And now, into the dead end in Afghanistan

February 27, 2012

When the history of the Afghan war is written, the protests over the burning of copies of the Koran will certainly be defined as a watershed. What remains to be seen is whether they become the moment the United States lost the war, or rather, when America lost patience.

The anger of Afghans is evident, whether it be over the sense of religious insult or the sheer frustration with a war that has gone on too long and yielded too  little.

Less evident, but perceptible and equally important, however, is the American response. “2014 cannot come fast enough,” was one comment on Twitter about the date when the United States and its allies are meant to hand over control of security to Afghan forces.

“It’s reasonable to wonder what we have gotten out of more than a decade of investment-including 1901 US and 2901 total NATO Coalition deaths-in an effort to forge, as President Obama put it in his speech at West Point, a “partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect – to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron,” wrote James Joyner at the Atlantic Council. “Aside from hastening the day when our troops leave, none of those goals seem any closer than they were in 2001.”

Contrast that with the reaction to last September’s assault on the U.S. embassy on Kabul, which was erroneously compared to the Tet offensive, when Vietnamese insurgents attacked the U.S. embassy in Saigon 1968 and convinced the American public that – although the attack was defeated - the war was lost.  Last year, the attack on the embassy in Kabul was blamed on Pakistan.  This year, while that accusation stands, the protests over the burning of the Koran are delivering the more authentic message of the Tet offensive – that wars are lost on the home front of public opinion more often than they are on the battlefield.

Andrew Exum from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) summed it up best in his complaint on Twitter that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had appeared to take sides with the protesters against the Americans. “In a reversal, with each passing day, Karzai needs U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 more than the U.S. does. Does he realize that?” he wrote. “The U.S. has interests in Afghanistan, but surely Karzai sees how they have become less and less important for the U.S. government & public.”

Yet stop for a moment and consider how this jars with U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Along with its allies, the U.S. aim is to build up Afghan security forces to the point where they can hold their own against an insurgency after 2014, with or without a peace deal with the Taliban.  The sequencing in the rather confusing U.S. mantra of “fight, talk and build” requires an ability to project enough power - or at least pretend to do so - that the Taliban might find they have more to gain from negotiating a settlement while U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan than by fighting their way to Kabul in a civil war.

Do also remember that the U.S. strategy, not too long ago described in the “AfPak” five-letter word, was clear that American success in Afghanistan was meant to encourage Pakistan to challenge its own Islamist militants. Yet Pakistan is more fragile than ever. Aside from its many economic and security problems, it is fighting a separatist revolt in Balochistan; its army is driven by a perceived threat from both Afghanistan and India - neither of whom have recognised its borders; and its heartland Punjab province is playing host to  a new and powerful Islamist/jihadi alliance  whose primary slogan is “Go America Go.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. strategy is, and has always been, internally inconsistent. At one level it wants to retain military bases in Afghanistan after 2014, which could be used for drone strikes and other military operations against Pakistan where many of the Islamist militants are based. Yet it needs Pakistani endorsement for a deal with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, whose support is required to bring the rest of the movement on board and who is, despite Pakistani official denials, believed to be living in an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) safe house, most likely in Karachi.

In short, however inconsistent the strategy, it has depended on bluff. And that bluff is weakening.

I am increasingly reminded of the words of one western official speaking last year on Afghanistan: ”We stay we lose, we leave we lose.”  But I am also, troublingly, reminded of something else – the projection of power that the British used in India for 200 years to maintain the rule of the very small minority over the majority.  That legacy left deep scars in South Asia and, with the hurried British departure in 1947, created all the worse pain for its sudden withdrawal. 

But if we were to define the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, it has depended – rightly or wrongly – on a projection of power. In its response to the Koran-burning protests, the United States just turned its two of clubs face upwards on the table. That demands attention.

