The Nation's Jeremy Scahill sat down with his colleague Chris Hayes who was filling in for Rachel Maddow to discuss the latest farce concerning our occupation in Afghanistan and the lack of intelligence on the ground there.
November 23, 2010

The Nation's Jeremy Scahill sat down with his colleague Chris Hayes who was filling in for Rachel Maddow to discuss the latest farce concerning our occupation in Afghanistan and the lack of intelligence on the ground there.

Scahill recently spent a great deal of time actually doing some reporting on the ground in Afghanistan and you can read more about that here -- Taliban Leader Mullah Omar: The US and NATO Are Being Defeated in Afghanistan :

In a communiqué marking the beginning of the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, claimed his forces were making gains against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and announced a new plan to increase attacks aimed at delivering a "crushing and decisive blow" against the presence of foreign forces. "The aim is to entangle the enemy in an exhausting war of attrition and wear it away like the former Soviet Union," declared Omar in his address on the "Festival of Sacrifice." Omar wrote that his forces had developed new short- and long-term strategies, saying that, overall, "our strategy is to increase our operations step by step and spread them to all parts of the country to compel the enemy to come out from their hideouts and then crush them through tactical raids." [...]

Current Taliban commanders and former senior officials of Omar's Taliban government recently told The Nation that while the US Special Operations Forces' targeted killing campaign against Taliban commanders has been successful, the strikes were actually producing a more radical generation of fighters and commanders. In his communication, Omar did not address the issue of the targeted killing campaign, but he did claim that morale among the Taliban remained high. "Our Mujahid people will never feel exhausted in the sacred path of Jihad, because it is a divine obligation," he wrote. "Fatigue can have no way into it."

Go read the rest and Scahill summed up some of his reporting during his interview here with Hayes.

Hayes: If we're not going to win this war on the ground fighting it. If it's not fundamentally going to be a military victory, which I think it increasingly looks like it cannot be...

Scahill: Right.

Hayes: ...then the only other option right is some sort of diplomatic end and when I read this news the reason that it sort of upset me is I thought well, when they were meeting with Taliban leaders in the reports, I thought that maybe it actually is the beginning of something that can look like diplomacy. Do you still think diplomacy if feasible? Is it the only way out?

Scahill: Well look, anyone that knows anything about Afghanistan will say there's not going to be a military solution. The Taliban actually have a large constituency. They don't operate in a vacuum. So in order to have a political solution, you have to negotiate with the Taliban. The problem is that the Taliban people are saying we won't negotiate with Karzai until the US and NATO leave. The US is saying we're not going to bow down to the demands of the Taliban, so either one of those sides backs down or we're going to have a continued situation where there's bloodshed.

The worst case scenario could be that the US creates a more radical generation of Taliban, leaves the country having fueled a civil war and Afghanistan lives in war for perpetuity and I think that the bottom line here is that we have our Special Operations forces, the most elite, highly trained forces in the world essentially killing farmers and mid-level commanders. Those guys Chris, I talked to former Special Forces guys... guy today, they don't want to be there any more. They see it as just an un-winnable war and they want to move on to Yemen and Somalia.

Jeremy Scahill followed up by talking about the sheer amount of suffering and poverty that is going on with the Afgan population right now who are caught between all of these opposing forces.

I know a lot of people on the left felt like our invasion of Afghanistan was somehow justified after the attacks on 9-11, but I've never been one of them. I wasn't blogging back then, but at the time never understood the twisted logic that somehow dropping bombs on civilians' heads and invading and occupying another country was somehow going to be a solution to stopping terrorism, rather than just eventually causing more of it.

It's always astounded me that people in the United States can't seem to put themselves into another person's shoes and try to imagine how they'd feel if it was another country that decided to treat us the same way we treat them and what we'd be willing to tolerate if the situation was reversed. Sadly as long as our political class is happy to help those make money off of other people's suffering, we're not going to change our policies where you make ending poverty a priority instead of dropping bombs on poor people's heads as a means to ending terrorism.

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