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Afghanistan: more troops « Previous | |Next »
April 11, 2007

So Australia is sending more troops---300 Special Air Services and commando forces---to southern Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. They are part of a military strategy in this "theater" of operation to counter the expected spring insurgency by the Taliban, which operates from safe Pakistani base in its borderlands.

Afghanistan.jpg
Geoff Pyror

Why is Australia involved in this "front" in the global war of terror. Sure the Taliban gave safe haven and support to Al-Qaeda terrorists until they were overthrown. Is there not a civil war going on in Afghanistan now? Is not the international coalition (NATO) defending one side against another? For the ALP, which supports the extra troops, the reason is to fight Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida. So a long-term Australian military presence in Afghanistan confirms that this theatre remains at the centre of Australia's military contribution to the global jihadist war.

So where does the Taliban fit into the ALP account?

As Tom Engelhardt over at TomDispatch observes, five years after its liberation from the Taliban, Afghanistan is a failed state, home to a successful guerrilla war by one of the most primitively fundamentalist movements on the planet, and a thriving narco-kingdom. Seven years on the war on terror is still seen as essentially a military matter backed up by traditional counter-terrorism operations---more rubble, less trouble for the pro-war, chest-beating Right.

If Afghanistan is the forgotten front in the neo-con's Global War on Terror, then it seems to be following a distinctly Bush administration surge-style path. AsTom Engelhardt says the pattern is one of:

more U.S. (and NATO) troops, more military aid, more reconstruction funds, more fighting, more casualties, heavier weaponry, more air power, more bad news, and predictions of worse to come.

Afghanistan is part of "arc of instability" that stretches from North Africa through the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and which would be safe for Israel and American hegemony. Iraq and Afghanistan stand on either side of Iran, with the Americans promoting instability in Iran by heightening separatist sentiments in that country to destabilize the Iranian regime.

I have seen little critical analysis of the Howard government's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan in the Canberra Press Gallery. Is this media patriotism? Afghanistan is being treated as a stand alone event, and not as one front in a regional campaign involving many fronts (Iraq, Iran, Somalia). The Canberra Press Gallery is not connecting the dot's.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:18 AM |