| ||Karzai must act|
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All the murder and mayhem that happened in Afghanistan on Aug. 14 may be a forerunner of things to come. Fifty people died in incidents of violence across the country that day. And this proves one thing very clearly. That the Taliban can attack any place at a time of their choosing. Not even the Americans or President Hamid Karzai’s security forces can stop them as they are a determined and highly motivated lot. In fact, the group showed off its prowess to conduct acts of violence anywhere at anytime some weeks ago by attacking Kabul. A study of the places where violence occurred offers ample proof of this point. One of the attacks, the worst one in fact that killed about 36 people, took place in Zaranj, the capital of the southwestern province of Nimroz. Another attack occurred in Kunduz, in the north. The third strike was in Badakshan, in the northeast of the country. The attack in Nimroz province, which has been relatively peaceful so far, sends a significant message to Karzai that the future fight will be a fierce one.
The Americans and their allies and Karzai’s forces have not yet forced the Taliban to walk on crutches. Those having notions to the contrary are just nursing an illusion. It’s time they became realistic and acted in a concrete way to ensure that the Taliban jaggernaut does not roll into Kabul with ease once western forces leave. At this point in time, considering the present scenario, it looks like the Taliban will have a walkover once foreign forces leave. Considering the state of the Afghan security services, this seems a certainty. There’s no doubt that the United States has to go a long way to properly equip Karzai’s men and ensure that they are on par with the Taliban. Training-wise too, the Americans have a lot of work to do.
There are numerous other commitments the westerners will have to undertake. And the most important among them is to force Karzai to rid the country of corruption or at least reduce its scale. That Afghanistan is sunk in graft is a known fact. A large chunk of the aid money being sent by various nations and agencies has been going into the deep pockets of politicians and officials. A lot of it has been channelled abroad while thousands of Afghans are suffering. Yet the horrifying reality is that none of the guilty have been tried and convicted. So, the time has come to make Karzai act to end this malaise. Otherwise, the people, fed up with the high level of corruption, may turn to the Taliban for solace. This will be a huge setback for Karzai. Hence, for his own survival and the survival of Afghanistan as a free nation, Karzai will have to act and act fast.