This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive
1. This is Not an Astrological Prediction. I would not stick my neck out teasing a super power, or Pakistani establishment, who firmly believe a victorious future for the coalition forces in Afghanistan, as we all have a piece of cake in it. This is rather a friendly discourse for the FRIENDS, specially the American Public and Americanized, modernized, forward looking thin elite in Af-Pak, to enable them know the facts and the direction of the flow of history. I don’t even expect the readers to agree with me, rather my conclusions may be totally dismissed. But what I would expect everyone to kindly challenge my premises and replace them with alternative views.
2. Premise No 1 (Huge Difference in Incentives to Fight ) . Afghan fighters are fighting for the freedom of their country against (as per their perception) occupation forces. For them it is a struggle for their survival. Coalition forces are here to safeguard the peripheral or even important interests of their respective countries, but definitely not an interest as vital as survival. Now it may be argued that a(technologically, economically and diplomatically) strong nation with lower level of incentive can overcome a poorly equipped and organized people with high incentives and ideals ! Without going into the details of an incentive-capacity matrix, let us move further.
3. Premise No 2 (Democratic Versus Tribal Society). Tribal societies by nature are stubborn and non compromising. They also have a very high pain threshold and are capable of making unprecedented sacrifices even to the point of accepting extinction. On the contrary democratic societies are pliable, soft, compromising , leaning towards material gains and comforts. Their sense of honor and dignity is very different. They can take ‘small defeats’ for the overall betterment of ‘mankind’. Democracies also have an ability to create façade of success to cover their failures. Thus, whereas Afghan Fighters have no space and philosophy to exit, our FRIENDS have an elaborate EXIT STRATEGY.
4. Premise No 3 (History). Do I need to explain this factor ?
5. Premise No 4 (Strategic Mistakes/Compulsions)
a. Accepting and abetting a corrupt regime in Kabul.
b. Composing an ethnically imbalanced Afghan Army and Police.
c. Antagonizing Pakistan by allowing insurgency in Balochistan and trying to give a lead role to India. Also pushing Pakistan to do that is not in their long term interest.
6. What Has Future in Store ? If hundred thousand coalition troops could not control Afghanistan, 90,000 will definitely not suffice and what to say of 65,000. US can only linger on and try expensive face saving , or else leave, creating a vacuum resulting in a long civil strife in Afghanistan. They want something in between! That is possible only if they understand the premises given above and are willing to correct the policy and the strategy. A retired General from a Third World can only do this much to help them !