My recent (pessimistic) blog on Afghanistan has produced informative responses from people more knowledgeable about the situation than am I.

One of these is:

*Carlo Cristofori was Secretary of the International Committee for
Solidarity with the Afghan Resistance, set up by members of the European Parliament following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. In that capacity, he worked closely with a number of Afghan resistance organizations, becoming personally familiar with many Afghan political figures. He has analyzed Afghan politics for thirty years. *

He points out:

“It is the fundamental compact of allegiance between the tribes and the central government that needs to be reestablished. Such a compact is not a pipe dream, but something that actually existed as the historical basis of the Afghan state, and which, under the monarchy, afforded Afghanistan generations of progress and peace.”

Karzai, he maintains, is a puppet figure with which we replaced a royal family adept at putting together coalitions among the thousands of sub entities that constitute Afghanistan’s identity — a system with which we seem totally unfamiliar and unable to establish cooperative links. The (corrupt) Karzai election is at best more of the same. He is seen as our appointed puppet and carries no weight with the population — explaining the weakness of the governmental structures he tried to set up.

Where we go from here, I do not know. But it certainly looks as though no possible (financially feasible) expansion of our troops there can do more than provide cannon fodder for those seeking to expel them — 51 were killed in August alone. Six Italian troops were killed yesterday, leading to a call for Italy to get out.

Does not look good for us from any perspective. What do you think?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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