Alan Johnston was the BBC representative in Kabul when we visited during the Taliban regime in 1999, He was later held hostage in Palestine for a long period. He has been back to Afghanistan to interview people and has uncovered some interesting points to make, including the following:
"We talked to the former CIA man Michael Scheuer, who headed the unit set up by the agency to track the al-Qaeda leader as he moved across Afghanistan. Mr Scheuer told me of his deep frustration at the Clinton administration's passing up of what he believes was an extraordinary opportunity to kill Bin Laden in the governor's palace in Kandahar one night late in 1998.
And after studying his target very closely for years, Mr Scheuer drew conclusions about Bin Laden's motives that you might not necessarily expect from a CIA man.
"The war that America is fighting now has nothing to do with what any American political leader has been willing to tell the Americans," he said.
"We're fighting people who believe that our foreign policy is an assault on their religion and on the people who believe in that religion. You don't have to agree with that, but you have to be an adult in the sense of understanding what motivates your enemy if you hope to defeat him."
Among our interviewees there was much criticism of the strategy that the West has pursued on all fronts in the aftermath of the ousting of the Taleban.
It was argued that far too little in the way of troops and resources were thrown into the project, and that the Americans too quickly moved on to the Iraq war - imagining that their work was largely done in Afghanistan.
There was criticism too of the West's collaboration with the former warlords who have done so much damage to Afghanistan in the past."
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