The blood-drenched return of Pakistan’s Taliban

The Daily Beast reports: Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, Gen. H. R. McMaster, will be seeing some familiar names and some familiar problems coming across his desk in the next few days, and months, and very likely years. And they’re not good news.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are coming back into view as centers of terror and unrest potentially every bit as dangerous to the United States as the so-called Islamic State that operates in Iraq and Syria. And Afghanistan’s a part of the world where McMaster discovered his hard charging left him with limp results.

In 2010 his mission was to curb corruption in the U.S.-backed Afghan government — graft, bribery, and theft that undermined everything Washington thought it was trying to do. But some of the people that the United States sent out to build the Afghan nation turned out to be just as corrupt as the locals. And McMaster, even though he worked to understand the Afghan culture, sometimes lost patience.

Asked at a teleconference what he thought Afghans saw as an acceptable level of corruption, McMaster shut down the questioner, acting as if the inquiry made no sense at all and was, indeed, completely unacceptable.

Of course, the problem continued. And what we see now confirms what Af/Pak hands have known all along: the corruption is not just about money, it’s about the whole record of the Afghanistan and Pakistan conflict. You can’t trust the governments you support, not when they are talking about money, and much less when they talk about peace or about “victory.” [Continue reading…]

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