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by Dominique Bari


Translated Tuesday 9 February 2010, by Leslie Thatcher (www.truthout.org) and reviewed by Henry Crapo

"We’ve been forgotten. Women no longer constitute a priority for our government or for the international community," Shinkai Karokhail, one of the few women members of the Afghan Parliament, confided in December. Worse than forgotten, Afghan women today are once again trampled upon, sacrificed. "It’s a return to the leaden years," protests Shoukria Haïdar, president of the Negar Association-Support for Afghan women, on her way through Paris last week, in reference to the five years of the 1996-2001 Islamic Regime under the strict authority of Mullah Omar. Five years after having driven him from power, Westerners, with Americans in the lead, are courting him - Mullah Omar and his friends - in the name of "national reconciliation." Go figure!

The international conference held in London on Thursday ratified this new plan, which Hamid Karzai explained at some length without causing any stir. Washington set the tone. Barack Obama’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as well as his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made it known that as far as they were concerned the Taliban are part of the "political landscape" in Afghanistan and ought to be included in the government. The conclusion was given before the discussion, so the dialog between the parties must be well-advanced. Meetings with active Taliban members took place on January 8 in Dubai. The subsequent denials haven’t fooled anyone. The Taliban are socially acceptable once again in the eyes of Washington. As they were when they were installed in Kabul, courted by the United States, which saw them as favored partners to bring the ambitions of oil services company Unocal to the desired conclusion [1], with a certain Karzai, employee of the firm, acting as intermediary with the Kabul mullahs. A return to "Go."

Then there’s the other component of Barack Obama’s program, an accelerated military surge in Afghanistan involving a greater commitment from NATO allies, to the great displeasure of the mass of public opinion in the countries that have been enlisted. In France, according to an Ifop-l’Humanité poll, 80 percent of those questioned are opposed to these reinforcements. Nicolas Sarkozy’s convoluted statements on the issue amused Hillary Clinton, who was at the Élysée on Friday. "Not one more French combatant in Afghanistan," proclaims the president, who replaces the term "soldiers" with "trainers." No one is fooled.

But if Washington has come to a policy of outreach towards the enemy, why then the ferocious energy devoted to convincing Atlantic Alliance members to send reinforcements? Is only Afghanistan in play or is the will to reimpose the hyperpower global leadership contested by ever more countries, also? In her speech at the École militaire, Hillary Clinton recalled the great values that "unite" the West and NATO’s untouchable role in this solidarity of powers. In asserting their unity, NATO member states make themselves complicit in all these compromises. And their cohesion in the eyes of Washington is a gage for the future of Pax Americana.


[1The construction of a gas pipeline across Afghanistan

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