Why Americans Will Be Defeated In Afghanistan ?

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive 

By: Naeem Khalid Lodhi(Lt Gen Retd)

  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 !

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  • Nadeem  On July 6, 2011 at 6:58 am

    The general is correct in his assessment, but, the defeated will have an elaborate face saving exit claiming victory.

    Nadeem Kausar

  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On July 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I broadly agree with Gen.Lodhi,as the same thought process has been aired by Prof.William,an old time political adviser and strategist,as well as Obama’s colleague in Harvard long time back through his open letter to Obama.I hope that you might have read that.In case not ,I can mail you if you like. After wasting over a Trillion of dollars in the last decade,it’ll be good for America and world at large if American administration listens to sane voices,like yours and that of prof.William to work out short term and long term plan with sensible application of just one or two percent of that over a trillion, to facilitate true transformation of primitive community to the extent possible to make this global village a
    better world

  • Zubair  On July 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Very true. But there is a difference in real victory and fake face saving victory. The American public and administration may not know it but the entire world does—-THAT should be enough for a super power—-specially the lone power

  • Average Joe Bodybuilder  On July 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

    The US has never let any nation save face. Is it saving face to attack countries or nations that are in comparison unarmed? Do not let the US save face. Put the mirror back into their face.

  • Salman Abbasy  On July 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The Americans are simple folks who keep pushing an issue without grasping the consequences and they never learn from their mistakes. They were clearly told some ten years ago by their Pakistani interlocutors about Afghanistan’s long history of battling foreign occupation forces, about its intricate patchwork of tribal and ethnic divides that do not conform or adjust to western models of governance, and its critical position in assuring the security of Pakistan’s western borders. The Americans pushed ahead with their imperial enterprise regardless. Now that their defeat is a reality as great as the Hindukush, the Americans are in need of a scapegoat and they have picked Pakistan (recalling their defeat in Vietnam being blamed on the inability of weak next door neighbours, Laos and Cambodia, to shut down the enemy’s supply routes and sanctuaries). It is for Pakistan’s political and military authorities to get their act together and produce a plan to counter the kicks and punches that the angry Americans will resort to as they extricate themselves from their Afghan predicament.

    • Amir Rana  On July 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

      By and large, I do agree with Gen Lodhi. However I do have my own additional premises which make me believe even stronger that US and its allies (all of them) are going to be on the defeated side of the history. Unfortunately our roshan khayal, modern, educated, civilized and rational thinking elite is pushing us hard to remain stuck on the defeated side. It is mainly because their so called “rational and pragmatic thinking” does not allow them to read wht is written on the wall in red.

  • Hassan Raza  On July 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Americans will have to leave, with or without face saving! But what is of vital importance to us is the scenario in our backyard after they have left. We are still suffering from the effects of the abrupt Soviet withdrawal in 1988. It is important what happened at night but equally or more important is the ‘morning after’ !


  • S. Cadri  On July 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Dear Sir
    From the day one we knew what was on the wall even a kid knew that US had to
    eventually leave. That does not mean we stand with the rogue elements in
    Pakistan today just because US is going to leave.

    America is leaving for its own reasons just like Brits left the
    sub-continent for their own reasons. They are bleeding financially and can
    no longer sustain it. If not today, US has to leave tomorrow. That does not
    mean we are the victors in any way. What contribution do we have in their

    Now don’t get me wrong and accuse that I am supporting the US. I am not. US
    is the aggressor and the killer in Iraq where it had no business to go and
    murder by the millions. It came after BLD to Afghanistan and we embraced a
    problem whose roots lie in the Mid-East. They are not suffering but we are.

    Our victory will come when we bring total law and order in the country. Any
    body, however mighty is not above the law and shivers in his pants to do one
    little thing illegal. Our victory will come when we make laws that are good
    for the people of Pakistan not for the few privileged ones.

    With terrorism at this level do you want us to clap for them for each
    successful blast, ransom and shootings in Pakistan? What defeated side? You
    want us to side with your supposed would be victors – the terrorists. I do
    not include the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    I have always differentiated between the two Talibans when it came to
    America and Pakistan. One is fighting an occupation force, we have to side
    with them regardless of their intolerance and ideology. But Taliban in
    Pakistan TTP we cannot side and tolerate for a second. They are fighting a
    Muslim State army. Who in the world will spare any rebels fighting their own

    Come on give me a break. Please do not talk like one of our anchors or TV
    guests like Munawar Hasan, Qazi Husain Ahmed, Prof. Ibrahim, Piracha and so
    many, directly or indirectly supporting the terrorists and becoming their
    political spokesmen Sir.

