Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Extremist language barrier
Today's agreement between the leaders of the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan seems good on the surface, but it undoubtedly doesn't mean the same thing to all sides. Barak Obama, Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai Obama might have been all smiles after meeting at the White House today, but that's not the same thing as being on the same page. "We meet today as three joined by a common goal -- to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and its extemist allies," Obama said, according to the Reuters international news service. As if. Obama certainly must realize that neither Zardari, who seems to be trying to surrender large swaths of his country to the al-Qaida-linked Taliban, and Karzai, who only tenuously controls a tiny portion of his strategic country, are not reliable allies. Not that Kabul is enamored at the moment at its part of the alliance, even though the United States and NATO took Afghanistan from the Taliban and installed Karzai as head of the government in 2001. Obama's statement came on the same day that U.S. air strikes were blamed for more than 100 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, part of Washington's increased focus there as the war in Iraq winds down. But Obama said the U.S. commitment to defeating al-Qaida and the Taliban was a "lasting commitment," Reuters said. Obama said to expect more violence and setbacks in the ongoing war against Islamic militants and pledged addditional resources to the battle. "This support will not waver and it will be sustained," he said. "No matter what happens, we will not be deterred." Obama said the United States already had pledged 21,000 additional soldiers to the Afghanistan battlefield and said additional NATO resources were on the way.