This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive
By:Jawad Raza Khan
We have recently crossed 10 years of US intervention in Afghanistan, in connection to a man hunt, and for chaining a sociopolitical ideology against the western world. Without wasting time on conspiracy theories and going into the details of gains and losses of Afghan occupation, it’s time to precisely evaluate situation in hand, especially on the eve of American planned withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Strategic military philosophers will indeed agree to this point that withdrawal of troops from a lawless piece of land requires more deliberate planning then its occupation. If the required weightage is not given to this strategic move, the results coming up will resemble the troubled African lands and previous Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is quoted by a senior intelligence officer from Pakistan that even General Zia ul Haq the executioner of US plans against Soviet Union was not in favour of immediate soviet withdrawal after tough Afghan resistance, in fact, he was sensing anarchy in Afghanistan in the wake of immediate Soviet withdrawal and was foreseeing very serious implications on Pakistan.
The situation, region and players are identical with US replacing Soviet Union in troubled Afghanistan now. US exit scenarios are recently discussed in high profile forum under a German Policy Research Institute Hanns Siedel Foundation in Islamabad. The most disturbing portion of the seminar was its conclusion, as it ended in more confusing state, then it was, before the start of the said activity. One thing which was appreciated, discussed and deduced very comprehensively was that Afghans alone must be given a chance to decide their future after the US exit from their homeland and that is certainly a very positive sign. On the other hand it is more than evident that in this global village, chain reactions of the international and regional powers cannot be ruled out in totality, especially in the presence of active, effective and importantly effected regional powers in the disturbed zone.
A Senior Taliban leader just after US invasion in 2001 addressed the west “yes! You have the clock but we have time”. The past 10 years have indeed shown the qualification of the said statement, as now US in complete confusion, has now planned its phased withdrawal in 2014. Correct assessment of situation right at the start of WOT launched by US forces, made Taliban to defend Mazar Sharif for more than three months but after the planned withdrawal of Taliban it took only three days for Northern Alliance to reach Kabul. Taliban withdrew in the face of sophisticated technology and supreme air power of US, as they were not capable to hold their troops together in a pitched battle scenario. Playing on their own strength, the guerilla warfare, Taliban withdrawn intact and has once again made the world realize that conflicts in Afghanistan are required to be seen with different goggles on.
Using ethnic divide of Afghanistan has not ever brought results for any military power as far as the dynamics of Afghanistan is concerned, US has certainly gave it yet another try by weaponing Northern Alliance with Tajiks given the lead role. On the other hand, critically observing the Afghans societal make up; these people have been living together since ages and it was only after Soviet Intervention which militarized the ethnic texture of the Afghan society.
Coming over to the US situation in the Quagmire; US forces are in control of 10% of Afghanistan with completely fragile situation in the red zone of Capital Kabul; The most important pillar of any insurgency operation “The security” has been outsourced to all war lords including Taliban; US is paying heavy amount to Afghan warlords including Taliban for the safety passage of their military supplies for their sustainability in Kabul; US has been forced to talk about negotiating with Taliban; Karzai has lost faith of his countrymen nearly in totality; US is on the verge of losing yet another strategic partner by involving in blame throwing against its top spy agency; Perception management is getting more and more difficult; Taliban gaining strength day by day; Elections in Afghanistan are recorded as more rigged than the previous one, no faith of Afghans on own institutions. The situation is even bleaker, if we keep the downward trend of US economy into perspective, with military failing to achieve some sort of control in the capital (Kabul) alone.
Every problem has the solution however, the right intent and correct mindset to pursue that intent is the pre-requisite to pass the bog. US administration needs to ask question within their selves to grow the appropriate catharsis. Is Taliban a political entity? If no why the most powerful Army in the world couldn’t do its job in 10 years? If yes, than why US wants to engage in a political dialogue with Taliban covertly, why not to declare a whole some unilateral cease fire in Afghanistan and then come on the negotiating table? Why not call for elections after getting the desired peace in the wake of the said cease fire? Why not to get UN support in getting Armies from Muslim world to monitor the fairness of the said elections? And why not to announce immediate withdrawal of US troops after handing over the power to the legal government of Afghanistan?
The only problem I see in this course of action is that US will be confessing its defeat in Afghanistan officially and that’s the only impediment troubling the self-esteem of world’s super power. While I was writing these lines I was updated by a news channel that Ms Hillary Clinton is ready to talk with all Afghan including Haqqanis. This statement is an endorsement on Pakistan’s correct perspective of Afghan turmoil, if this is right for US, how it can be fatal for Pakistan.
Truth has to be faced one day or the other, but, the problem here is very intelligently highlighted by ex-British Prime minister.
Winston Churchill said “In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”.