May 30, 2007

'Germans Will Have to Go on the Offensive'

An excerpt from an interview with best-selling Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid who discusses the recent Taliban attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan and the elusive prospects of lasting peace in the Hinda Kush, via Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Rashid, was the recent suicide attack against German troops in Kunduz (more...) the start of a new series of attacks in the north of Afghanistan?

Rashid: The Taliban are increasingly playing a political game with European members of NATO that are not on the front line. We saw how brilliantly the Taliban manipulated a government in the case of Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo. And I think we will see a stepping up of attacks against all of these countries that have strong domestic opposition to the deployment in Afghanistan.

SPIEGEL: Up until now, the Germans have beleived their their plan for reconstruction, which puts them closer to the people, is working better than the strategies of the Americans and British. Were the Germans just naïve?

Rashid: I think the whole concept of NATO countries carrying out construction while trying to avoid fighting is now a thing of the past. No matter what the policies may be of individual countries, all are at the war's frontline. And in order to prevent other suicide attacks, the Germans will have to go on the offensive to root out Taliban groups in Kunduz.