Afghan insurgency given new life by their enemies

Paul McGeough. The Age, 24 October 2009. from an address at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra.


Afghans do want governance – they want good governance. But they have been ripped off every time it’s been within their grasp. And the worst rip-off has been in the last eight years, because democracy and good governance were the gifts offered by the West – by governments that supposedly knew about these things.

In their refusal to back Kabul or the Coalition, Afghans are not saying yea or neigh on the Taliban in isolation – the call they make as they try to go about their daily existence, is on the credibility of the Taliban as compared with that of the Karzai government and the Coalition.

It’s too late for McChrystal to make protecting the most-threatened sections of the Afghan population the key objective, because both the Kabul Government and the coalition lack credibility in the eyes of the people. In the absence of any significant Afghan government presence, much beyond Kabul, it is American military and aid workers – and those from several other coalition countries – that are seen as the face of government and as keepers of the cash, of which there is not enough and which takes forever to translate into meaningful development.

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