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� Frontline getting closer to Kabul, says thinktank
� Aid not going to those who need it most, warns
Thursday November 22, 2007
The has a permanent presence in 54% of and the country is in serious danger of falling into hands, according to a report by an independent thinktank with long experience in the area.
Despite tens of thousands of Nato-led troops and billions of dollars in aid poured into the country, the insurgents, driven out by the American invasion in 2001, now control "vast swaths of unchallenged territory, including rural areas, some district centres, and important road arteries", the Senlis Council says in a report released yesterday.
On the basis of what it calls exclusive research, it warns that the insurgency is also exercising a "significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change".
It says the territory controlled by the has increased and the frontline is getting closer to Kabul - a warning echoed by the UN which says more and more of the country is becoming a "no go" area for western aid and development workers.
The council goes as far as to state: "It is a sad indictment of the current state of that the question now appears to be not if the will return to , but when ... and in what form. The oft-stated aim of reaching the city in 2008 appears more viable than ever and it is incumbent upon the international community to implement a new strategic paradigm before time runs out."
Its 110-page report coincides with an equally severe warning from . In a report for the House of Commons International Development Committee the humanitarian and aid agency warns that the security situation in is deteriorating significantly with the country's problems exacerbated by corruption in central and local government.
Senior British and US military commanders privately agree despite their public emphasis on short-term successes against Taliban fighters.
The insurgency is divided into a largely poverty-driven "grassroots" component and a concentrated group of "hard-core militant Islamists", says the Senlis Council, which has an office in and field researchers based in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.
It says that the Nato-led International Security Force of some 40,000 troops should be at least doubled and include forces from Muslim countries as well as Nato states which have refused to send troops to the country.
There is no sign of any move within to send reinforcements to .
While western governments, like the Senlis Council and , are increasingly concerned about the lack of effectiveness of President 's government, there is no agreement about how to solve the problems.
warns that urgent action is needed to avert humanitarian disaster in where millions face "severe hardship comparable with sub-Saharan Africa". Though the country has received more than $15bn (�7.5bn) in aid since 2001, the money is not getting to projects which could lead to sustained improvements in people's lives, says .
It adds that at least 1,200 civilians have been killed so far this year, half in operations by international or Afghan forces. It notes there are four times as many air strikes by international forces in than in .
The Senlis Council wants Nato forces, and their Provincial Reconstruction Teams, to take on a bigger role distributing aid and says the military should stick to providing security.
More than half of 'under '
By Kim Sengupta
22 November 2007
More than half of is back under control and the Nato force in the country needs to be doubled in size to cope with the resurgent group, a report by the Senlis Council think-tank says. A study by the group found that the , enriched by illicit profits from the country's record poppy harvest, had formed de-facto governments in swathes of the southern Pashtun belt.
The Afghan government and its Nato allies strongly deny the Senlis version of what is taking place in the country and say the extent of alleged control � 54 per cent � is a major exaggeration. In particular, British troops in Helmand have, in recent months, recovered territory lost to the Islamist group.
But senior defence sources say that a lack of frontline combat forces has meant that areas clawed back from the often cannot be held and have to be retaken after costly and fierce fighting. There is also an acknowledgement that the dangers on the ground have meant that aid efforts are being stymied.
The Senlis Council made a name for itself by advocating that Afghan opium, which supplies 93 per cent of the world market, should be regulated and produced for medicinal purposes. The organisation had been regarded in the past as very much a fringe body with unrealistic policies.
But it has recently begun to hold seminars with influential think-tanks such as the International institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which are attended by senior diplomats and military commanders. Last month, the European Parliament passed a motion urging the production of opium for medicine on an experimental basis by a sizeable majority.
Yesterday's Senlis dossier coincided with an report saying that is facing a humanitarian crisis in which millions face "severe hardship comparable with sub-Saharan Africa". It highlights the fact that US spending on aid in the country, $4.4bn since 2002, was only a fraction of its military expenditure of $35bn in 2007 alone.
"As in , too much aid is absorbed by profits of companies and subcontractors, on non-Afghan resources and on high expatriate salaries and living costs," said the report. "Each full-time expatriate consultant costs up to half a million dollars a year."
Meanwhile, Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said civilian casualties caused by military action has reached "alarming levels" this year. "These not only breach international law but are eroding support among the Afghan community for the government and international military presence, as well as public support in contributing states for continued engagement in , " she said.
The Senlis report, while accepting that "collateral damage"' has led to alienation among the population, maintains that the Nato force needs to be doubled in size, from 40,000 to 80,000, and some contributing nations should remove caveats which prevent their troops from taking part in frontline duties. It also urged to invite Muslim countries to contribute to the Afghan force.
Norine MacDonald QC, the president of the Senlis Council, said: "The security situation has reached crisis proportions. The insurgency now controls vast swathes of unchallenged territory including rural areas, border areas, some district centres, and important road arteries.
"The disturbing conclusion is that despite a universal desire to 'succeed' in , the country is in grave danger of becoming a divided state. The are the de facto authority in significant portions of territory in the south. Exploiting public frustration over poverty and inflammatory US-led counter narcotics policies, the are gaining increasing political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people."
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."
Ini adalah salah satu dari berbagai riwayat Imam Bukhari.
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