When the US declared its intention to overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, there were knowing smiles among those familiar with the US oil industry’s long interest in the region. Two years later, a great deal has changed.
In the two-month period from October 7 to December 7, the Taliban’s world has been turned upside down; from controlling more than 90 percent of Afghanistan’s territory they were forced to surrender their last stronghold of Qandahar to tribal elders on December 7.
The United Nations conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for November 24 in Berlin, has been postponed until November 27 and the venue shifted to Bonn without explanation.
Whether the US-led war on Afghanistan will overthrow the Taliban is a moot point, but it has already caused tremors in Saudi Arabia. Not because the House of Saud is concerned about what happens to the Taliban or the Afghans...
The US has demanded that the Taliban in Afghanistan hand the Saudi mujahid Osama bin Laden over to them fro trial by November 14, or face international sanctions.
If they are not pre-occupied with the length of people’s beards, the Taliban are busy thinking up exotic names for their war-ravaged country.
Nothing in Afghanistan is as certain as uncertainty. This was again demonstrated over the last two months when the Taliban’s fortunes rose and fell dramatically in short order. The situation today stands almost as it was before the eruption of fighting in northern Afghanistan in mid-May.
Following last month’s attempt on the life of Osama bin Laden, the famed Arabian mujahid residing in the mountains of Afghanistan, he moved with his family to Qandahar on April 4.