finish the job in Afghanistan.
(New York Times) Taliban Surges as U.S. Shifts Some Tasks to NATO
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 10 — A large springtime offensive by Taliban fighters has turned into the strongest show of force by the insurgents since American forces chased the Taliban from power in late 2001, and Afghan and foreign officials and local villagers blame a lack of United States-led coalition forces on the ground for the resurgence.
American forces are handing over operations in southern Afghanistan to a NATO force of mainly Canadian, British and Dutch troops, and militants have taken advantage of the transition to swarm into rural areas.
Coalition and Afghan forces now clash daily with large groups of Taliban fighters across five provinces of southern Afghanistan. In their boldest push, the Taliban fought battles in a district just less than 20 miles outside the southern city of Kandahar in late May, forcing hundreds of people to abandon their villages for refuge in the city and in other towns as coalition forces resorted to aerial bombardment.
The Taliban are running checkpoints on secondary roads and seizing control of remote district centers for a night or two before melting away again. In the most blatant symbol of their dominance of rural areas, the Taliban have even conducted trials under Islamic law, or Shariah, outside official Afghan courts, and recently carried out at least one public execution.
“The situation is really, in the last four years, the most unstable and insecure I have seen,” said Talatbek Masadykov, who is in charge of the United Nations assistance mission in Kandahar.
We are so screwed.