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Analysts Examine Security, Rebuilding in Afghanistan

This year has been the most violent in Afghanistan since the Taliban fell, with more than 130 suicide bombings and more than 2,600 dead. Two analysts discuss the security and rebuilding prospects for the country.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Judy Woodruff takes the story from there in a discussion that was taped on Friday.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    For more on all this, we turn to Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani author and journalist based in Lahore. He writes for the International Herald Tribune and the Washington Post. His latest book is "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia."

    And Norine MacDonald is the founder and president of the Senlis Council, an international security and development think-thank. She lives and works in southern Afghanistan.

    Thank you both for being with us. And Norine MacDonald, to you first. You heard what General McNeill told Gwen about the state of the security situation in Afghanistan. Does that square with what you know it to be?

  • NORINE MACDONALD, Afghanistan Analyst:

    Absolutely. What we've seen in the last while in southern Afghanistan is a really dramatic deterioration of the situation. The Taliban now control vast, unchallenged portions of southern Afghanistan, district centers, road networks. In some areas, they have radios, and they have clear control over the opium economy there.

    So we've really seen a situation where we're calling on NATO to double their troops, the NATO countries to double their troops on the ground in southern Afghanistan and, in fact, to start moving into Pakistan to get at the al-Qaida and Taliban bases in Pakistan.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Mr. Rashid, how do you see the security situation in Afghanistan?

  • AHMED RASHID, Journalist-Author:

    I think the security situation has deteriorated enormously. The Taliban this year have adapted different tactics from last year, and that has bamboozled NATO, in a way. We've got far more suicide bombings, roadside bombings, and attempts to capture remote district towns. And some of these have been very successful.

    And I think the main problem that NATO is now facing is that they're not able or they haven't yet devised a way in which how, in the midst of an insurgency, you can carry out development and reconstruction work. The point is that the war is going on, but not sufficient development work is going on. And how do you do this?