As feared by some observers, the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan appear to become more haphazard. The timeline also seems to become changeable by the minute. And to hide this schizophrenic campaign, a veil of secrecy has descended around the whole campaign.
With winter and Ramadan fast approaching, and supporting eroding away, the U.S. has precious litte choices left. It is scrambling for some type of a moral victory — the capture of Omar, or bin Laden, or the Northern Alliance takeover of Kabul. Watch out for one of the these three:
Approach of Winter and Ramadan
As winter and Ramadan approach, the spectre of U.S. forces staying on in the area until next year is becoming a reality. U.S. Secretary of Sate, Colin Powell has said that the decision to continue the attaks through Ramadan will be a ‘military, not a diplomatic’ decision. The repercusssions of the attacks, which most Muslims in the world see as an ‘unjust’ attack, continuing into Ramadan is ‘uncharted territory.,’ — anything can happen.
Killing of bin Laden or Mulah Omar
U.S. forces are now saying that Special Forces can kill bin Laden. This is obviously in response to an urgent need to show some progress in the “war on terrorism” apart from bombed-out rubble and civilians killed, injured and displaced.
Northern Alliance support
Reversing its earlier policy, the U.S. is now directly supporting the Norther Alliance, against the wishes of Pakistan. This change is probably due to the meetings between Bush and Putin. This step will sow the seeds of eternal enmity between the various Afghan tribes and further deteriorate the situation.
The U.S. is finding itself reacting to more events than it would like to. To put it bluntly, the shine has come off the U.S. attacks, and teh exit strategy is unclear, maybe quite vague.