We do not support the [counter-insurgency] perspective that this constitutes "things getting worse before they get better", but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse.
That's the verdict of a report from the respected think tank the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, which monitors trends in violence in Afghanistan on behalf of aid organisations, as reported in today's Guardian.
The ANSO report also reveals that June brought a record number of Taliban attacks -- up 51 per cent on the previous year to 1,319 operations. Meanwhile, despite Stanley McChrystal's "protect-the-population" counter-insurgency (or "Coin") motto, and the Coinistas' obsession with winning Afghan hearts and minds using not-so-original "population-centric" tactics, the number of civilians killed by both sides in this conflict rose by 23 per cent.
The response from our former man in Kabul, who now speaks on behalf of Nato? From the Guardian article:
On Saturday Mark Sedwill, Nato's ambassador in Kabul, said the increase in violence this year had always been expected and it was a sign that the coalition was "taking the fight to the Taliban".
I wonder if William Hague has clocked yet that his department is filled with fantastists.