Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Six years, tens of billions of dollars and 2,300 dead and injured U.S. soldiers later, the U.S. backed government of Hamid Karzai controls only 30 percent of Afghanistan, top U.S. officials said yesterday. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell said it would take five years to get Afghani and Pakistani forces ready to defeat the resurgent Taliban, which controls more than 10 percent of the country, and other insurgents. Most of Afghanistan's territory and population are under the control of local tribes, not the government, McConnell said, according to the Associated Press. Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, told the committee at the same hearing that the Pakistani government was trying to crack down on the lawless tribal area along the Afghan border area where Taliban and al-Qaida are believed to train. "Pakistani military operations in the (region) have not fundamentally damaged al-Qaida's position," Maples said. "The tribal areas remain largely ungovernable and, as such, they will continue to provide vital sanctuary to al-Qaida, the Taliban and regional extremism." Maybe the Congress can find out who is responsible for this mess.