19 comments

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Enough is enough, get the hell out of Afghanistan, go back home. Live and let live, stay and get killed.US presence in Afghanistan is getting intolerable for that nation, for Pakistan it creates problems too. R.I.P to fallen coalition soldiers, a soldier is a soldier which ever uniform he wears. Let Afghans solve their problems, let the region evolve and come out of its troubles. this should end NOW, a regional conference of Muslim nations should be convened, US/NATO forces withdraw even before 2014 and it ends. Drag the war, and it will be a total disaster.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

This war was lost in 2001 itself. Bad assumptions, bad choice of allies, bad moves, bad strategies and bad approach have led to a complete waste of money and resources.

The US, led by the Republicans approached the Taliban led Afghanistan with a complete macho attitude. They had an entire war history of how the Soviets were made to crumble before them. Yet they assumed the locals to be their allies. Then came the assumption of mighty power of hitech weapons and smart bombs would shock and awe the enemy. At the same time there was no clear definition of who the enemy was – Taliban? Al Qaeda? Terrorism?

They had no idea what they were trying to accomplish in Afghanistan. The attack came from an emotional response to the Twin tower collapse. Not much thought was given to who the enemy was and how the approach would be. As soon as the US dislodged the Taliban, it gave up all the momentum.

Of all countries in the world, it chose Pakistan to be the closest ally in this war. Either it is due to complete gullibility or stupidity, the US allied itself with the real enemy it must have targeted. Pakistan’s military was the real villain behind the whole thing. Instead of thumping this enemy, the US allowed itself to be deceived and double crossed. Pakistani military safely brought back all its military personnel from inside Afghanistan, housed all the Taliban leaders in safe houses, hid key Al Qaeda leaders like Osama Bin Laden and Al Jawahiri, bilked the US out of billions of dollars and let its own country burn in the bargain.

On top of all these, the Bush administration decided to go all out into Iraq with no clear purpose. Once Saddam was eliminated, they found a much bigger problem than they ever imagined. Afghanistan was pushed to the back burner, which helped the Taliban to recuperate and return.

Only when Obama came to power did he realize how far off target the whole mission had been. But Obama ran out of time. Had he been in charge when 9/11 happened, right now no one will be singing the song of defeat. The wolves which are celebrating victory in the region after hiding out inside deep holes all these years will not be howling like they do now.

Obama did the right thing and his actions completely exposed the real villain in the whole thing. Much to its embarrassment, Bin Laden was found living a comfortable life inside one of Pakistan’s military academy towns, taken out and fed to the fish. Time is too short for Obama to do things right. I would never say he lost this war. He came to the party too late. For the limited time he had, he ended the wasteful war in Iraq, helped stem the economic rot at home, helped improve the economy, intensified the efforts into Pakistan and completely shut out the capability of its military.

The Taliban will now have to deal with the double crossing Pakistanis. The US is not going to leave these guys alone for too long. They now realize that the best way to take on these guys is not through direct war. Proxy wars are the best option. Northern Alliance will be revived to counter the Taliban and its Pakistani sponsors. This is something they should have done in 2002 itself. Both Afghans and Pakistanis have made a terrible mistake of taking on the US. They will soon face each other, looking for support again from the US. This is when the divide and rule strategy will come into effect.

Until 2001, it was only Afghanistan that was reduced into rubble. Now the damage will spread into Pakistan as well. Celebrate as much as you want, because the future will be full of sorrow created by wrong choices made by your leaders. Balochistan freedom, Durand line etc will be revived and used to keep Pakistan busy with itself. This war has only begun. Your leaders betrayed a long term ally and benefactor. The US could not accomplish its task in Afghanistan because of the double deals and deceit by Pakistani military. That will not be forgotten easily.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@KPSingh
I sense frustration and anger seeping out from your writing. Now you talking about proxy war and that my friend is another name for terrorism. Take a chill pill and come back then we can discuss something positive about future.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

They come to france and ask, ” Do you speak English” and if the answer is NO, which is the usual response of the self assured and arrogant French, then one hears them saying that the French are peasants and rude, since they did not speak french. Their sun tanned President, as Barlasconi described the coloured man from Illinois, comes to France with his first lady, the self professed christian decides to do their Paris shopping on a sunday,the day reserved for the family and God.

The current President and his clintonian adminstration send as many zionist emissaries as possible to Afghanistan and Pakistan, from General Petros to Holbrook to the new man to sort out the musalmans. Forgetting his predecessor’s experience when he did follow the same strategy in Iraq during early days, and failed and changed personnel.

