the key players in Pakistan on whom the US is relying to eradicate Taliban extremists are the very individuals who created the Taliban. By supporting President General Pervez Musharraf in his power grab in 1999 in a coup under the pretext of replacing a "fundamentalist" with a "moderate", Washington did manage to buy off a small section of the Pakistani army personnel. These switched from being pro-Taliban to become pro-American. Needless to say, Musharraf is one of them. Since then, Washington has dumped money on Pakistan, looked away from its enriched uranium-for-missile deal with North Korea, and suppressed information about the on-going support to the Taliban and al-Qaeda militia by a section of the Pakistan army and the ISI....
The US provides [Karzai] an inner core of bodyguards, and he remains as distant from the Afghans as he was the day he was sworn in. Meanwhile, Americans are out there "fixing" things.
One of the things that the Americans "fixed" is drug production. During the Taliban days, opium production had reached a peak of 5,000-plus tons. In 2001, with the warehouses filled to the ceiling with raw opium, the Taliban wanted to show how "good" they were, and stopped poppy cultivation in the territories they controlled - about 95 percent of the country. The opium price soared, and the Taliban regime and its Pakistani benefactors made huge profits. At the same time, the Taliban, citing their efforts to end the venal drug trade, sought recognition as the legitimate Afghan government.
Following the American invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and subsequent removal of the Taliban from power, competing agencies within the US government set about to prove their worth (with some individuals intensely involved in lining their pockets with the drug money) by adopting policies to "short-cut" the process of Afghan reconstruction. One of these short-cuts involved a deal with the warlords. The deal was to allow the warlords to grow poppy, so that these warlords could buy arms and recruit militia to strengthen their ranks. In return, they would not only provide the Americans with the intelligence on where the al-Qaeda and the Taliban are hiding, but would also provide the Americans with fighters.
What came of this approach? The first thing that happened is that poppy fields and the poppy growers took over Afghanistan. In the year 2002, about 3,750 tons of opium was harvested. In cold cash, this translates conservatively into anything between US$5-6 billion for the warlords.
The second thing that the policy did was further weaken Karzai, who was running from pillar to post to get some cash to show some "improvement" in living conditions in Kabul to justify his and the Americans' presence, and he was deprived of revenue. The warlords claimed - and the American operatives endorsed their claims - that they needed the money to bolster their anti-Taliban militia and help the Americans find al-Qaeda members. As a result, the Afghan warlords, who were virtually eliminated by the Taliban, are now stronger than ever. In a few more years, these warlords will be strong enough to kick out their American benefactors and American puppets.
As if these developments do not portend a bad enough future for the immediate region, Washington felt compelled to introduce another. By pressurizing the Pakistan army to comb the border areas to ferret out the al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Americans have given Pakistani troops a free hand to occupy Afghan territory and maintain control of the Taliban and al-Qaeda operations.