In Too Deep With Our Friends from the North

"Any city freed from tyranny is a place of joy," writes Simon Jenkins of the Times of London. "Yesterday the Afghan capital, Kabul, was joyful. Its people lined the streets cheering the demise of their latest oppressors. As the latter fled south, civilized people cried good riddance and wished the Afghans well. Any change must be for the better. Any change is an opportunity." Unfortunately, "I could have written the above paragraph, more or less, in 1996, 1992, 1989, 1973, 1919, 1879, 1841, 1504, 1219 and possibly in 329BC. In each case my optimism would have been misplaced." Jenkins worries that the current situation may be no different, considering that the Northern Alliance is run by "unsavoury characers ... mostly financed by heroin ... the same gangs whose faction-fighting and brutality gave the Taleban their opportunity seven years ago."