IN OTHER WORDS : Desperation

The recent spike of violence in Afghanistan demonstrates that Taliban remnants and their Al Qaeda allies are still capable of assassinating enemies and blowing up worshipers at a mosque. US policymakers should try to keep in perspective the actual threat from the Islamist forces behind the violence. Taliban elements still active in Afghanistan are not leading a popular movement, as illustrated by this point with their gangster-style murder of an eminent cleric, Maulavi Abdullah Fayaz, a week after assembling a grand council of 500 Muslim clerics who declared that the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, could no longer claim the title of leader of the faithful.

If the Fayaz assassination left any question about the marginalised status of the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies in Afghanistan today, Wednesday’s suicide bombing in the eastern Afghan city of Kandahar should have erased all such doubt. The explosion tore bodies apart, killing 20 and mutilating 52. Irrespective of the bomber’s identity, the inhuman brutality of the act defines the perpetrators as nihilists who cannot pretend to either political or religious legitimacy. US must respect the sovereignty of President Karzai’s government, even if that means standing back as he offers amnesty to Taliban fighters willing to switch sides. — The Boston Globe