Well no, he didn’t say 150 years, but 15 years. (which is sufficient to supply him and his clan with riches beyond their wildest dreams.) The reality is, that no matter how much men, money and materiel we waste on this ‘democracy under sharia’ experiment nothing will change, not in one year, not in 15 and not in 150.
How do you “reintegrate” half the estimated 25,000 illiterate, indoctrinated Taliban headbangers Â with promises of new jobs? They don’t even know how to spell the word.
Perhaps we should put the Taliban on a pension? But then, they don’t even know what that is. But when it comes to killing infidels over some fake Â burnt Koran Â accusations you can be sure that Â the obligatory fanatical frenzy ensues, which unites those who are suffering from the dreadful curse of Mohammedanism, no matter how much we try to be friends or trying to “lift them out of poverty…’ Â “Dreadful are the curses...”
President Karzai of Afghanistan warned today that his country’s security forces would require another 15 years of Western support before they are able to sustain themselves.
Ahead of the opening of the London Conference on Afghanistan, Mr Karzai told the BBC that he foresaw a gradual reduction in support over a lengthy timeframe.
“With regard to training and equipping the Afghan security forces, five to 10 years will be enough,” he said. “With regard to sustaining them until Afghanistan is financially able to provide for our forces, the time will be extended to 10 to 15 years.”
His comments were at odds with the tone of Gordon Brown’s opening address to the conference, which sought to stress a timeframe of less than a year until Western forces begin a transition of responsibility to their Afghan counterparts
The Communique that will end the conference, a document already leaked to The Times, forsees a gradual transfer starting late this year or early next in the more benign provinces. Afghan forces will be in the lead of the majority of provinces within three years and overall control will pass to Afghan forces within five years.
Concurrent with the military surge, led by 30,000 new US troops, the Prime Minister set out details to leaders from more than 60 countries of a complementary “civilian and political surge” that will include a drive to reconcile and reintegrate Taliban fighters.
After a bloody year for Nato forces in Afghanistan, during which 520 troops died including 108 from Britain, Mr Brown told delegates: “By the middle of next year, we have to turn the tide in the fight against the insurgency.”
Standing alongside Mr Karzai, the Prime Minister went on to detail plans that Western leaders hope will lead to the reintegration of what the Afghan President called the “disenchanted brothers” of the Taleban.
The Prime Minister detailed a new Â£500million fund that is to offer inducements to Taleban fighters who promise to lay down their arms and sever their ties with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks.
The exact nature of the proposed engagement remains unclear, with Afghan officials and some British officials appearing to push a more conciliatory line than is coming from Washington.
Speaking at the start of the conference President Karzai told leaders that he wished to “reach out to all” and asked that the Saudi leader King Abdullah act as an intermediary in a process of engagement with the Taleban leadership. Saudi Arabia, one of only three countries to recognise the original Taleban government, has played a discreet role in previous unofficial talks between the Karzai government and representatives of the Taleban
The Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said yesterday that any reconciliation with the Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was “probably a bridge too far” after he gave safe haven to al-Qaeda to launch the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
“He has the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands,” he told reporters in Washington.
But Mark Sedwill, the former British Ambassador and newly appointed Nato civilian representative in Afghanistan, suggested that talks with the Taleban would inevitably lead to engagement with “unsavoury characters.”
“If we are going to bring conflicts like Afghanistan, civil conflicts, to an end, that means some pretty unsavoury characters have to be brought within the system,” he said.
The Taleban has been dismissive of suggestions that fighters can be “bought” by the new plan and today restated on its website that the withdrawal of Western forces is a precondition to any negotiation with the leadership. However, the insurgent movement has been careful in recent months to distance itself from Al-Qaeda’s agenda stressing that it poses “no threat to the West”.
Among the measures that are to accompany the reconciliation drive as part of a concurrent “civilian surge” in Afghanistan are plans for a new training programme for some 12,000 Afghan bureaucrats, a key deficiency in a country beset by both literacy rates of less than 30 per cent and endemic corruption. Agriculture, the mainstay of the Afghan economy, is to receive another Â£72 million from the British taxpayer.
As the West tries to accelerate a transition to Afghan control that will provide an ultimate exit strategy, Mr Brown said that the proportion of development money channelled through the Afghan government is to be increased to 50 per cent of the total, a move matched by Afghan government commitments to clamp down on endemic corruption. The International Monitory Fund and the World Bank are to announce further debt relief for Afghanistan totalling $1.6 billion.
British police training and mentoring teams are to be doubled from April, Mr Brown said, as part of an international effort to build Afghan forces that will see the Afghan Army expanded from 134,000 this October to 171,600 by October 2011. The Afghan police are to grow in number from 109,000 in October to 134,000 by October 2011.