Afghanistan on the Brink

June 2007 • Volume 1, Issue 6
Is time running out for NATO and the U.S.-led coalition?
By Roland Flamini

Introduction

Taliban insurgents, like this pair armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, are widely expected to launch a new push this summer to restore a strict Islamic regime in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital.  (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
Taliban insurgents, like this pair armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, are widely expected to launch a new push this summer to restore a strict Islamic regime in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

Three years ago, the Bush administration could still claim democracy was taking hold in Afghanistan and that the country was on the road to economic recovery. Today, Afghanistan is dangerously close to sliding back into lawlessness and chaos as more than 50,000 NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops battle an insurgent Taliban movement and a still-robust al Qaeda. A recent spike in civilian deaths — caused by terrorist suicide bombers and stepped-up air attacks by NATO and allied forces — also threatens to turn a war-weary population against the Western troops and the shaky, new Afghan government. President Hamid Karzai's authority barely extends beyond Kabul, and the country's only successful economic sector is its burgeoning drug trade. Afghan women have seen their newfound rights shrink as Islamic fundamentalism elbows its way back into the courts and social system. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan has been unable or unwilling to prevent the Taliban and al Qaeda from using its mountainous border areas as a safe haven. Some Afghans and international experts believe recovery is still possible — but they say time is of the essence.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Afghanistan
Aug. 07, 2009  Afghanistan Dilemma Updated
Jun. 2007  Afghanistan on the Brink
Dec. 21, 2001  Rebuilding Afghanistan
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Democratization
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
U.S. at War: Afghanistan