Afghanistan: US spy chief admits war going badly

Doug Lorimer | Green Left online, 9 March 2008

While the Western corporate media was swooning over the tour of army duty in war-torn Afghanistan by Prince Harry, the third in line to the British crown, scant coverage was given to US national intelligence director Vice-Admiral Mike McConnell’s admission that the situation facing the US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan is “deteriorating”, despite a doubling of their occupation forces since 2004.

There are currently 28,000 US troops in Afghanistan, with another 3200 due to arrive later this month. More than half of the US troops in Afghanistan — 15,000 — operate under the command of the US-led NATO military alliance. There are also 28,000 non-US troops operating as part of the 43,000 NATO commanded International Security Assistance Force. The largest non-US ISAF contingent — 7700 troops — is from Britain, while 970 Australian troops constitute the largest non-NATO contingent.

‘Classic insurgency’

Testifying before the US Senate armed services committee on February 27, Connell said that after six years of US and allied military support and billions of dollars in foreign aid, the US-installed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai — derided by critics as being little more than “the mayor of Kabul” — controls only 30% of the country.

McConnell said 60% of the country was controlled by local warlords, while the Taliban anti-occupation guerrilla fighters controlled 10-11%, mainly in the south. “Taliban forces have expanded their operations into previously peaceful areas of the west and around Kabul”, he added.

Continued . . .

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