A Way Out for US through the “Bermuda Triangle”!

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”.  



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  • Parvez Amin  On October 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Very good and very practical suggestions. However, I doubt if they will be followed. I think the real purpose for the US to be here is greed for the ample mineral and fossil fuel wealth. Why they don’t obtain it by commercial means also requires and answer. I think the answer is they are forced (or want to because they are shareholders) to start war after war to support the arms manufacturers. I particularly direct my thoughts to the US Administration; the man on the US streets has no idea about the crimes that are being committed in his name. Sad, but there it is.

  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On October 13, 2011 at 11:45 am

    All said and done,Raza Khan has concluded the same sensible line of action for US that Proff.William,a seasoned diplomat,political analyst and old collegue of Obama wrote to him in an open letter a year ago which was circulated in the leading papers and social webs. Now Hilary is conceding to undertake that line of action in covert fashion rather messed-up way that Mr. Khan has suggested ,should be conducted in an overt and straight forward manner with out using fig leaf.An old precpt narrates the case of 100 onions as well as 100 lashes that some unwise guy opted for.

  • Ali Kazim  On October 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Thank You YAA. Strong aroma of truth.

    Ali Kazim

  • A.Bajwa  On October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Thank God some Pakistanis can think and write clearly., rather than going in circles.

  • Islam Huq  On October 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for the nice and to the point article.

  • Laila  On October 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I agree about declaring a ceasefire in Afghanistan.
    If President Obama is serious about finding out, it’s time to declare a cease-fire on US and NATO combat operations, halt the night raids by US Special Forces and stop the drone-fired missile attacks throughout the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater.Over the summer, after long resisting the idea of talks with Taliban leaders, the Obama administration began to support President Hamid Karzai’s plan for reconciliation. Previously, the administration had argued that the Taliban would never enter into serious talks until US forces dealt them punishing blows to reverse their momentum. Virtually every faction of the insurgency is engaged, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Islamic Party, which came to Kabul with a peace plan; the militant Haqqani network; and the Quetta Shura. It’s unclear what’s been accomplished and whether the contacts can lead to a formal peace process. But it is clear that a political agreement is the only way to end the war. It’s encouraging that the Obama administration has abandoned its earlier stubborn refusal to facilitate such talks.What would an accord entail? In exchange for a halt to the war, a timeline for a US withdrawal and a share of power in a rebalanced Afghan government, the Taliban could agree to end their insurgency, break all ties with Al Qaeda and negotiate a new national compact with all elements of Afghan society. That compact would have to be supported, perhaps even brokered, by the UN and the international community, and it would need strong support from Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan but also India, Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and the Central Asian republics.

  • Summaya  On October 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Approximately 40,000 foreign troops help manage security in Afghanistan, principally of 32,000 regular soldiers from 37 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces: the International Security Assistance Force. 8,000 US and other special operations forces make up the balance. There is significant resistance, both from the ideological/theocratic Taliban, especially in southern Afghanistan, and also independent local warlords and drug organizations. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), described the situation this way: “There is no rule of law in most of the southern parts of Afghanistan—the bullets rule.”
    Will US leave?
    NO WAY!

  • sumbul  On October 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Good one, subjective, objective and can be productive if taken positively by the concerned quarters.

  • Labiba  On October 14, 2011 at 3:58 am

    A really good suggestion and a point to ponder upon for US but time is essence. The only observation is to study this hypothesis a little more than what it looks like on its face. With present state of OIC and existing brand of Muslim leaders, it may be difficult like fetching stars from the sky to sew them in a bead but yet not impossible. Dollars and threat can produce wonderful results. Those hungry for money would do anything for dollars and those with filled pockets do not have s….. in them. Both things can be done by USA, threat – no problem and dollars too, after all one has to just print few trillion more fake dollars. Core point is that Taliban (Afghans to be more precise) are akin to a lion in the cage that only recognize their poor slim master (The Muslim brotherhood) with a lash in his hand (The Quran being the only force and reason powerful enough to control their lives). Anybody with interests in Afghanistan like Pakistan, Iran and Iraq may be excluded in such a Muslim Force.
    USA is like last Mughal king waiting only for ultimate to happen. I hope its citizens don’t have to run around in disguise and to hide their nationality, to avoid shame and persecution in future. After all killings of millions human lives are on their hands. The only country to use atom bomb on humans, killer of millions of humans throughout the world. A true hypocrite.

  • Jamil Zaidi  On October 15, 2011 at 2:00 am

    YAA has correctly diagnosed the malady of the Afghan situation &
    rightly pointed out that US has really lost face in Afghanistan; but
    is shy to admit it’s defeat in the region. Admission or denial of this
    fact is self-evident to the entire globe & US’s denial of it’s defeat
    hardly makes any difference to other actors or spectators of this
    international scenario. History has taught us that Afghanistan cannot
    be a permanent foothold for any super power since times immemorial,
    but US is too short-sighted to see this or learn any lesson from
    history.It’s foreign policy has failed like the one adopted in Korea &
    Vietnam. The body bags it received & the protest lodged throughout US
    didn’t teach the country a lesson despite paying a rather heavy price
    for it’s foolhardiness throughout History. Time has come when US is
    almost at the verge of financial & political collapse; and it wouldn’t
    be a super power any more. US leadership fails to realize this & an
    average US citizen is neither politically conscious nor is raising
    his voice against the failed US Foreign policy. US is also losing
    sympathy of the entire World including European powers resulting in
    its complete alienation on the international scene where it has
    started foreseeing that it is already down the slope from which its
    recovery is difficult.Its inability to return the money has
    sufficiently discouraged the future investor. It has always left its
    allies in a lurch in critical moments. It is trying to woo Indians,
    but they have already seen the fate of its allies in the past. Hence
    they are not depending on the country which doesn’t have a good track
    record. US has already entered the phase when it wouldn’t be a World
    Power like UK. The transitional period when it emerged as a super
    Power after the disintegration of US is over.

  • Zubair  On October 20, 2011 at 2:06 am

    The problem with the super of the us, it refuses to believe it can be defeated. It, therefore, never learns from history. However, UA is the only country in the world which refuses to learn from its OWN short history–Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan. Among earlier powers Alexander, afterdefeating Persia considered himself undefeatable. As did the British Empire and more recently USSR. They all swallowed dust in Afghanistan and admitted it US refuses to admit it andinsists on blaming us so thathecan get out as a “victor”.

    Sent from Zubair’s iPhone

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