Why did things go so badly wrong? Most reasons come back to a lack of interest and courage at crucial moments. Perhaps the biggest error was the political decision to expand the international security force from Kabul through the relatively calm north and west first, leaving the crucial south east to rot for nearly five years. In late 2003 I interviewed starving peasants in a ward of Kandahar hospital. That there was still famine two years after Afghanistan had been invaded by the world's richest superpower was not just a disgrace, but plain dumb.-- from No hope of victory soon in Afghanistan by Jason Burke, who says what is needed is "decades of expensive political, economic and military effort, without much to look forward to at the end". But that "with a bit of luck, in a generation or so, Afghanistan might just be as stable and developed as its neighbours".