Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Karzai ventures outside Kabul (an item that should not be news)

Remember Afghanistan? That is the country that the US invaded back in late 2001, because the folks in charge there, the Taliban, were harboring Osama bin Laden, a terrorist whose thugs attacked the US in Sept. 2001. The brave US-led forces overthrew the Taliban, and helped set up an interim government there. Then the US went to Iraq in early 2003, and Afghanistan became less of a priority. The US still has a substantial military presence in Afghanistan (1000 more on the way), although experts say that up to half of the intelligence and special forces hunting for bin Laden were diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq.

Now, it is a news story when the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, travels outside the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. In fact, President Karzai rarely travels inside the country at all. Worse yet, the remnants of the Taliban are now threatening more attacks, which the US confirms. Adding on to that, Afghanistan's opium trade has revived and is thriving under the country's U.S.-backed leaders -- experts say that is not likely to change any time soon no matter who wins next month's first direct presidential election.

All that pleasant news notwithstanding, in light of the President's apparent inability to recognize (or his refusal to acknowledge) problem situations, CNB presumes that Pres. Bush would say that things are just swell in Afghanistan, and that they are moving toward democracy, what with the election set for October 9.

CNB hopes nothing but the best for Afghanistan, and hopes that things swiftly improve. (This last sentence throws a bone to anyone, e.g. Christopher Hitchens, who might think CNB -- a non-partisan blog, thank you -- wants bad things to happen in Afghanistan)