Afghan war reaches a tipping point


M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times
September 9, 2009

[efoods]The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) handed down to the Taliban a big political victory as a result of the air strikes in the northern province of Kunduz on Friday, which left over 100 people dead and injured. The Taliban propaganda portrayed the incident as “an intentional massacre”.

However, the political impact is felt on several planes. These include, first and foremost, the sense of shock in Germany, where well over two-thirds of people already favor a withdrawal of the 4,500-strong German contingent from Afghanistan. Given the burden of history that Germany is fated to carry, the mere suggestion of the Bundeswehr having committed a war crime abroad becomes a sensitive issue. The political class in Berlin will keenly watch how the groundswell of public opinion pans out in the federal election due on September 27.

Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Sunday that the international community needed to “apply pressure [on Kabul] in order to find a way to get the Afghans to appreciate that they have to take responsibility step by step … so that the international engagement can be reduced”.

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