Soon insurgencies were multiplying, fuelled by drugs, warlords, local resentments, a weak national army and police and a recovering Taliban.
Democracy was supposed to give an answer but President Karzai stole the last election.
Armed forces linked to him have contracts to protect the CIA and to escort isaf fuel convoys.
Isaf cannot afford to let Kandahar go wrong.Last week the general tried to break out of the bubble by striding purposefully from the isaf garrison in rural Kandahar he was visiting, in search of Afghans to question.That bodes ill for September's parliamentary elections.Their praise for the counter-insurgency was gushing.In 2009 they killed the city's chief of police in a shoot-out.Get our daily newsletter, upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks.It's a bubble out there, as for General McChrystal, for all his desire to understand better what Afghans want, he and his advisers have to move around in a security bubble.But once the Taliban and al-Qaeda were on the run, the administration paid mere lip service to building a stable Afghanistan.When World Bank workers attempt to take surveys, they have to memorise the questions and answers, since villagers speaking to strange folk with clipboards are at risk from insurgents.In the city people suffer not from political actors who are too weak but rather those who are too powerful.
They downplay the chief oddity of this one, which is that foreign forces are fighting.
Now America and its friends have what is surely a last chance to put things right.
But even it found last year that the proportion of respondents who feared voting in national elections had risen from 45.Fixated by terrorism, the Bush administration ignored the risks of rising opium output.That must surely be true for most Afghans.But, even so, it is hard to know what they want instead.Today Taliban insurgents again hold sway over much of the Kandahar countryside.But, the allied commanders insist, the counter-insurgency in Kandahar will be less a military offensive than a process designed to reassure, impress and safeguard civilians.The province matters because it is the cultural centre of the Pushtuns, who are Afghanistan's biggest ethnic group.Yet Kandahar highlights the limits, even contradictions, of the new approach.A week in Afghanistan impresses two things upon the visitor.Even in the city, which is controlled by the government, a spate of Taliban killings this year has targeted local leaders.Battle should begin after the leaves have dropped in the vineyards, offering moglie troia torino less cover for insurgents.