  • Nasim Hassan  On July 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Cadri Saheb:

    You have said it very well. Again how we define defeat? America has in fact decimated Alqaida alongwith many other people.

    They have got their target OBL and can easily declare victory and leave.


  • Minhaj  On July 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    America is not leaving entirely
    The next target is Pakistan
    It is just a political move on the chess board for a broader goal to achieve
    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  • Nazia  On July 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    The US plans a “complete” withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014 but not so completely. It wants to retain military bases and have enough troops to operate those. The trouble is it wants the Afghan Talibans to agree to this. But hardly anyone likes the idea except the Americans.

    Sent from my magic Iphone Powered by Vodafone

  • S. Cadri  On July 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    If you want to believe these spokesmen of the devils yes what you are saying is right. America is no fool to invade Pakistan. US knows its consequences.

    She knows Pakistan is neither an Iraq nor an Afghanistan nor any nincompoop Arab Country whose only virtue is money. They know we will fight to the last drop of blood if it comes to that.

    Don’t listen to these people. I have written earlier how they had a campaign that “Pakistan is breaking up”. But Alhamdulillah we are around three years on.

    Yes I do not want America to leave without developing Afghanistan. Obama should be for Afghanistan what McArthur was for Japan. See where is Japan standing now.

  • Mansoor Mubeen  On July 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    i agree that west including Americans will be on the defeated side, sooner or later.

    maulana moudoodi once predicted that the time will come, when communism will not find refuge in Kremlin, and capitalism will not find refuge in Washington, half of that prediction is proved right, let us see we will will see or our next generation will see the other half of prediction.

    but please note that once that happens, Muslims will not be one of the beneficiaries. instead other nations which are on the right track of development will be the ones who will take their place, i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Brazilians etc etc. reason is simple that Allah is not in a habit of coming Himself to help any nation, instead He has devised the rules of game very clearly, who ever play according to rules will win. and Muslims with this mindset towards science and technology, education and democracy, can not not be on the winning side.


  • khan saheb  On July 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Cadri Sb

    Things are never as cut and dry as you have stated. Indeed, US will not invade PK in the Genghis Khan style. The word is intervention. So far it has been indirect but its swiftly moving towards direct. The writing is on the wall and I cannot see the present leadership having any problems with that strategy at all.

    Now on the breaking up………….again, no there will not be a break-up in the sense you write…an external and physical break-up East PK style. The break-up process is internal. To crack it up from the inside. If you cannot see that from from the eyes, perhaps the mind and heart will have to called to help.

    And to the fact that we are around, 3 years on (or 63 years on). The question is are we existing, living, surviving or thriving? Take your pick.

    Its time to protect Pakistan’s freedom, not celebrate it!


    • Amir Rana  On July 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Add “gain” to the sentence and read it like,

      Its time to gain and protect Pakistan’s freedom, not celebrate it!

      • khan saheb  On July 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm


        Walk don’t run, would be a realistic operating principle as the nation heads for its 64th b-day

        Lets just protect what little there is left to hang on to. Once that is defended and protected, moving towards gain will be lot easier.


  • Mubaschir Inayet  On July 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Even Allah is not going to change the state of a people unless they first change what is between themselves.

    The country seems to be heading more towards an implosion rather than an invasion.

    Allah does not help a corrupt people; If He did, they would never change.

    Allah’s law is law of consequences (Qanoon Mukafaat). Don’t like the results? Change your actions.


  • MAB  On July 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    You could only defeat Taliban through blockade; no telephones, no motorcycles, no gas, no arms and ammunition and if necessary no food.

    • khan saheb  On July 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      This is a very basic (almost stupid) question……who really wants to defeat the Talibans?

      Perhaps, more importantly, why should US leave AFG after pouring in billions of dollars and loosing more lives over the last 10 years, than were lost on 9/11?

      Last but not the least, after a decade dedicated to Al-Qaeda, how about the next decade for Alfaeda?


  • Rafiq Mian  On July 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    To associate a simplistic win/loss order with a war, any war, on the definable day of its closure is a simplistic thought process. Perhaps the military men must do it in terms of lives lost, weaponry lost and territory gained/lost. They perhaps rush to closure of it and close it by medals bestowed.

