Friday, April 09, 2004

While Iraq boils, what's going on in that other shining example of Bush nation-building?

KABUL, Afghanistan — More than 600 fighters loyal to powerful Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum seized control of the northern provincial capital of Maymana on Thursday, forcing the U.S.-backed governor to flee, Afghan Interior Minister Ali Jalali said.


The clash demonstrates how difficult it is for Afghanistan's central government to curb the power of the warlords, who have been accused of reaping billions of dollars through extortion and the heroin trade.

It also raises the question of whether Afghanistan's national elections, scheduled for September, will be free of violence and intimidation.

The Taliban is active in the south and east, while in the north and west the warlords are still uppity, in no small part because most of the US troops left in the country are on the Pakistani border looking for Osama. If they take a cue from the co-operation of the Sunni and Sh'ia in Iraq, the interim government in Kabul is probably toast.

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