Sunday, March 18, 2007

Perspective: Iraq made Afghanistan an orphan

A U.S. outpost in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The first and most unfortunate orphan of the Iraq War is Afghanistan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls Afghanistan "a war that is unfinished and nearly forgotten." For all the political drama that is unfolding over the Democrats' decision to use the upcoming debate over war spending to challenge President Bush's policies in Iraq, the Democratic congressional caucus is also using the spending measure for a purpose equally crucial. It is redirecting funds toward Afghanistan in a last-ditch effort to rescue the country that was the original "central front" in the war on terror.

"It's not lost," says Mark Schneider, senior vice president of the International Crisis Group, a nonpartisan research organization that studies conflicts around the globe. "There's still a much greater opportunity than in Iraq to strengthen the beginnings of institutions in Afghanistan." Afghanistan is being sucked back into civic chaos by extremist violence, factional warfare, rampant government corruption and unchecked opium production that helps finance the Taliban and other militants. The country is assaulted from across the Pakistan border by Taliban forces and an emboldened al-Qaeda.

Read the rest at the Denver Post