Afghanistan: Have we learned nothing?

The United States of America is settling George Bush's scores with the "terrorists" trying to overthrow Hamid Karzai's corrupt government. 29 years ago, the Soviet Union was settling Leonid Brezhnev's scores with the "terrorists" trying to overthrow Barbrak Karmal's corrupt government.

Fast forward to 2001 – just seven years ago – and an American general told us of the imminent victory over the "terrorists" in the mountains, the all but conquered Taliban. The American general was pontificating at the big US airbase at Bagram. A Russian was likewise pontificating at the big Soviet airbase at Bagram [in the previous war with Afghanistan].

This is not déjà-vu. This is déjà double-vu. And it gets worse.

Stephen Tanner’s book Afghanistan: A Military History From Alexander The Great To The Fall Of The Taliban quotes General Roberts of Kandahar telling the British in 1880 that "the best thing to do is to leave it as much as possible to itself... I feel sure I am right when I say that the less the Afghans see of us, the less they will dislike us".

Memo to the Americans, the Brits, the Canadians and the rest of Humpty Dumpty's men. Read history.

[Excerpt of an article by Robert Fisk, The Independent]

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