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NATO needs 400,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. According to British and American General, even that would not be enough to defeat the Taliban. No country or group of countries have that amount of manpower to spare. The financial crisis in America and Europe makes it virtually impossible for the UK to send in an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The Europeans and NATO is unable and unwilling to continue the war in Afghanistan.
There is not military solution to the Afghan quagmire. We have been advocating a more comprehensive solution for a decade. Replacing Mr. Karzai with Zalmay Khalilzad is like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. The whole game is over. The US and European media too busy with the US elections has still not caught up with the reality of the fiasco in Kabul. The end is near.
Rupee News for several years has proposed that the Pakhtun areas of Afghanistan should be handed over to the Pakistani military and NATO and ISAF should leave Pakistan. Now this is affirmed by some American Thinktanks. Saving the Pashtuns of Afghania from Afghanistan. Eradicating the Pashtun plight and ending occupation. (http://rupeenews.com/2008/01/31/saving-pashtuns-of-old-afghanistan-in-afghania-eradicating-pashtun-plight-ending-occupation/)
Solution: ‘Pakistani boots’ on the ground inside Afghanistan (http://rupeenews.com/2008/09/06/solution-%e2%80%98pakistani-boots-on-the-ground-inside-afghanistan/)…a more compliant president Zardari will work with the new Afghan president Zalmay Khalilzad (expected to win the next elections in Afghanistan). Zalmay Khalilzad and Asif Zardari have been involved in a long term tet-a-tet even before the murder of Ms. Benzair Bhutto. Solution: ‘Pakistani boots’ on the ground inside Afghanistan Rupee News Moin Ansari. September 6th, 2008
Taliban wake-up call for IndiaBy M K Bhadrakumar
For the bulk of the Indian strategic community, the unthinkable is happening – the prospect of an Afghan settlement involving the Taliban is increasing.
A sensational expose by an investigative journalist, based on highly sensitive cable traffic last month between the French Embassy in Kabul and Quai d’Orsay in Paris, has thrown light on the Afghan war. For India, it is especially helpful in spotting the war, otherwise hidden behind the global banking meltdown and the India-United States civilian nuclear deal.
Claude Angeli, veteran journalist of Le Canard Enchaine, got hold of a copy of a coded cable by the French deputy chief of mission in Kabul, Francois Fitou, based on a briefing by the heavyweight
British diplomat, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who serves as ambassador to Afghanistan. What Sir Sherard told Fitou in confidence is worth recalling:
- “The current situation [in Afghanistan] is bad; the security situation is getting worse; so is corruption and the government [of President Hamid Karzai] has lost all trust.”
- “The foreign forces are ensuring the survival of a regime which would collapse without them … They are slowing down and complicating an eventual exit from the crisis, which will probably be dramatic.”
- “We [NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies] should tell them [United States] that we want to be part of a winning strategy, not a losing one. In the short term, we should dissuade the American presidential candidates from getting more bogged down in Afghanistan … The American strategy is doomed to fail.”
- Britain aimed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 2010.
- The only realistic outlook for Afghanistan would be the installation of “an acceptable dictator” and the public opinion should be primed for this.
For the bulk of the Indian strategic community, the unthinkable is happening – the prospect of an Afghan settlement involving the Taliban. From all accounts, the Taliban appear edging closer to the Afghan capital and tightening their control in the provinces ringing Kabul.
Unsurprisingly, Karzai has appealed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to mediate with the Taliban. To request the Saudi king to stake his prestige is serious business. Karzai couldn’t have acted alone. Alongside there are reports that the British intelligence has been talking to Taliban envoys in London.
The influential Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that senior Taliban functionaries who travelled to Saudi Arabia in the recent days have put forward 11 conditions, which include the withdrawal of foreign forces, political accommodation of the Taliban in key ministries and the drawing up of a new constitution that affirms Afghanistan as an Islamic state.
Indian policymakers, who have been bogged down in the labyrinthine passage of the Indo-US nuclear deal, need to take note that the ground is dramatically shifting. Regional security is set to transform. Several factors call for reckoning. First, there is cause to worry about Washington’s attention span in the period ahead to press ahead with the Afghan war.
The big issue in America is the bailout of the economy. As well-known columnist Alexander Cockburn summed up, the Americans are indifferent to whether vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is capable of waging a nuclear war or frying “Afghan terrorists”. Their sole concern today is that in the political tier in Washington, they have someone “who sounds somewhat like a human being with the same concerns as them, starting with the fear that their local bank will lock its doors in the morning”.
That is truly an extraordinary recalibration of national priorities for a world power. Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, during their debate on September 26, paid lip service to Afghanistan but were preoccupied with the new priorities. Both took the easy way out, agreeing that they would take troops out of Iraq and put them in the Hindu Kush. But is it that simple? Surely, there is a vague sense of bipartisan enthusiasm in the US for an Afghan “surge”. The new US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, says he could do with three additional brigades to the one promised by the Pentagon, which will add at least 15,000 troops to the current 35,000.
