The War in Afghanistan

Sydney The Sydney Morning Herald (centrist), Nov. 14: Even before the fall of Kabul it was clear that an international peacekeeping force was urgently needed to hold open the possibility of forming an acceptable representative coalition in Kabul. Ideally, peacekeepers from Muslim nations should form a temporary administration under the U.N. But that now seems only a distant possibility. It has been left behind in the rush by the Northern Alliance to Kabul, as has, it seems, the almost forgotten primary object of the war—the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Rio de Janeiro Jornal do Brasil (conservative), Nov. 7: A drawn-out war was exactly what George W. Bush did not intend when he authorized the attacks of Oct. 7 [in Afghanistan]. When he decided to retaliate against the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden, he was thinking of a campaign in the style of the Gulf War: fast, technological, and popular.

Colombo The Island (independent), Oct. 22:
The message from the world leaders is that the war against terrorism is a collective undertaking directed at all terrorists and would be executed patiently over a long and sustained period. The initial focus is on Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network. In the meantime, collective action is to be taken to counteract the activities of other terrorist groups the world over. While this prioritization is vital...there is concern that America would make a distinction between those who committed acts of terrorism against America..and those who do not focus on America.

London Al-Sharq al-Awsat (Saudi-owned), Oct. 12: It has been said...that truth is the first victim of war....It is also true that information represents the most important component of war. And especially during a time such as today, governments that are normally supervised by the “watch-dog” status of the media should not be given hegemonic control over information....Now, with the actual fate of Afghanistan in question, press freedoms are important to show all viewpoints.

Beijing China Daily (state-run), Nov. 2: Recently, the Upper House of Japan’s Parliament gave a final nod to a controversial bill that enables Japan to dispatch military forces and vessels to provide rearguard logistical support to the U.S. army in the antiterrorism war. Japan’s willingness to contribute to the anti-terrorism war is positive since terrorism is posing a serious threat to all human beings. But its enlarged role in the military field has hit a nerve with the consideration of its history of aggression. Despite the loudly trumpeted pledge to contribute to anti-terrorism, the motivations “behind the scene” for passing the bill should not be neglected.
—Zhang Xia

Dar es Salaam
Rai (Swahili-language weekly), Oct. 25-31:
The U.S.-led attacks have run concurrently with concerted diplomatic efforts to whip up support for the war against terrorism. For President Bush, it has been like being born again.

Dubai Khaleej Times (independent, English-language), Nov. 7: The intensity of bombing in Afghanistan is a...pointer that the U.S.-led alliance lacks a clear strategy to deal with the issue of terrorism....Osama is no longer the main target, but [rather] Taliban leaders, who have resisted every effort to bribe them into abandoning their supreme leader Mullah Omar and to raise the banner of revolt.

Havana Juventud Rebelde (communist youth), Nov. 9: The systematic carpet bombing of the Taliban positions that defend the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and the capital Kabul—including explosions powerful enough to kill everything within square kilometers and resembling tactical nuclear arms in their destructive potential—are little more than battering rams so that the incompetent forces of the Northern Alliance can take these cities, kick the Taliban out of power, and thus deliver a victory that will satisfy the expectations of U.S. public opinion.

Karachi Dawn (centrist), Nov. 6: The round-the-clock bombing of Afghan cities by the Anglo-U.S. warplanes, and the admission by the U.S. defense secretary and British prime minister that it was almost impossible to capture Osama bin Laden or to occupy Kandahar should bring home to Washington the bitter truth that there was no instant military solution to the complex political problems in Afghanistan. It was perhaps owing to this realization that diplomatic initiatives have been made in Islamabad with a view to forging a broad-based coalition of all persuasions in that embattled country.

Accra Statesman (independent liberal weekly), Oct. 30: Conventional military action is not the answer to this 21st-century menace to civilization. The killers who boarded those planes on Sept. 11, like the senders of the anthraxgrams, were not in Afghanistan at all. This new enemy does not wear [a] uniform and belongs to no state, but he can bring a superpower to its knees. To try and defeat him with B52s and cruise missiles is as ludicrous as confronting tanks with bows and arrows. The conditions that breed terrorism will have to be transformed.

Stockholm Dagens Nyheter (liberal), Nov. 5: The debaters, who as a rule were wrong about both communism and the Gulf War, are again complaining about the United States in the European media. At the same time, Bin Laden’s people are secretly mulling over completely different scenarios. After Sept. 11, the thoughtless people in the West still refuse to comprehend that the creativity of these mass murderers is much greater than their own.
Per Ahlmark