History tells us that Afghanistan is the cemetry for the empires, as karachi shores are for the world tankers and rotten ships. The USA entered as the only super power of the world and now it as been dowgraded to just a super power. Mr Obama dismissed one of the most competent four star General of the US military, Gen. Macchrystal. He opposed the policy of the President and was of the opinion that theAmerican objective could only be realised with support of the Afghan tribes and not by a surge. The Pashtuns Afghans do not accept a Herr or master above them.

There ae no signs of an all out attack yet. The Talibans are going to choose the timing as they see fit. Pakistan is the only source which could provide a face saving exit, otherwise the vietnam experience may become a a forgotten episode and the fort of Bgram a new adventure for the coming generations.

All what is left of the marines from their modern warfare training to prowl into the houses of Afghans during night, embarrasing old, women and children and if this is not enough, urinate because of incontinence with their shrunk tales between the legs on the dead corps of the enemy. And the enemy, Talibans following their ususual battle techniques, travel hundreds of kilometres distance with their heavy equuipment, usualy carried by mules or in military vhicles, inflicting deadly blows on the foreign occupiers, restricting the ememy to a limited and protected area, call them the cantonments, the term which the Brits use, relying on helicopters to move from one cantonment to another in helicopters and sufficing on the civilian casualties they cause with unmanned kites, with the active involvement of their Ally Pakistan. And now out of desperation the marines follow a front assault on Afghans wealth of the religion and feelings, forgetting the Indian mutiny of 1857 against the Colonial forces when muslims and non muslims were subjected to disgrace. From resistance to the the war of Musalmans against the crusadrs has just begun.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

KPSingh01: “This war was lost in 2001 itself. Bad assumptions, bad choice of allies, bad moves, bad strategies and bad approach have led to a complete waste of money and resources”.
Kp, I don’t think this narrative is so simple. After the 9/11 attacks, it was indeep true that the enraged Americans bombed Afghanistan and gained a quick victory. But the story started from here. In the same year, Iraq under saddam hussein started demanding Euros for its oil for food programme which was under severe santions. The Euro was gaining and Iran too was going the same way. Euro was still to be tested and the world celebrated the incoming of Euro (although it came to naught in 2008 recession) as a liberator of American financial repression and imperialism, lot of countries along with Europe celebrated this. The Americans before the launching of Euro never had to worry about financial resources as Dollar was the world currency and so the world would pay for its adventures. As there is demand for dollar, the primary concern for the Americans was that such demand continue to sustain into the future. China did not join WTO and was still in its infancy as far as economic might was concerned. Eliminating the threat of competetive currency made more sense than avenging 9/11. There was pretty good reasons for Americans to go after Iraq. We now know that Americans spent more resources, financial and intellectual, on building Iraq than Afghanistan, since iraq has oil and any new dispensation that comes will only get paid in dollars.
Americans were able to rebuild Iraq since all other structures that pertain to functioning of state existed. The only problem was with Authoritarian rule which was what was common in this part of the world and they dispensed it with ease. Americans built back basic bureucracy, rebult infrastructure like hospitals and schools (teacher and doctors were still around), rallied non-bathist political groups and anti-saddam leaders, rebuilt basic financial institutions like banks and used carrot and stick policy to build an edifice where by they can create incentives for the political grouping to handle their own state. Iraqis hated Americans but they hated Saddam (and its party equally and rallied behind americans till bath party was eliminated and then started attacking Americans after that. Makes perfect sense right!! :-) ) Its not perfect scenario but far better than Afhanistan where no structures existed for decades. It is interesting to know that before Iraq was stabilized (stable is very very relative term and stable with respect to Afghanistan), Iraq was most voilent state with bombings, suicide attacks (on Americans and Iraqi rebels) and ethnic conflict between majority shias and minority sunnis and thoroughly more voilent and more organized than ragtag army of Afghan insurgents. During these same years, pushtoons who ran after initial attacks
to Pakistan got organized and strength of insurgency picked up.
The obama administration quickly ended its involvement in Iraq and focused on Afghanistan. What they encountered baffled them to an extent that they were unable to find a solution initially. There were no state structures to build a functional state nor there are any intellectual (and literate) mass of population who could be used to create some semblance of normalcy. On top of that, Americans realized that what ever the insurgency the Pakistan has propped up along the durand line was not just for tactical reasons to safeguard Pakistani state but to the horror of Americans, Pakistan had a strategic interests to keep Afghanistan thoroughly under its fold and was far more serious than Americans had ever thought. After the initial attacks anti-taliban groups like Northern alliance,feudal lords quickly rallied around America and killed whatever force of Taliban that was unable to slip away into Pakistan. From here starts the interesting part(contd)

