“[T]he Taliban had granted Osama bin Laden and his terrorist al Qaeda organization a safe refuge. Today, the Taliban has been deposed, al Qaeda is in hiding, and coalition forces continue to hunt down the remnants and holdouts. Coalition forces, including many brave Afghans, have brought America, Afghanistan and the free world its first victory in the war on terror. Afghanistan is no longer a terrorist factory sending thousands of killers into the world… This is hard work. And it wasn't easy work in Afghanistan, by the way. I mean, it seems easy now that we're standing here…but it was hard work. And out of kind of the desperate straits that the Afghan people found themselves is now a welcoming society beginning to grow.” — President George Bush, June 15, 2004

May 24, 2006: U.S. says Taliban strength is growing.
Fighting in rugged southern Afghan mountains killed at least 24 militants and five Afghan forces, while the U.S. military acknowledged Wednesday that the Taliban have grown in “strength and influence” in recent weeks…

Uruzgan was one of three southern provinces where U.S. military spokesman Col. Tom Collins said the insurgents have bolstered their numbers.

"We know for a fact that in recent weeks they have grown in strength and influence in some parts of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan," he told a news conference in Kabul. "There is a hard-core group of Taliban fighters, certainly numbering in the hundreds."
Spreading freedom! Freedom is on the march! Gooooooooooo freedom!

I know the enduring image of Bush’s proclivity to prematurely ejaculate declarations of victory is his standing astride an aircraft carrier with a Mission Accomplished banner blazing behind him, referencing the mission in Iraq. It tends to overshadow, however, his definitive assertions that we “won” in Afghanistan, which is and was patently false, but an essential little morsel of mendacity during the administration’s scheming to move on to their real target. We never finished the job in Afghanistan; Bush shot his Mission Accomplished load there far too soon, too—and now it’s going to be ever harder to really finish what we started, since we’re helplessly, inextricably bogged down another quagmire that was meant to be successfully completed years ago.

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