While our happily Smiling Assassin is mulling the US request for SAS troops in Afghanistan it might pay to realise that the Taliban are part of a 30 million strong Pashtun population and that there are only between 30.000 and 60.000 (Full surge numbers) Foreign troops in Afghanistan. Not good odds ladies and gentlemen, not good odds at all.
Hamid Karzai, who played host to the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, in Kabul two days ago, will have been delighted to hear the Prime Minister confirm the long-standing Afghan belief that there can be no long-term success against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan so long as they base themselves in Pakistan.
Afghan leaders blame the Taliban resurgence since 2006 on support from the ISI, Pakistan’s military intelligence, and the use of base areas in Pakistan to regroup, train, and receive weapons and supplies. But Afghans wonder if the US, Britain or their allies are really prepared to do anything effective about Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, which has been obvious since the 1990s.