Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

The struggle for Afghanistan’s future.

By Julie Bishop - posted Thursday, 20 September 2012

During a visit to Afghanistan in 2009, I was told that a captured Taliban insurgent had pointed to the wristwatch of one of the soldiers and declared, “You have the watches but we have the time.”

With combat troops from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, this anecdote reveals the urgency around strengthening the institutions of the government so that it can survive against extremists.

This looming deadline puts the conflict in Afghanistan at a critical juncture as the Taliban increases its attacks by ramping up its guerrilla warfare tactics.


A tragic consequence has been the killing of international troops, including Australians, by Afghan soldiers and police undergoing training and with whom they are conducting joint operations.

This ruthless tactic has the obvious short-term goal of destroying the relationship between international forces and the Afghan army and police, thus reducing the effectiveness of the partnership aligned against the Taliban.

It is also aimed at reducing the effectiveness of training so that the Afghan military has less capacity than if full training and cooperation were maintained.

The longer-term goal of the extremists is to infiltrate the institutions of the Afghan government with a view to taking control after the withdrawal of international forces.

It is clear the Taliban believe this tactic can deliver a return to control of the nation, as the so-called "green on blue" attacks have increased rapidly over the past two years.

The Long War Journal estimates that these green on blue attacks have accounted for 15 per cent of all international casualties in Afghanistan this year, up from 2 per cent in 2010.


There were six such attacks reported in 2010, with 15 in 2011 increasing to 59 to date in 2012.

NATO has reacted with a suspension on joint operations with Afghan military personnel until all troops have been vetted for links to the Taliban and other groups such as the Haqqani network.

While this appears to provide the Taliban with an advantage of sorts, it should prove short term as the vetting process eliminates or greatly reduces the incident rate.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

16 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Julie Bishop is the Federal Member for Curtin, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Julie Bishop

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Julie Bishop
Article Tools
Comment 16 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy