Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In the interests of balance…

…I'd like to present links to a few of the stories I've been reading on the international presence in Afghanistan in recent days that I've found enlightening, but that have also left me a little more concerned about the situation over there.

The First is from yesterday's Globe, and it's entitled "Afghan journalists living with fear" and perhaps is struck a little closer to home with me as I am a journalists, although I don't generally fear Oracle or Microsoft all that much.

The piece though paints a disturbing picture of the threats Afghan journalists face in doing their job from members of the government itself. A free press is essential to any democracy, and hearing of behaviour like this by the Afghan government makes me question what we're doing over there supporting them.

The Second was published in Salon today, entitled "All unquiet on the eastern front" and it's a broader piece that paints a disturbing picture of a growing insurgency, growing displeasure with the international coalition forces by the populace, and a country teetering closer to descending into chaos. It certainly doesn't speak well of the government of President Hamid Karzai.

It seems to me the situation is disintegrating. The international community hasn't been able to deliver on its commitments on the nation building front and different elements in the country, some of which have made that job more difficult with their attacks, are further taking advantage of the frustration of normal Afghans by fueling even more unrest for their own ends. Further, Karzai doesn't seem to be doing himself any favours.

The more I read on the situation on Afghanistan the more questions I seem to have and the more unclear I am. Do we pull out and let things fall where they may, or do we re-evaluate our strategy, learn from our mistakes and try to get it right?

I still think a continued international presence is the only answer, for the alternative is far more unpalatable. We need to make some changes though, because the road we seem to be heading down isn't a good one.

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