Another token force of Polish troops gets mixed up in the ‘war on terror’ and the hunt for Mr. Bad Guy No. 1.
The UK Herald reports:
‘UP to 400 elite British, American, Australian, Polish and Canadian special forces troopers are to be transferred from Iraq to Afghanistan to step up the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man.‘
But because of Poland’s severely limited defense budget resources, the number of ordinary troops that Poland planned to commit to ‘stabalizing’ Afghanistan has been reduced from 1000 to 500.
Currently, Poland has just 100 troops stationed there.
Condoleeza Rice said to foreign minister, Anna Fotyga, during her recent trip to the US:
‘The United States was a friend to Poland in difficult times. Poland has been an inspiration to Americans in difficult times and now in good times. And I thank you very much, Foreign Minister, for the good discussion that we have had, of the support to the new Iraqi Government and I thank you for your government's steadfastness in Iraq, your work in Afghanistan.’
Fotyga said she was delighted to see Condi, too:
‘Poland is a faithful ally to the United States and we intend to remain. So it was my pleasure to meet Dr. Rice once more and to invite her to visit Warsaw. It will be my pleasure further to discuss all issues already mentioned today.’
Nice. Sounds like they are getting on like a humbie on fire.
But the Afghanistan where the albeit token force of 500 Poles will be going to is one where the American led attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda has failed. Conditions for ordinary Afghanis have got little better, women are still suffering from the oppressive culture - Taliban or no Taliban.
This will be a much more dangerous mission than the one the Poles got involved in, in the quiet area of central Iraq near Babylon after the invasion to oust Saddam.
David Dastych, a 64 year old journalist and former intelligence operative based in Poland, reported in May that the Taliban are back in control of much of the south of the country, where the Polish troops will be stationed.
These claims have been proved right by the audio taped statement by the one-eyed leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, released yesterday.
The Taliban leader, still on the run from 'the coalition of the willing', claimed for the first time since 9/11 that a large area of Afghanistan, including a lot of the mountain areas in the south, is still under the control of the Taliban.
The truth is that Afghanistan has never been under the control of the Americans or Kabul. Afghanistan is not a country with a central, controlling capital anyway. It never has been since the British got kicked out a century ago. In a way, Afghanistan is not a nation at all, but a collection of ethnic groups and areas under the control of warlords.
If the special services guys from the US, Poland and elsewhere do finally get Bin Laden then it will be a PR coup like no other, but it will be a meaningless one. Unstable areas like Afghanistan cannot be reconstructed by occupying forces. In fact, occupying forces are often part of the problem, not the solution.
So why is Poland spending scarce resources on what is a glorified PR exercise to make US leaders appear more credible at home, with a mid-term election just round the corner?