Escalation is futile in a war in which complexity defies might

GABRIEL KOLKO, National Times, Sep 23, 2009

The US scarcely knew what a complex disaster it was confronting when it went to war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. It will eventually – perhaps years from now – suffer the same fate as Alexander the Great, the British and the Soviet Union: defeat.

What is called ”Afghanistan” is really a collection of tribes and ethnic groups – Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and more. There are seven major ethnic groups, each with its own language. There are 30 minor languages. Pashtuns are 42 per cent of the population and the Taliban come from them. Its borders are contested and highly porous, and al-Qaeda is most powerful in the Pashtun regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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