The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are expanding their nearly eight-year war in Afghanistan both in scope, with deadly drone missile attacks inside Pakistan, and in intensity, with daily reports of more NATO states' troops slated for deployment and calls for as many as 45,000 American troops in addition to the 68,000 already in the nation and scheduled to be there shortly.
The NATO bombing in Kunduz province on September 4 may well prove to be the worst atrocity yet perpetrated by Western forces against Afghan civilians and close to 20 U.S and NATO troops have been killed so far this month, with over 300 dead this year compared to 294 for all of 2008.
The scale and gravity of the conflict can no longer be denied even by Western media and government officials and the war in South Asia occupies the center stage of world attention for the first time in almost eight years.
The various rationales used by Washington and Brussels to launch, to continue and to escalate the war -- short-lived and successive, forgotten and reinvented, transparently insincere and frequently mutually exclusive -- have been exposed as fraudulent and none of the identified objectives have been achieved or are likely ever to be so.
Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar have not been captured or killed. The Taliban is stronger than at any time since their overthrow eight years ago last month, even -- though the name Taliban seems to mean fairly much whatever the West intends it to at any given moment -- gaining hitherto unimagined control over the country's northern provinces.
Opium cultivation and exports, virtually non-existent at the time of the 2001 invasion, are now at record levels, with Afghanistan the world's largest narcotics producer and exporter.
The Afghan-Pakistani border has not been secured and NATO supply convoys are regularly seized and set on fire on the Pakistani side. Pakistani military offensives have killed hundreds if not thousands on the other side of the border and have displaced over two million civilians in the Swat District and adjoining areas of the North-West Frontier Province.
Yet far from acknowledging that the war, America's longest since the debacle in Vietnam and NATO's first ground war and first conflict in Asia, has been a signal failure, U.S. and NATO leaders are clamoring for more troops in addition to the 100,000 already on the ground in Afghanistan and are preparing the public in the fifty nations contributing to that number for a war that will last decades. And still without the guarantee of a successful resolution.
But the West's South Asian war is a fiasco only if judged by what Washington and Brussels have claimed their objectives were and are. Viewed from a broader geopolitical and strategic military perspective matters may be otherwise.