Analysis: Konduz delenda est.
Konduz must be destroyed. Kandahar, too.
If we are involved in Afghanistan to destroy Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and the bulk of al-Qaeda is trapped in those two cities, the two cities must be destroyed. Either that or the al-Qaeda can surrender and take their chances with the Afghans. Surrender under terms -- the terms including safe conduct for the Arab, Chechen, and sundry other thugs and murderers making up Osama's praetorian guard -- would be a renunciation of our stated objectives.
That also brings up the question: safe conduct where? The Pakistanis are no doubt hoping to return to Pakland and blend into the Pashtun countryside, awaiting the next big jihad, either in Afghanistan or Kashmir. But they are what might be called Second Tier gunmen, blood-curdling in their rhetoric, not so hot when it comes to live rounds coming close to them. It is conceivable that an agreement could be reached if it involved their internment under third-party supervision. The Pakistani government would, however, be unlikely to agree to this, given considerations of national pride.
Russia certainly doesn't want her Chechens back. Dagestan is running short on space for graveyards. There's a housing shortage in Russia proper and she can't afford to have too many more apartment buildings blown up. The Arab countries seem to have written off their contribution to the late festivities, so there's really no place for the Arab killers to go, either.
Perhaps they could all surrender to the USA. We could set up internment camps like we had in WWII, perhaps in ANWR if the caribou don't mind. Mr Bush has already set up the machinery for military tribunals, so we could sort through the catchings at our liesure. We could put the worst down like dogs, to the accompaniment of candle-light vigils by Danny Glover, and we could jail the rest for periods up to and including eternity. This would give Alan Dershowitz something to do: contesting the legal validity of the tribunals while indulging any torture to which the inmates might be subjected.
The al-Qaeda could also, when they're done executing civilians and fellow Taliban-leaning fighters around them, surrender to the Northern Alliance. When not squabbling among themselves the United Front might set up internment camps just like we could, though perhaps a bit more spartan of aspect. They have learned judges and probably even a few pet weasels like Prof. Dershowitz, who could take the side of the killers against their own. And the United Front would be just as capable of hanging the worst of the lot and incarcerating the remainder as we would. They would hang a few more than we, but probably not all of them; just the lucky ones.
Those appear to be the available options. No one else has a valid interest in the problem. And the solutions imply that either the USA or the United Front government wants to do it. For us, we've just spent a lot of money mounting a major military operation in Afghanistan and our economy isn't feeling too hot. We really should be economizing, so we don't want to do it. The United Front is still of shaky legitimacy and compared to the USA they've always been broke. So they can't afford it. Besides, either of us spending the money would imply we're remotely interested in what happens to five or six thousand blood-thirsty killers.
Konduz delenda est. Kandahr, too.