The Super Power under Siege

A Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: General Mirza Aslam Beg

Former Chief of Army Staff

On 7th October 2001, President Bush launched the ‘Sock and Awe’ Crusade against Taliban, hoping to defeat them and consolidate hold over Afghanistan but failed. The Taliban emerged victorious and are not prepared to give concessions unless the occupation forces leave Afghanistan. The shame of defeat, at the hands of the rag-tag Taliban is the greatest embarrassment for the sole super power of the world. Instead of accepting defeat, USA has opted for a ‘Strategy of Siege’ worked-out at NATO headquarters in Brussels, by their Strategic Plans Division. The ‘strategy of Siege’ is a vicious plan, of deceit and despair, with defeat writ large in itself.

      The plan envisages pulling-out of most of the troops by end 2012, less10-12000 troops, comprising mainly Special Forces and the Marines to hold the fortresses of Kabul, Kandhar and Herat and the nearby air bases, at Kwaja Rawat, Kandhar and Shindand. Jalalabad will be held as a fortress by the Afghan Army. Mazar-e-Sharif and the air base at Dehdadi, will be developed as fortresses by the Northern Alliance. The areas in the South, from Helmand to Laghman will be left in control of the Taliban, as the beginning of the vicious plan, to divide Afghanistan in three zones. Mazar-e-Sharif, will thus be an important fortress, to guard the alternate supply and exit route through the Central Asian territories, because passage through Pakistan is hazardous. The American claim, that 40% of their supplies are coming through this route, may not be true, because it is very long and hazardous, as indicated in the map below. The Russians also, won’t like that their ‘near-abroad’ gets radicalized by the militant organizations, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), who would try to interdict the movements along this route.

      The American Strategy of Fortress Defense, envisages a kind of “secretive war, involving armed drones and special operation forces to carry out surgical operations, employing ‘unique assets’ against terrorist threat.” Washington has already extended covert drone attacks to Yemen and Somalia. Such operations will be “particularly focused on Pakistan, on eliminating the Al-Qaeda safe heavens.” How Pakistan and Taliban in Afghanistan are going to react to this strategy, is important.

      Focusing operations against Pakistan has already pushed Pak-American relations to the brink. Under public pressure, Pak forces, now have no option but to retaliate, against such blatant violation of country’s sovereignty. How and in what manner, retaliatory actions will be taken, is a matter of Command Decision. The strategic cost of such clandestine actions by the Americans, therefore, would far outweigh the tactical gains and the fall out on relations with Pakistan.

      The Taliban have already accelerated the pace of their summer offensive against the occupation forces, inflicting heavy casualties on the retreating enemy. And as the American forces, get holed-up into the fortresses, possibly by mid next year, the Taliban would enjoy the advantage of space and freedom of movement, to conduct operations more effectively against the fortresses. The combination of ‘Men and Missiles,’ which helped Hezbollah, shatter the myth of invincibility of the Israeli army in 2006, would also help the Taliban to break the will of the forces holding the fortresses, because Taliban would be enjoying greater freedom of movement and the resultant operational advantages.

      The operational environment also is not at all favourable for the strategy of fortress defense. There is hostility within the country and hostility without, of the neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran. Russia and China won’t like the Americans to hang-on in Afghanistan any longer. The sooner they leave, better it would be for peace to prevail in the region. External pressures and support to the Taliban will add to the problems of the forces, under siege.

      After the exit of the Americans, it is the Taliban, who ultimately will gain control over Afghanistan. They have the bitter experience of betrayal by the Americans since 1990 and have trust only in themselves, to form a broad-based government, which is the only viable course to secure peace in Afghanistan. The Americans must therefore exit from Afghanistan, sooner the better, than to extend the pain and shame of defeat, through the ‘strategy of siege’ which has already failed, before implementation.

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  • S U Turkman  On July 9, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Gen Baig has gone senile because Pak Army’s Mercenaries, the Taliban have not won any war against USA in Afghanistan. Twice Elected Afghan Government is still in power with the help of Foreign Troops. Pakistan has failed miserably to get rid of US Troops despite 9 years of tries.
    There is no war going on in Afghanistan because Taliban and Pak Army Commandos disguised as Taliban are only Sneak Attacking here and there or committing Suicides blowing themselves up to kill Afghan Moslims.

  • Average Joe Bodybuilder  On July 9, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I can not believe you are STILL letting this idiot post.

  • Inam Khan  On July 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    US is planning to have its garrisons all over the world to subjugate the world,the policy being touted as New World Order.In the end cost of maintaining these garrisons will force future USG to vacate these garrisons;economy of Us is already down…………………….Inam Khan

  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On July 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    It’s a good evaluation of emerging scenerio in our negiehbouring country and its implications and complications for us from the perspective of Gen Beg,our ex army chief ,head of a fringe political party/NGO and .self-styled intellectual. However we all know that he has a slanted perspective,a staunch antiAmerican so our members have to evaluate his version critically for objective evaluation to learn from it.

  • S. Cadri  On July 10, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Ya of late he is tilting too much on one side!

  • GRK  On July 10, 2011 at 3:04 am

    yes indeed. however gen baig has not mentioned what role pakistan will have in the below mentioned point of view. as a lay man,i will suggest that we should concentrate in bringing peace in our own country. towards a major step,we should consider fencing our border with afghanistan,it may be taliban or any other one,let us not forget that afghan govt has opposed even creation of my country so why building hopes. we already have enough of our own problem,which needs to be given first priority. the law and order,scarcity of food,water and energy’s wonder how we are still surviving. the argument that pakhtuns living on border have relatives across the border. they may be few thousands. is india letting kashmiries meet even once. such people on pak afghan border may be issued multiple entry visa. fencing does not suit afghanistan because of flow of drugs exported to west through pakistan.for God sake let us live and die for our own country.grk


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