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Matrix: “I sense frustration and anger seeping out from your writing. Now you talking about proxy war and that my friend is another name for terrorism. Take a chill pill and come back then we can discuss something positive about future.”

I am only angry at the villains. I am not against Pakistani people. They too are under the death grip of these villains. I hope democracy thrives in Pakistan and diminishes the power hold of these villains. It is good for Pakistan and for everyone else. You know who I am referring to. They are a residue left behind by the colonial empire of the past. They need to be controlled by a civilian government. My frustration comes from the fact that the US has everything on its hand to bring down this cartel and botched it completely. That’s about it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

sensible patriot: ” Eliminating the threat of competetive currency made more sense than avenging 9/11. There was pretty good reasons for Americans to go after Iraq. We now know that Americans spent more resources, financial and intellectual, on building Iraq than Afghanistan, since iraq has oil and any new dispensation that comes will only get paid in dollars”

I don’t think this was the only factor. It could have been one of the factors. The neo-cons had been plotting to go after Saddam Hussein right from day one. 9/11 became a distraction. I think their enthusiasm stemmed from the influence the Royal Saudi family has on GWB family. Saudis did not want Saddam Hussein hanging around in their vicinity. The US basically did the mercenary work for them. The guys who staged the 9/11 attacks were Arabs as well. The US just bombed the Taliban and declared all was well and under control.

What they should have done in Afghanistan is to bomb the daylights out of the Taliban, driven them out, installed a Northern Alliance backed government in Kabul and stayed outside with destroyer ships and fighters waiting in central asian air bases. The Taliban, their sponsors and rest of the Afghans should have been made to fight each other. If the Taliban and its sponsors gained, the US could have softened them up with cruise missiles, drone strikes and weakened them. Simultaneously they could have pressured the Pak military to tow in line and cause confusion in the Taliban ranks. This way, there would have been no need to take part directly in the war with soldiers on the ground. There would have been no need to install Western style democracy in Afghanistan. In ten years time, these guys would have been begging for mercy because they simplye could not have retaliated the way they wanted. There would have been no one on the ground for them to attack. At some point, a truce would have emerged on its own. That would have been the time to make a long term settlement – those who want to be on their own, get their individual nations and Pashtuns could settle with the bad lands on the South of the region. In addition, they could have been propped up to ignore the Durand line and made the Pak Military come down for negotiations. A lot could have been done, if the strategy was planned right. These guys are like thieves. They hide and stay hiding until one gives up pounding the ground with bullets. Then they come out and celebrate victory without really fighting. The only way to handle thieves is to turn them against each other. And they will fight each other tooth and nail for whatever piece of booty they get. Hope the US has learned that lesson.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@sensiblepatriot
I like your post dated Feb 27, upto the point where you say that Pashtun ran away to Pakistan etc…. . From here onwards you are on the wrong track and it is misleading you. It is not your fault, you need to study thoroughly the history of Pashtuns which today number over fourty million people,most organised in a security structure that no invading army has ever defeated them; the group of Northern Alliance was created by the invading Americans and today the entire Norther Alliance territory is sorrounded and controlled by the Pashtuns. And all this has occured under the nose and watch of the American and NATO forces.

You have explained the relation of dollar with Euro in a simple but professional manner. The current situation is as follows;

.The USA owes over a trillion dollars to China and over a trillion dollars to Saudis.
.China also holds three and a half trillion dollars as a reserve currency. I am not sure about the dollar reserves of India, but for some time now they have been converting their reserves into Gold.
. China must decide this year what their course of action must be? They have already warned the USA to stay within their means, otherwise they are going to bring out their dollars reserve in the open market.

