‘Tangible’ Coalition gains and pains in Afghanistan

Posted on | mei 1, 2011 | No Comments

This Friday the Pentagon in its latest report to the US congress ‘painted a guardedly optimistic picture of the war in Afghanistan, saying that U.S. and allied forces had made “tangible progress” against the Taliban over the past six months and that conditions were right to withdraw at least some U.S. troops this summer.’

The events that preceded and coincided with this report are worth mentioning:

  • On April 16, according to reports in the international media, Pakistani PM Gilani and his high level delegation during their visit to Kabul ‘bluntly told Karzai that the Americans had failed them both’ and that he ‘should forget about allowing a long-term US military presence in his country.’
  • On April 26 nearly 500 Taliban insurgents escaped the central prison of Kandahar unchallenged via a long tunnel.
  • The next day NATO claimed to have killed ‘the second-most-wanted insurgent in Afghanistan, a senior al-Qaeda leader from Saudi Arabia who was responsible for setting up terrorist training camps and launching attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces.’
  • On April 30 Taliban in a media statement announced that they will launch a spring offensive against the international forces and the Afghan government.

The Pentagon report and the events during the past six months, including the four pointed out to here as an example, paint a picture of both gains and pains. Unsurprisingly with the increase of Taliban activities we see an increase in Pakistani demands.

Pakistan is clearly hopeful that their support for Taliban has borne fruit and now it is time to get to the final stage which is to install a ‘Yes Sir’ government in Kabul.

However, different elements within Pakistan have different views for their goals to be achieved in Afghanistan. The political setup led by Zardari and its supporters may not be in support of a Taliban government in Afghanistan because that will strengthen and encourage the Taliban in Pakistan. They may only want to cut down Indian and American presence and may want some of their favorite insurgent leaders to be put in the government with Karzai.

But ISI, the Army, and their supportive political and religious parties – and these are the real power brokers in Pakistan – would want a complete removal of the current Karzai government and a comeback of their Taliban darlings. In the past, they have blocked mujahedeen to share power with President Najeeb, and later prevented some groups – such as Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami – to share government with other groups – like Massoud and Rabbani’s Jamiat-e-Islami.

Some unimportant political parties in Pakistan – such as Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf – would like Taliban to rule both Pakistan and Afghanistan because that will be the only setup in which Imran Khan and the likes of him will be able to find a worthy position in government.

Keeping all these facts in mind, it would be unwise for the US to withdraw troops now or in the near future. Unless there is a strong police force, a trained army, and a democratic corruption-free government in Afghanistan, it would be vulnerable to fall again into the hands of global terrorist networks that will then use both Pakistan and Afghanistan as planning centers for their attacks all over the world.

Additionally, though gains are very important, the terrorist safe havens in Pakistan are the major source of pains in Afghanistan. They must be eliminated. The sooner, the better.

AUTHOR: Abdulhadi Hairan
URL: http://www.abdulhadihairan.com
E-MAIL: ahhairan [at] gmail.com


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