Friday, February 22, 2008

No way to win the battle for hearts and minds

This report from southern Afghanistan has been out for three days, and it provides powerful evidence that things are going badly there. The British, who are sending 16 Air Assault Brigade to Helmand in April just as the poppy harvest gets under way, are clearly gearing up for renewed hostilities in the spring. Although the Afghan winter is a harsh one, the lull that it imposes on the fighting in the region surely offers an opportunity for reconstruction work.

Instead as the report shows, there is still no improvement in electricity generation, and the locals are blaming the foreigners, and not the Taliban, for the lack of progress. The British do not seem to be winning the battle for hearts and minds vital to their success in this guerrilla war.

UPDATE: To add to Britain's problems in the south of Afghanistan, the Canadians have just announced that they will withdraw from Kandahar province, next-door, by 2011.

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