. Saudi Arabia is now engaged with their customers to supply the oil in the future on a barter system instead of against the dollars or even Euros.

Both Russia and China have also developed a new strategy , no longer to give any more space to the west(USA and NATO) for military expansion or adventures outside their territories.

This should tell us that either we are passing through the period nearing to ww3 or in the period where the American power shall be shrunk to their own borders.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Uggh. These are the moments that the rest of us in NATO hate working with Americans. They utterly lack cultural and religious sensitivities. It’s understandable that they wanted to confiscate the Korans (which the prisoners were using to pass notes). But why not get a proper Afghan religious cleric to dispose of them?

You’d think the Americans would have learned about the “strategic corporal” from their Iraq experience.

I don’t think there’s any choice now but to stay the course and make the transition. Whatever dog’s breakfast evolves after 2014, so be it. And after 2014, with NATO out of the region, American and NATO policies can be recalibrated. Pakistan can be dealt with through sheer economic pressure and possibly by upping cooperation with India (realistically most Western relations are heading in this direction anyway). And any sort of Al Qaeda type threat in Afghanistan can simply be dealt with through Special Forces strike and heavy bombardment. Same goes for the badlands of Pakistan. And if Islamabad complains, well, it’s far easier to starve them when you don’t have to worry about your supply lines being cut off.

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive

There are always people who do not get the message. NATO less Americans are the first to make a run for the narrow exit! Only brave ones do not leave the sinking ship; the Captain!

Rex Minor

PS there was a typo error, 2014 should read 2012.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

kpsingh01: “I don’t think this was the only factor. It could have been one of the factors. The neo-cons had been plotting to go after Saddam Hussein right from day one. 9/11 became a distraction. I think their enthusiasm stemmed from the influence the Royal Saudi family has on GWB family”.
KP, It was indeed true that neo-cons in bush administration were plotting to go after Saddam and they went ahead because it also concurred with their interests and not just Saudis. The Saudis were more desperate to undermine Iran (more than Iraq) either through an act or war or financial repression (rallying support for sanctions on Iran). But Americans themselves had a realty check on this and know it would be enoromously difficult to attack and subdue Iran and cannot go just because they have the saudi support and so they chose lesser enemy. so while Saudi influence was enoromous on American foreign policy it wouldn’t override everything else.

I agree with rest of your post on how America should have conducted the war. One must remember that America won the first Afghan war by using local insurgent groups rather than entrenching themselves. Once they brought down American boots on the ground, the war turned into a kind of war of logistics. While Americans had better technology,weapons and financial resources, Afghan insurgents had better hiding places (with Pakistan as their incubator), human intelligence and time on their side.
An insurgency consisting of loose group of organized radicals do not worry about body count which Americans have to worry and are accountable to American senate and answerable to public.
Not surprising that while Pashtoons were trying to win by just managing to not lose the war. While anything close to stalemate was a defeat for the Americans under their first objective of nation building.
In my first post, I have mentioned how it is difficult to build a country with no state structures and the only institution that could take Taliban militarily and idiologically was the Northern Alliance.

Rex, You are wrong here to assume that Northern Alliance was propped up by the Americans, I ask you to read history of Afghan where one realizes that both Ahmad Shah Masood as Tajik rallied different non-pashtoon groups like Tajik,Uzbeks and Hazara shias to build an army to fight Soviets and then took on taliban before he was assassinated. The new afghan army may not have the mettle to take on the Taliban, but Americans failed to sufficiently support Northern Alliance wich could have been a bulwark again resurgent Taliban. Americans unfortunately had their own suspicions on Northern Alliance because it was secretly supported by Iran (along with Russia and Inda), this Iranian support made them suspicious of their intentions.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

