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Afghanistan is far from safe haven for democracy

May 12, 2012
The Mining Journal

During his 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama insisted U.S. policy in the Middle East was misguided. Get out of Iraq, he demanded. Focus attention on eliminating the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, he urged.

Once in the Oval Office, Obama accelerated the schedule for U.S. combat troops to pull out of Iraq. Thousands of Americans, many in danger, remain there, however.

At the same time, Obama inserted more U.S. combat troops into Afghanistan. Now he says both al-Qaida and the Taliban have been beaten. "We broke the Taliban's momentum," the president said last week.

But last week, just hours after Obama departed Kabul after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, the Taliban demonstrated their power by sending a suicide bomber to a compound frequented by Americans and other foreigners.

Seven Afghans were killed in the attack.

Two leaders of intelligence committees in Congress - one of them a staunch supporter of Obama - agree the president got it wrong.

During the weekend, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.; and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said they do not believe the Taliban have been defeated.

The two lawmakers should know; they chair the Senate and House select committees on intelligence. Both recently visited Afghanistan, where they met with President Hamid Karzai.

Feinstein's comments were especially striking, again because she normally backs Obama firmly.

"I think we'd both say that what we've found is that the Taliban is stronger," she said of the trip she and Rogers made.

After a decade in which more than 1,800 U.S. troops have given their lives - and tens of thousands more have been wounded severely - U.S. strategy under Obama has led to the terrorists gaining strength.

Once U.S. and other NATO combat forces leave, there is every reason to believe the Taliban will take over Afghanistan again. Then, they may well resume their role in providing a safe haven for al-Qaida and other terrorists.



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