Yesterday's NY Times article about the Haqqani crime family in Afghanistan talked about how far their tentacles reach, into kidnapping, arms smuggling, fencing, and extortion, including demanding protection money from companies building American-financed roads and schools.
The Haqqanis are Afghanistan in a nutshell. To them,the world was never divided up into communists. vs. capitalists, or the US vs. the USSR. To them, it's divided up into Muslims vs. infidels, the locals vs. any invaders, and the Haqqanis vs. the world.
The Haqqanis have allied themselves at various times with the CIA, the Saudi spy service, Osama bin Laden, and most recently with the Pakistani spy agency, the ISI. The Haqqanis, considered freedom fighters during the Soviet occupation, were behind the recent assault on the US Embassy in Kabul. They have shifting alliances, but their only true loyalties are to Islam and the Haqqanis.
The article included the following paragraph about their leader:
Jalaluddin Haqqani’s fierce temperament was matched by his devotion to the rules of Islam, the official said. Shot in the knee one time during the daytime fast of Ramadan, Mr. Haqqani had medics dig the bullet out without anesthesia rather than violate a religious tenet by swallowing pain medication, the official said. There is little doubt in Afghanistan that if the family were to gain power, it would institute strict Islamic rule.
Now ask yourself the following questions: Would Hamid Karzai, take a bullet to the knee and forgo pain medication? Does Karzai head up a corrupt administration? Did he win the last election fairly? Is there any chance the Taliban will support him once we're gone? Does the average Afghan identify in any way, however remotely, with Americans? Have we not already announced that we will be withdrawing according to a certain timetable, letting the Taliban know that they have only to wait us out? Do our Pakistani allies feel any intrinsic loyalty to us, or are they playing a double game? Is there any chance we take all those backwards, medieval, Muslim tribes, each isolated by forbidding mountains, and turn them all into a cohesive, functioning, modern democracy?
Al Qaeda has been driven out of Afghanistan. So why are we still there?