KP, Remember once you said that breaking Afghanistan into pushtoon and non-pashtoon regions is more realistic and feasible policy. Although these thoughts went into the debate on the future of Afghanistan in American foreign circles.There were few reason why they did not back this plan.In my opinion the reasons for their actions are.
Firstly, if it concurred with their interests they would have done so like their support to East Timor or South Sudan where the countries which broke up will always be under constant threat from its Islamic neighbour forcing them to come under defacto American influence. Even if there was a state created to the west of Afghanistan, it is more likely to be closer to Iran (with its ethnic similarity) than to the Americans.
Secondly, Strategic experts in South Asia thoroughly understimate the adverserial relations between US and Iran. It generally overrides everything else and the size of Iran is the only thing that is safeguarding them till now. Americans know Iran is not a pushover and they realized late that even after democratic project in Iraq, the ethnic closeness of Iraq has helped Iran rather than them. Unwittingly Americans had helped safeguard the western flank of Iran and they wouldn’t want to do the same with Iran’s eastern flank as well. we know now how they opened another front in their north with their involvement in syria.

Thirdly, their biggest objective was to disarm the Afghan militants and root out the bases which attacked US and create conditions that no such attacks occur in future. Dividing Afghanistan will in no way solve this objective of theirs.
Finally for strategic reasons, it made sense for them to have their bases close of Kabul and Kandahar from which they can oversee activities in China,India,Pakistan and Russia dominated Central Asia.
It is indeed good idea to rebuild infrastructure in the west of Afghanistan (of which India is doing) and bring a semblance of normalcy to the less radical non-pushtoon groups who could not be swayed by Pakistan. But that doesn’t solve their objective to decriminalizing and deterrorirsing both sides of Durand line. Nevertheless Americans moved ahead and realized where the real problem is, and its the Pakistani penchant for dominance in Afghan affairs. Also in places in kandahar and kabul there is huge population which is ethnically non-pushtoon creating a vested interest for non-pushtoons to vie for influence there.

Rex, regarding currency reserves and deficits I will oneday post my opinion. Suffice it to say that in an interconnected world there is no complete rollover for a country and if one country get affected the crisis ends in engulfing all the actors. In case trade relations worsen China with large trade surplus is the one going to get affected more than US whose trade deficits will only decline and thats good for US. This is seperate topic and we will hopefully discuss it someday.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

kpsingh01:”The Taliban, their sponsors and rest of the Afghans should have been made to fight each other. If the Taliban and its sponsors gained, the US could have softened them up with cruise missiles, drone strikes and weakened them. Simultaneously they could have pressured the Pak military to tow in line and cause confusion in the Taliban ranks”.
KP, They attempted this for last few years. But I wonder whether its too little and too late for it now. We could atleast hope that it is atleast in the right direction after Obama.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

sensiblepatriot,

You have made very good analysis on the situation.

“In my first post, I have mentioned how it is difficult to build a country with no state structures and the only institution that could take Taliban militarily and idiologically was the Northern Alliance”

Afghanistan as we know of it in history, died in 1978 when the Soviets invaded in 1978. After that it has turned into a battle ground. It was further reduced into rubble by the internecine war between the various ethnic groups. The whole thing resembled a Discovery channel show on Heynas fighting each other to feed on a dying animal. Then came the Taliban to chase away all wild dogs and heynas and began to eat on the carcass by itself. It helped all dung beetles and germs to thrive (call them as Jihadists). Then came the bison charging at the Taliban which ran away immediately. The bison does not eat the carcass. Once it drove the Taliban, it had no idea what to do with the dead animal. Suddenly the bison decided to charge at another sleeping animal and ignored the carcass. The Taliban came back and began to munch on the carcass again. The bison returned and the Taliban has become bolder dodging it and frustrating it. The tired bison now wants to move on. As far the carcass, there are only bones left.

In the above scenario, there is no use trying to revive a dead Afghanistan. We know it will revert back to its natural state – wolves, wild dogs and Taliban fighting each other out for territory. And the chaos from it will affect the entire neighboring region. That is why it is important to think of redrawing the geography in the region. The Taliban will not be able to declare victory as a result. They get a piece of the pie. The rest goes to others who will now want to work on their new nation. They will seek alliance from other nations to protect themselves. Different ethnic groups might have different outlook towards religion, governance and geo-politics. It will prevent Pakistan from capitalizing on the entire country. It will only be dealing with a part of what was Afghanistan, mostly Pashtuns. It will completely change the equation in the area.

