Afghanistan: chaos central

Chris Sands

, by Le Monde diplomatique

A correspondent looks back at the deterioration across the country over the past three years: the resurgence of both the Taliban and the old corrupt elites, the failure of the occupation forces, and the worsening conditions of life for everybody else.

As the summer of 2005 faded, everyone in Kabul had forgotten there was a war on. American soldiers bought carpets in Chicken Street bazaar; mercenaries downed vodka in restaurants before wandering upstairs to sleep with Chinese prostitutes. The brothels were in the same neighbourhoods as the mansions that militia commanders were building themselves with CIA funds and drug money. Back then, this city was ideal for post-conflict profiteering. Hastily created NGOs continued to flood in, so did journalists eager to write about the local golf course and the suave president. Victory had been declared. But the Taliban knew their time was coming again. The warning signs were around for anyone who cared to look.Read more