Could the West, and more specifically, America, be turning its back on Afghanistan all over again? Ahmed Rashid (the author of the widely acclaimed book Taliban) says that’s what’s happening. And it pisses me off. For example:

The other bunch of warlords are the ones in the south who’ve been armed and funded by the Americans directly, who have been used as the ground troops against al-Qaida. They’re showing little loyalty to the interim government. They’re unable to provide security to the U.N. and the NGOs in the south and east of the country, so people are asking what in the hell the Americans are doing. These are the American warlords. If the Americans are the ones who are going to provide security, at least a warlord in Kandahar should be bloody well told to behave. Control your troops from criminal activity in the city, and create an environment where NGOs and aid agencies can come. But there has been no effort to do that. Not even in areas like Kandahar where American troops are based, where American warlords are based, where these warlords owe their existence to the Americans.

I’ll be blunt — I blame Republicans for this kind of crap. They’re more than happy to send in the Marines, but when it comes to aid for redevelopment or sticking with the task of stabilizing another country, they don’t want any of it. They love to talk about our “national interests,” but if it’s in our national interests to drag some poor downtrodden country out of the gutter, they walk away (even if we put them there). It’s embarrassing, it’s shortsighted, and it’s stupid.