Kicky : Warum dieser Krieg nichts bewirken wird
Jason Burke, an expert on Afghanistan, has covered the conflict since day one. From Peshawar he warns that the Alliance strategy is fatally flawed
Sunday October 21, 2001
So no defections, no coups against Mullah Omar, no handing over of bin Laden are likely - just a steady rallying to the Taliban flag, mounting civilian casualties, growing extremism and an unfolding humanitarian disaster.
Yesterday, we got a taste of what is to come. Domestic opinion in the US and the UK, the approach of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the growing fragility of the coalition mean that 'a result' is needed within a month. The Americans are likely to commit hundreds more ground troops, probably with the SAS hanging on to their camouflaged coat-tails, in an increasingly desperate bid to get their man. It is difficult to exaggerate quite what a disaster for everybody that will be. The Northern Alliance would be permanently tarred as Western stooges, the rest of the country would take their guns and go to fight the invaders. So, as they have told me repeatedly in recent weeks, would all the commanders currently watching developments from Pakistan.
Western troops in Afghanistan just wouldn't win. They would be forced, like the Soviets, into isolated, fortified firebases. The idea of 150 US or Royal Marines dug in on some hilltop in Nangahar facing 1,000 Zarameens doesn't bear thinking about
When I think about the huddled masses of the refugees, about the small, stone-covered graves that are appearing outside every village, about Mohammed Ghaffar, the white-bearded waiter at Kabul's battered Intercontinental hotel who grimly counted off the regimes that have successively run and ruined his country on his fingers, I know we have to halt the escalation before it is too late. But when I listen to Rumsfeld and Bush and Blair and Straw and their macho, ignorant and fatally flawed rhetoric it is hard to be optimistic.