ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unravelling of a Warlord Confederacy

Now it is Afghanistan, not Iraq, that is on the edge of a precipice.

Afghanistan was just a way station in the broader civilisational mission of ridding the world of terrorism, a brief halt for the armies of virtue before they went on to nobler tasks. When the larger project got mired in a strategic mess of exclusive United States authorship in Iraq, Afghanistan still remained the saving grace, with all the signs it was showing of change for the better.

The puncturing of that delusion began from about early-2006, though the virtuous took a while to recognise that reality. Since May this year, casualties among US and allied forces in Afghanistan have consistently outstripped the toll in Iraq. Afghan civilian deaths meanwhile have multiplied, increasingly as a consequence of misdirected attacks by US and allied forces. Each such incident elicits a volley of protests from the Afghan national government, followed by a commitment from the foreign forces that investigations would duly be conducted. And, as virtually foretold from the moment an inquiry is launched, the finding, finally, is that the occupying military forces acted “appropriately”.

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