While you were watching the Surge, Afghanistan was falling apart at the seams:
The Taliban has a permanent presence in 54% of Afghanistan and the country is in serious danger of falling into the group's hands, according to a report by an independent thinktank with long experience in the area.It's an assessment which is shared by major humanitarian aid group Oxfam ,and, according to the Guardian, privately by senior US and UK military commanders.
Despite the presence of tens of thousands of Nato-led troops and billions of dollars in aid, the insurgents, driven out by the US invasion in 2001, now control "vast swaths of unchallenged territory, including rural areas, some district centres, and important road arteries," the Senlis Council says in a report released today.
On the basis of what it calls exclusive research, it warns that the insurgency is also exercising a "significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people, who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change".
It says that the frontline is getting ever closer to Kabul - a warning echoed by the UN, which says more and more of the country is becoming a "no go" area for western aid and development workers.
The council goes as far as to state: "It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when this will happen and in what form.
Given the current state of play in Pakistan, is there any doubt now that we sceptics were correct all along when we said that Afghanistan was always the real front of the War on Terror and that Iraq was an unneccesary distraction from that front? The real war is being lost, thanks to Bush and his cheerleaders.