Score another failure for Bush's hope for regime change in the Middle East. He was so eager to go into Iraq rather than finishing the job in Afghanistan that the Taliban have re-emerged and NATO cannot contain them.
Tony Blair and other Nato leaders gathering in the Latvian capital, Riga, this week will almost certainly fail to secure the additional troops being sought to keep the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan, according to sources here.
Although it took over responsibility for the whole country just a few weeks ago, Nato's mission remains at least 15 per cent undermanned, with a significant shortage of combat troops and a desperate lack of helicopters. A succession of Nato meetings has failed to secure reinforcements, and all the indications are that the alliance's Riga summit, presented as one of the most crucial in its post-Cold War history, will not be any more successful.
Commanders have repeatedly sought at least 1,000 fighting troops to form a quick reaction force which could deal with upsurges of violence, but many in the 37-nation mission have insisted on constraints which effectively keep them away from the front line. Read on...