On Afghanistan: a quick round-up of views from around the world

February 2, 2010

afghan girlFollowing up on my post earlier this week on fighting over a settlement in Afghanistan, here is a quick round-up of reaction on how this new phase in the Afghan war is being perceived, according to the editorials and op-ed pages from  some of the countries with a stake in the region. Please add more in the comments if you think there are important articles which have been overlooked:

Pakistan:

In this guest column for the BBC, Ahmed Rashid writes that the only way to end the war in Afghanistan is to talk to the Taliban.

Ayesha Siddiqa at Dawn worries about the risk of renewed regional rivalries, especially between Pakistan and India, if the United States pulls out too quickly.

And Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said Pakistan wanted a stable Afghanistan and was willing to help train Afghan security forces in order to achieve this, but did not want the Talibanisation of Afghanistan.

India:

Its op-ed writers have been very quick off the mark to adjust to what they see as a shift towards a settlement that might favour Pakistan in Afghanistan.

Brahma Chellaney sees the new American strategy as one of “Surge, Bribe and Run“.

C. Raja Mohan writes that we are now into Phase Two of the Afghan war which will involve reaching out to the Taliban leadership to find a way out.  India should respond, he says, with a bold initiative to talk to Pakistan to assuage its concerns about Indian intentions in Afghanistan. The best way to do this would be to organise a trilateral summit between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Saudi Arabia:

Karzai goes to Saudi Arabia this week to seek support for his reconciliation efforts with the Taliban

An op-ed in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, owned by a nephew of King Abdullah,  suggests that expectations that Saudi Arabia might be ready to bail the Americans out of their Afghan problem should be treated with caution.

Canada:

Could someone else check this out? I’ve been adjusting my Google news feed to set it to different countries, and whichever country I claim to be in, I’m getting a lot of forthright comment from the Canadians on where we stand right now:

Unhappy ending” -Toronto Star“;  Taliban Talks Dangerous – Calgary Herald. Coming from a small country myself, I’m inclined to think the Canadians have a good measure of what is going on, even as they prepare to get out of  Afghanistan.

In the meantime, there is more to come from the many other stakeholders involved.  Comments and links welcome.

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