Friday, June 20, 2008

Afghanistan's Arghandab District and the Taliban: It Must Have Been a Plot!

Afghan and NATO forces, responding to a report of hundreds of Taliban fighters invading the Arghandab area, driving the Taliban out and securing the strategically important area near Kandahar.

NATO is saying that there weren't nearly as many Taliban fighters in the area as the Afghans said (and say) there were.

I see at least two ways of approaching this:
  1. Accept the possibility that Afghan officials over-estimated the strength of Taliban forces in Arghandab, and be happy that a major Afghani city isn't likely to fall into Taliban hands.
  2. Raise a hue and cry about how Afghan officials duped NATO into attacking Arghandab, claiming that Big Grape wanted the pomegranates, almonds, apricots, figs, and melons that grow there. And, of course, the Ayta grapes.
If #2 sounds silly, you haven't been keeping up with American politics. The idea that They plotted to sell the invasion of Iraq to get oil is alive and well, and living in quite a few people's heads.

I think that #1 is a more sensible approach. It lacks the drama of the Big Oil scenarios, but it seems to have a better fit with reality.

Finally, I think that the Afghan authorities over-estimated the size of the Taliban force, as NATO has indicated. That doesn't imply a conspiracy, though. Considering what Afghanistan has been through, I think it's understandable if the current government accepted high-side estimates of the enemy's strength.

More, in the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.