Sunday, April 29, 2007

The U.S. risks losing on two fronts

Obsessed and distracted by his focus on the Iraq war, George Bush may be on the verge of losing the forgotten war as well.

Richard Holbrooke has warned that corruption, anti-democratic trends, and the resurgence of the Taliban threaten NATO's success in Afghanistan.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - NATO risks losing the war in Afghanistan because of a "tremendous deterioration" in the popularity of the government of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke said Saturday.

Taliban guerrillas have vastly expanded their activities during the past year. Insurgents have now returned to many regions outside their traditional strongholds in the east that were rebel-free since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Holbrooke said he was struck during his visit by how unpopular Karzai's government had become because of corruption caused by the country's burgeoning drug problem.

He lambasted the U.S.-financed effort to train the Afghan police, saying it had produced a force that was corrupt and incompetent.

"The U.S. training program (for the police) under DynCorp is an appalling joke ... a complete shambles," he said. He referred to Falls Church, Virginia-based DynCorp International Inc. a major provider of security and defence services in Afghanistan, Iraq and other troublespots.
Dyncorp is also a player in Iraq, awarded contracts to help set up law enforcement in that country. It's been cited for squandering tens of millions in that country.

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