Of course, you and I do not get to sit and define the future goals for this region. It is just a thought. If things happened this way, one can seek long lasting solutions for the region.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@Sensibepatriot
I thought you should be the last one to differ from my analogy of the so called Norther Alliance. Do you reckon if the Americans would have come to aid Sikh Nation in India who wanted to have a separate Khalistan, they could have taken over the helms of the hindu majority Govt. and established a Khalsa land from the hindu land? Certainly not! Not that I supported the action of the Indian military which drove hundreds and thousands of sikhs leave India and have since been living in every corner of he world from the UK to Italy, central europe to australia, canada and the USA. But the fact is that sikhs who live today in India are a pacified peaceful people. Similarly, some of the leaders of the so called infam Northen alliance have been killed, and some have left the country and others are now behaving like good citizens. Pashtuns or call them talibans if you will, are Afghans and the rst are citizens of Afghanistan. If they do not behave they can easily be pshed over to their ancestors land of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan etc.

Mr karzai is a Pashtun leader as well and is closer to Taibans than to to others. His family has suffered a lot and one hopes that he is going to remain loyal to his tribe first before he mucks about with the Americans or the tajiks and uzbeks.

Fear is the greatest weakness of a human being, the Pashtuns do not have this annimal in their DNA. The four star American General Macchrystal is the first military commander who has been able to come near them and understood them and thought that the surge as ordered by Mr Obama and his senior militry adviser propose was an error of judgement. Mr obama fired him and later after real experience also releved his advisors who suggested surge to him! end of story.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

kpsingh01: “That is why it is important to think of redrawing the geography in the region”.

I wish that we had power to change anything, there could be division of Afghanistan with eastern and southern part of Afghanistan going to pushtoons and Parts of North and West going to Tajik-Uzbek-Hazara shias. The taliban could enjoy their state. The western part of Afghanistan should atleast be autonomous in my view. Just because it doesn’t concur with geopolitical interests of superpowers (and even countries like India) writes a sad epitaph on the future of Afghanistan. And you’re right that although we dont have power, we could only hope for it.

Rex:”If they do not behave they can easily be pshed over to their ancestors land of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan etc”.
This forum has been for quite sometime a delightful place for blowing certain myths about a country,culture or an incident. For people who are willing to open their minds, it has been a place of learning and relearning. Atleast I have relearned and unlearned some of the aspects of what we thought and stereotyped other cultures. I am sure you are too and ofcourse we not too young to behave like a child or too adamant like an old fool. Nobody condemns the sikh riots as we Indians ourselves do, but one must realize that Anti-Sikh riots were in response to Indira Gandhi killing. She was the epitome and symbolism of feudal grip over Indian political structures. Most educated Indians are ashamed of how she ran the country like a dictator and thoroughly weakened the democratic structures of India. She began with weakening India economic structures(with her foolish leftist policies to weakening institutions of democracy like Press (which crawled when asked to just bend),the judiciary-bureaucratic structures which have become complicit under her guidance. India as a namesake democracy was built and moulded by this lady and made politics thoroughly a family business.
Not that I condone her killing, But the political discourse in the country at the time of her death became so delusional and power drunk that anybody who questioned her automatically became a traitor to the country.
But for her one victory as PM (the Bangladesh war with Pakistan), she left India on its weakest movements. Her penchent to use radicals(Bhiindranwale) to counter growing akali(right to the centre) political might have taken her life more than anything.
It is intersting here to note that RSS and other Hindu Organizations actually helped save thousands of sikhs from the massacre that took place. It was not a Hindu state crushing the sikhs for their act but the power of sycophancy to the first family that led to the disaster.
when some people talk of sikh riots as genocide by Hindu state, it makes us laugh as Indians as we know how the state constructed a myopic narrative that anything bad for the first family (Nehru-Gandhi) was automatically bad for India. Similarly after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, a host of massacres on the maharashtrian brahmins took place as Nehru thought his (delusional) idea of secularism was punctured by a radical Hindu. Similarly when Rajiv was assassinated, two decades of constant and systematic ban on Tamilians was followed from Government services and a narrative was created (mostly in North India) that people of this state were traitors.
Congress was used to be a rainbow coalition where both left-right coexisted for their own selfish ends and more riots took place in their rule than any party. Only when political right became seperated from this congress that congress started behaving more secularly as they lost right wing Hindu votes. (shivsena was a congress lapdog union to kick communists in bombay and first shilanyaas or Ram temple movement in Ayodhya was started under Congress government before RSS took over, very similar to what they did with sikhs in punjab). see similiarity with PPP.

