Better paid, better armed, better connected, its the Taliban

Big piece in the Guardian, semi smug about the state of things but some good interviews with Locals

"We've warned people they may see soldiers shooting in their villages. I tell them this is the price of peace and freedom," said US commander Lieutenant Colonel Steven Gilbert.

Disillusionment with the president, who once promised so much, is high. "We are like a herd with no shepherd," said one elder. In desperation, his government has doubled the number of police through the use of arbikays - untrained tribal fighters paid directly by the governor. They are a mixed blessing. On Wednesday Dawlat Khan, one of the arbikay commanders, stormed into the police chief's office in Ghazni, bursting with anger. "The Taliban attacked my house. My wife and children were inside. What sort of government do we have that cannot protect us!" he yelled.

Mr Khan typifies the compromises Mr Karzai has had to make to maintain law and order. A life-long warrior with a fierce and unsmiling face, he has a reputation for ruthlessness and brutality. Lt Col Gilbert said Mr Khan was "covered in blood" the first time they met. But he is a fierce foe of the Taliban, standing to fight when trained policemen scurry away. "In an environment where peace is the norm, he wouldn't have a place," Lt Col Gilbert said. "But after 30 years of war, famine and fighting, you don't have the luxury of saying I don't want these hard core guys."

Mr Khan told the Guardian the militants have bigger guns and more fighters. They have powerful friends. Several times he had collared Taliban fighters only to discover days later they had been released following a call from a powerful politician or influential tribal leader. They also have surprising amounts of money.

Last year, he said, he captured two insurgents, "one of them alive". Mr Khan asked him why he was fighting. The man replied: "You are being paid 5,000 Afghanis (£54). I am making 20,000 Pakistani rupees. So now you tell me why you are fighting."

This year the Taliban formed an alliance with drug kingpins, offering to protect poppy farmers and smugglers in exchange for a cut of the $3bn trade. But diplomats believe most funding comes from fundamentalist sympathisers in Pakistan and the Middle East. Some believe governments may be also involved.

"I would be shocked if the Saudi intelligence service and the Kuwaitis were not trying to find ways to get money to the Taliban," said Michael Scheuer, a former CIA agent with 20 years' experience in the region.

Article in full,,1873769,00.html
Bleed to bankruptcy seems to be the longterm strategy of US enemies.The Taliban knows this and so does AQ.Ultimately victory will be defined by who outlasted the other regardless of loses.
Kharzi wuz a ex Haliburton man and so from King George's point of view a 'Safe' bet for the new dictator.
How ever he was not an insider with 'proper' contacts.
The original job of expelling the Taliban was not completed.
The rump left and the leadership which was, in my opinion, allowed to escape over the border (King George NEEDS a live enemy to scare the US with) have now reformed refinanced and doing what every Good Muslim should. Sending Infadels to hell.
Two more years No King George no puppy dog Blur just an ongoing war.
Come on, which oil rich state can afford to allow us to pacify Afghanistan?? Lets bring all the blokes & lasses home and use all our oil in the North Sea, that should last for a good few years and by then free energy will be sorted!

Or maybe not

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