The Taliban are able to present themselves as battling for Afghan independence
By Patrick Cockburn
"Just when President Barack Obama looked as if he might be railroaded into sending tens of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, the American envoy to Kabul has warned him not to do so.
In a leaked cable to Washington sent last week, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W Eikenberry, argued that it would be a mistake to send reinforcements until the government of Hamid Karzai demonstrates that it will act against corruption and mismanagement. Mr Eikenberry knows what he is talking about because he has long experience of Afghanistan. A recently retired three-star general, he was responsible for training the Afghan security forces from 2002 to 2003 and was top US commander in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007.........
Mr Eikenberry is rightly sceptical about the dispatch of reinforcements to prop up a regime which is more of a racket than an administration. The troops may kill more Taliban, but they will also be their recruiting sergeants. As for the Afghan government, its ill-paid forces will not be eager to fight harder if they can get the Americans and the British to do their fighting for them."