Five years have passed since the United States initiated military operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. After the U.S. routed enemy forces and assumed control of the country, there seemed cause for optimism. Of course, since that time things have gone down hill in a hurry. Today, Afghanistan is a country completely out of control: the Karzai government only able to operate inside of the capital (thus Karzai's nickname "the Mayor of Kabul"); opium production at all time highs; a Taliban resurgence in the south; increased attacks against NATO forces the country over; and the list goes on.
The Taliban celebrated the anniversary by announcing that Mullah Omar is alive and well inside Afghanistan. According to sources, he continues to lead the jihad against the the United States. This announcement was accompanied by grim news that two German journalists were murdered while traveling through the northern provinces, and a NATO soldier was killed in the Panjwayi district outside Kandahar.
Not to be left out of the mix, British PM Tony Blair did his best George Bush imitation by noting that continued operations against the Taliban have been "very, very tough." In light of the "toughness" facing British soldiers in Afghanistan, Blair vowed to commit more resources to the struggle. He also used the opportunity to criticize media coverage of British involvement in Afghanistan's descent into chaos. "I think the morale of our troops carrying this out is actually high, but they get fed up - and so does everyone else - when it's all presented in a negative light when actually what they're doing there is of fundamental importance to the country," the prime minister said.
This rhetorical sleight of hand confuses "it's all" (presumably the general situation in Afghanistan) with "what they're doing" (the British military in Afghanistan). To my knowledge, nobody is criticizing the military's service inside the country. Instead, critics attack the failure of coalition leadership to extract Afghanistan from its wretched state, leaving it in danger of collapse.
But at least Blair took the time to comment on the Afghan situation five years on. President Bush has not yet publicly acknowledged today's anniversary one way or another. Indeed, a quick look on the White House website shows that the president has been otherwise occupied: he's been busy christening the USS George H.W. Bush.