But the total allied force level in Afghanistan stands at just above 70,000, including the US troops. The NATO allies are reluctant to commit more troops. After much US persuasion, French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to be helpful, adding a measly 100 troops to the French contingent, while opinion polls show that two out of every three French citizens disapprove of the war. The outgoing NATO commander estimated that 400,000 troops were needed to defeat the Taliban. An optimal troop level is impossible to be met. The US and its NATO allies simply do not have the capacity to deploy the troops necessary to force a military settlement or to pacify and occupy Afghanistan.
Even with additional troops, to quote the new head of the US Central Command, David Petraeus, “wresting control of certain areas from the Taliban will be very difficult”.
Petraeus’ approach is to repeat his tactic in Iraq, to bribe the Pashtun tribesmen and to turn them against the pro-Taliban groups – in other words, hire Pashtun mercenaries to fight the war. Given the Pashtun character and tribal ethos, the strong likelihood is that the tribal belt will become anarchic and the war will spread to Pakistan. Its effect on Pakistan will be catastrophic, but the expansion of the war is unlikely to stem the tide within Afghanistan, which has gone badly wrong for Western forces.
The Taliban today operate in virtually every Afghan province. They have the capacity to mount sustained offensives. It has created a parallel government structure. Pamela Constable, correspondent of The Washington Post and old hand on the South Asia beat, wrote recently: “In many districts a short drive from the capital, some of them considered safe even six months ago, residents and officials said the Taliban now control roads and villages, patrolling in trucks and recruiting new fighters.”
Meanwhile, a new dimension has appeared. The incoming US administration in January may not consider doubling down in Afghanistan as an option at a time when its attention is riveted on putting together a rescue package for the American economy. How would this scenario play out in the tangled Afghan mountains – precisely, how would the protagonists of the Afghan resistance view Washington’s difficulty in financially sustaining the open-ended war effort?
‘Deep, rich chuckle’
Irrepressible British columnist Neil Lyndon obviously made a point when he wrote last week: “Whenever the wind stops howling over the mountains of Tora Bora, a deep, rich chuckle can presumably be heard echoing down the valleys. If he is still alive, nobody will be enjoying the plight of America more than Osama bin Laden. The anarchic carnage in the American financial and political system brings in sight a humiliating withdrawal and defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq. It even raises the possibility of the final collapse of the evil empire which Osama forecast.”
Gloomy, but entirely plausible. A perception is growing that with the US government taking responsibility for $5 trillion in liabilities in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and under compulsion to pledge billions to support the financial system, there is bound to be difficulty in bearing the combined cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the US Congressional Budget Office estimated could total $2.4 trillion over the coming decade. No wonder, a feeling is gaining ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan that it is a matter of time before Washington makes a deal with the Taliban for a coalition government.
The interplay of these various factors will accelerate as Afghanistan gears up for the presidential election in 2009. The election year will be highly divisive. There is a challenge to Karzai from other Afghan groups. His political base in the Pashtun areas remains fragile. The US and its allies are yet to decide whether Karzai is their best choice to hold the reins of power for another five years. Britain, in particular, has had public spats with Karzai. The failure of the war is blamed on him.
But the failure of the war is not personal. A US-style presidential system does not suit Afghanistan. The country needs a decentralized system of power-sharing and a constant search for intra-Afghan compromise. Most certainly, it means bringing the Taliban into the political process. The cardinal mistake has been that the Taliban movement is entirely conflated with al-Qaeda, whereas, to quote Tariq Ali, “If NATO and the US were to leave Afghanistan, their [the Taliban's] political evolution would most likely parallel that of Pakistan’s domesticated Islamists.”
Tariq Ali didn’t mention Maulana Fazlur Rahman, but New Delhi knows how farcical it would be to remain in the grip of paroxysms of nervousness about the redoubtable Islamist leader. India’s apprehensions withered away once the Maulana, variously described as the “Father of the Taliban”, began visiting India. Equally, India needs to do some “out-of-the-box” thinking about the Taliban. Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey. (NewAgeIslam.Com.)
Noticias de Rupia | Nouvelles de Roupie | Rupiennachrichten | ??????? ????? | ???? | Roepienieuws | Rupi Nyheter | ??????? | Notizie di Rupia | PAKISTAN LEDGER | ???????? ????? | Moin Ansari | ???? ??????? | DefensebriefsIntellibriefs Translate to: RSS feed: <
/a>| RUPEE NEWS | October 9th, 2008 | Moin Ansari | ???? ??????? | ????? ????? |
Justifying the Banality of a brutal Occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Thinktanks attempt to complete the circle of complicity between a sycophantic press, and a non-inquisitive servile public. The nation is forced to accept the only argument that it is being repeatedly inundated with When Freedom fighters turn terrorist
Justifying the Banality of Occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Thinktanks attempt to complete the circle of complicity between a sycophantic press, and a non-inquisitive servile public. The nation is forced to accept the only argument that it is being repeatedly inundated with
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