    War is not an ODI to end in a win/loss/draw and cleanly.

    War in true sense is a (mundane) singular chapter in man’s march through history. It has a virtual start and end date; but, the true start and end date of it, is indeterministic. The upfront visual scenarios of it are equally virtual. In other words – add to the order the dimension of time, bigger perspective and a bit of philosophy.

    The war in Vietnam was (as we saw it) lost by US – but, in the end, it in part became the fall of the communist order. Japan and Germany fell at WWII but the same became an otherwise win for its populace.

    America (supposedly) started Iraq, Afghanistan, Homeland Security and many other initiatives and more as a result of 09/11 – defined as WOT. I do not speak for them – but, I read their ultimate intent as: “no more of an attack on US mainland initiated from a foreign soil”.

    If they succeed in that at the end of Afghanistan (the face of which we have not seen) should perhaps be a (partial) victory.

  • Khan Zia  On July 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks. This is true in as far as it goes and if the objective was limited to Afghanistan’s occupation. Things take a different turn if the mission extended beyond Afghanistan. In that case success will be measured differently and not necessarily in military terms. For instance, if the intention was to destroy Pakistan’s economy and stability then continuation of the turmoil in Afghanistan would eminently serve the purpose, taking into account the dangers inherent in any direct confrontation with the former. In that case the NATO mission will be limited to maintaining only a military presence that keeps the pot boiling and not bothered with winning the war.

    Any kind of resolution in Afghanistan may no longer be the aim and it may well have been set differently. This is not simply based on conjecture. There is evidence to support it. No less a person than the US Vice President, Joe Biden, had stated in a secret meeting on November 29, 2009 that his country has two specific aims in Afghanistan —- to eliminate al-Qaeda and secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Obama had agreed with these (Obama’s Wars, by Bob Woodward, p.328). It may be noted, there is no mention of winning any war.

  • Rafiq Mian  On July 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    When we respond – we must address positively !!!!!

  • Shaikh Mohammad  On July 7, 2011 at 3:18 am

    The General’s assessment completely blacks out the Pakistan Army’s support of
    American occupation of Afghanistan.

    If Afghanistan becomes independent, what effect it will have on Pakistan Army and
    USA. Will USA stop military aid to Pakistan Army?

    Will Taliban take revenge against Pakistan Army?

    Important questions not raised obviously because of the brutal reaction of
    Pakistan Army against those journalists, etc. who speak out the truth.

    Shaikh Mohommad

  • S U Turkman  On July 7, 2011 at 4:58 am

    AFGHANISTAN IS NOT A PROVINCE OF PAKISTAN. Afghanistan is an independent country. Afghans do not want to be ruled by Pakistani Taliban so, leave Afghans alone …!
    MERG BER PAKISTANI dOSHMANAANAY AFGHANIYAAN …! (Death to Pakistani Enemies of Afhans …!)
    MERG BER PAKISTANI dOSHMANAANAY AFGHANISTAN …! (Death to Pakistani Enemies of Afghanistan …!)
    Allah Subhana wa Taala wants to destroy your evil coalition with Pak Army at the hands of Coalition of 47 nations of this planet and He would succeed in ending your FiTnaa. Ameen …!
    Death and Hell awaits you …!

  • Admiral Sirohey  On July 7, 2011 at 6:47 am

    ISAF/ Americans and the coalition forces will not listen to the this logical analysis which many a members on this blog have been dilating for some time. It is the economy that has compelled the draw down policy. Its final shape will depend on who will be the resident in the White house.

    May I please have the Email address of General Lodhi.


  • M.Naeemuddin. Khalid  On July 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    What ever American has planned they achieved:-
    1. To control militarily & politically ME & Iraq.
    2. To show muscles to upcoming powers to threaten American Plans.
    3. To envelope Iran for any immediate counter action.
    4. To support American defense Arsenal production industries.

    I think stepping back to hit enemy on different front doesn’t mean defeat.

  • Parvez Amin  On July 9, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Brilliant, concise and correct analysis. May I also please have the email address of General Lodhi.

  • Mubaschir Inayet  On July 9, 2011 at 4:15 am

    worse things have been done to those who don’t accept the writ of the state, want to establish a parallel state and put the security of the country at risk by sneaking across the border and engaging in warfare.

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