While President George W. Bush meets with the Iraq Study Group about how to un-fubar a mess of his own making, things are getting even worse in Afghanistan, where 9/11 was planned:
Insurgent activity in Afghanistan has risen fourfold this year, and militants now launch more than 600 attacks a month, a rising wave of violence that has resulted in 3,700 deaths in 2006, a bleak new report released Sunday found.
This is what happens when the proverbial eye is taken off of the proverbial ball.
Meanwhile, in the volatile border area near Pakistan, more than 20 Taliban militants — and possibly as many as 60 — were killed during several days of clashes, officials said Sunday.
The new report said insurgents were launching more than 600 attacks a month as of the end of September, up from 300 a month at the end of March this year. The violence has killed more than 3,700 people this year, it said.
It sure seems like Afghanistan is where Bush's "anti-terror" focus should have been, instead of pulling punches while focusing all of his attention on Iraq.
Maybe the Taliban should be told that they've been sidelined in the "front lines on terror." After all, Iraq holds that title, according to President Bush — presumably for all its civil-war violence between different Iraqi factions.
Then again, when it comes to threats against the rest of the world, Iraq doesn't seem to be very relevant at all. The Asia Pacific Economic Conference forum is focused on domestic terror. And in England, MI5 has identified 30 terror plots against Britain:
Muslim extremists are planning at least 30 major terrorist attacks in Britain, according to MI5. The head of Britain's internal the security service, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, says some of the plots might involve chemical or nuclear materials.
Some of the potential attacks may involve young British Muslims who are being groomed to become suicide bombers, Manningham-Buller said.
MI5 agents are watching 1,500 suspects, most of them British-born and with links to Pakistan.
[NPR audio link]
Will more American soldiers and Marines dying in Iraq really help? Or is the real front line on terror not in some dusty, broken country reeling from decades of dictatorship, but rather in the police work done in cities and countries all over the world?