First Helmand, Then Afghanistan
A trip through the country’s beleaguered south reveals demoralized soldiers, corrupt local officials, and sweeping Taliban gains in previously peaceful towns. How did Obama’s “good war” go so wrong?
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan — Abdul Hakim seems to have just vanished. The 15-year-old boy left his madrasa across the Pakistani border to visit relatives in Afghanistan. But since crossing into Helmand province on his way to meet his parents in Bolan, a suburb of bustling shops outside the provincial capital, nobody has heard from him.
The list of evils that could have befallen Abdul Hakim on his way home is long. In late July, the Taliban launched a series of attacks in Helmand and have since gobbled up territory across Afghanistan’s beleaguered southern province. Districts that for years were safe have now been seized by militants or are being ravaged in front-line fighting. Roaring airplanes, Afghan and American, drop bombs almost every night, causing casualties that are rarely publicized.
“There is no security. Our children are being killed,” says Habibullah, an elder from Abdul Hakim’s family.
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WNU Editor: A sobering analysis on why the Afghan government and its allies are losing the war in Afghanistan.