This is the reason why I have appreciated the role played by the new communations and social media as there can be many interpretations of an incident (although one truth) and some ugly lies which formed the basis of state’s narrative started melting away with this new actor in 21st century. I dont ask you to acknowledge my point of view but before some one crassly say that Anti-Sikh riots were orchestrated by Hindu State he also should know the other narrative (actually the true narrative) that Anti-sikh riots were orchestrated by a feudal Authoritarian government which does not see religion but sees only power.
And your contention of pushing Tajik-uzbeks out of Afghanista like just like a punjabi rant about other ethnic groups of Pakistan and as a sympathizer of pushtoons (who form significant population of Pakistan), I am sure you wont like it.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

@sensiblepatriot

I do acknowledge your view and would also add that in the view of the outsider, it was not the Indian State or the Govt. but Mrs Gandhi who was running the show what she did, following the style of the colonialists. India has come a long way and have made significant progress snd structural changes since as well as brought in a new constitution. Indian military though has yet to become a National army in real sense, reforming its colonial structure.

Across the border, though,and going deep into Afghanistan there is a war being waged against the Pashtun Ntion, squeezed between the forces of the US and NATO and the Pakistan military. Foreign invaders are now in disaaray and their hold has been broken and Pakistan military is counting their dead caused by the deceit of its ally and those who went into the trap of waziris. My prognoses is that once the all out spring attack starts, no force is likely to stand up to Taliban forces neither domestic( ala northern alliance defectors) nor across the border, which is no longer a border any longer,and they are very likely to spread across the plains of Pakhtunkhawa and Baluchistan enroute to Kashmir. India will then have the opportunity to use their loly pops to stop them.

This is nothing more than my educated guess, and so far my forecastes have proven to be accurate.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

The clock is ticking faster than I had calculated. We are now not far away from the Zero hour; Mr Karzai shall be forced to order the departure of all foreign forces, starting with the yanks. First the desecration of the holy book, then the sergent with his team gets drunk and marches into the houses of a village knowing very well that most men are not in houses, and massacres chidren and womn.
This reminds us of the hollywood films describing the criminal behaviour of the marines against vietcongs , their families and children. Was Gen. Macchrystal was right in his assessment of the current USA administration? What happned to 2014 withdrawl; two years is long time to spend in the cold environment of the most treacherous people of he world. All this work and training of Afghan army, who learnt to shoot when they are five years or less, was for nothing. What about lessons in freedom and democracy to a Nation of freedom and lower Jirga from the military of a country who themselvs have few hundred years of history? Much ado about nothing? And what about the the Mafiosi new strategy of reducing military costs and use of special forces with unmanned drones?
Any military man with a basic knowledge knows that one cannot continue with a war when the supply line has been cut off? Pakistan now holds the proxy of war, not the great America? USA military underrated the intelligence of the Pakistani Generals when they deraded them as allies in the abbotabad crisis?

Henry Kissinger is still talking and advising the administration, how about starting a new war in Iran?

Rex MInor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

The Man has spoken as I said in March 12 post, and straight to the parrot nosed clintonian, get you forces out of the urban areas and confine them to the cantonments. The Afghan forces shall protect your rag tag sub-graded military of still over 100.000, until you are able to pack up and leave.
If only the suntanned american President had listened to the four star brave General Macchrystal, who had earned himself a name among the citizens of Afghanistan.

We are soon going to see the staff Seargent with medalled chest, who single handed carried out the assault on the women and children while they were asleep. Vietnam lies, once again?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive