Rasmussen, Sune Engel: Afghanistan legacy

Rasmussen, Sune Engel

All that remains: our questionable legacy in Afghanistan‘, Sydney Morning Herald ‘Good Weekend’, 4 July 2015

Article by a Kabul-based Danish journalist, which notes the growing strength of the Taliban since Australia left Oruzgan province. On the other hand, day-to-day security has improved as local forces do not patrol as often as foreign forces did, stirring up less opposition.

While Tarin Kowt may be reasonably safe, the situation in the rest of the province is radically different. According to a Western security analyst in Kabul, the number of “security incidents” in Oruzgan rose by 90 per cent in the first year after the Australians left … Last year was the bloodiest on record for Afghans nationally since the war began: at least 3700 civilians were killed by fighting and about 5000 troops, more than the total number of foreign soldiers killed during the entire war.

The current Australian Ambassador argues that Oruzgan is safer now than when the Australians first went there but it is not safe enough for Australian diplomats to visit. Australian figures about girls’ access to education and the population’s access to health care are difficult to verify. An Australian-built school is crumbling, other foreign development projects have been sabotaged and corruption is rife. The local Afghan commander says that problems in Tarin Kowt are about five per cent solved and is sceptical at the idea that the Australian mission there was accomplished.

The article also discusses the pros and cons of Australian strategies for dealing with local warlords. Rasmussen’s article may be compared with the remarks of the prime minister to troops returning from Afghanistan. A report from 2016 on continuing problems in Uruzgan.



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