Rising civilian casualties from US and international attacks, the resurgence of the Taliban, the rising cost of food and gas, and the failure to engage Pakistan, Iran, and India make the situation in Afghanistan the worst since 2001, according to an experienced European diplomat.
Francesc Vendrell, a Spaniard who just stepped down as the EU envoy in Kabul, insisted yesterday that the Afghan government and other countries, too, must follow military actions against the Taliban with concrete humanitarian assistance. Only then, he said, will the local people get behind the government in Kabul and its Western backers.
Speaking at a conference of international ministers and military officers, Vendrell offered some more specific advice. To find out what that was,
Vendrell said international players must double military efforts, build up civilian institutions, and make sure elections happen next year. He also called on the US to put forth clear standards for the hundreds of Afghans currently detained without trial.
Increased civilians deaths and detention without trial will probably have to end before the West wins the moral, let alone military, battle in Afghanistan.