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1,000 US dead in Afghanistan; Taliban attack Kandahar base, Parliament on Strike

May 23, 2010

The US and its NATO allies continue to prepare the upcoming Kandahar offensive scheduled for later this summer.  In the meantime it Taliban/resistance attacks on the US/Nato have been on the rise both in frequency and audacity.   The recent attacks have targeted three major centers of US/NATO power in Afghanistan: Bagram Base, the US’s largest in the country, and assault on a convoy in the capital Kabul, and most recently at the major base in the south of the country in Kandahar province, the site of the upcoming offensive.

The attacks have pushed the US death toll past 1,000.  Meanwhile Obama gave a speech to the graduating class of West Point, praising the US war efforts and using Iraq as a model for success in Afghanistan.  He must have hoped that people have stopped paying attention to what is happening in Iraq.  The country has no government over two months after the March 7th elections and is highly unstable.  The so-called democracy that has been set up in the country is on a very slim footing indeed and with the allegations of fraud from all sides in the last election its roots in the country seem tenuous at best.

In Afghanistan the lower house of the parliament has actually just gone on strike in protest against the Karzai government for failing to meet a deadline to present the nominations for the 11 vacant cabinet posts still to be filled.  There is a total lack of trust between the parliament, and the country at large, and the government under Karzai.  This is, among other reasons, because he is widely believed to have stolen the last election in which he was the only candidate to vote for in the deciding second round.

As Juan Cole notes:

That any resolution of the crisis in Afghanistan will ultimately have to be political in character is widely recognized. But how to get a political settlement when the executive and the legislature are themselves at daggers drawn is not clear.

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