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Thread: Afghanistan - NATO War aimless and unwise

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Afghanistan - NATO War aimless and unwise

    (Reuters) - The Afghan government has hit back at remarks by the head of NATO who said Kabul must recognize the sacrifices made by other states, calling the alliance's war on terrorism in Afghanistan "aimless and unwise".
    In the latest outburst of vitriol from the Afghan leadership deriding its Western allies, the spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the people of Afghanistan "ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror".

    "As they question why after a decade, this war in their country has failed to achieve its stated goals, but rather has resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives and destruction of their homes", Aimal Faizi said in a statement.

    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he was concerned about the increasingly harsh rhetoric between Karzai and the United States, which contributes the largest contingent to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    He told a news conference in Brussels that "we would also expect acknowledgement from the Afghan side that we have ... invested a lot in blood and treasure in helping President Karzai's country to move forward".

    More than 3,000 foreign troops from 50 countries have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led military intervention began in 2001. Some estimates put the cost to the United States alone of the Afghan war in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Speaking to the state news agency, BIA, Faizi said: "The people of Afghanistan ask NATO Secretary-General that while it is clearly known to NATO that terrorism sanctuaries are outside Afghanistan, why this war then continues in their homes and villages unproductively?"

    "Therefore, the Afghan people consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue," he said.

    WAR OF WORDS
    Karzai marred a debut visit to Afghanistan by the new U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, last week by accusing Washington and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed beyond 2014, when NATO is set to wrap up its combat mission and most foreign troops are to withdraw.

    Washington denies the accusation, and found support from Rasmussen who said the allegation was "absolutely ridiculous".

    Karzai's remarks further strained already fraught ties between the president and the Western allies who are fighting to protect his government from insurgents.

    The United States still has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from almost 100,000 two years ago at the height of a surge ordered by President Barack Obama. Washington intends to withdraw most of them by the end of next year but wants to negotiate a continued, smaller presence.

    Karzai has been increasingly assertive towards the United States. Last month, he ordered U.S. special forces to leave Wardak province after residents complained that they, and Afghans working with them, were torturing and killing civilians, an allegation denied by the Americans.

    Opposition politicians saw Karzai's order as a political move to bolster his party's support base ahead of a presidential election next year. Karzai is not allowed to stand again.

    "As every day passes, our relations with the international community get worse. Whenever President Karzai makes some remarks against Americans, money goes out of the country and businessmen leave," Ahmad Zia Massoud, leader of the Afghan National Front opposition alliance, told Reuters.

    He said as tension had risen between Washington and Kabul in the past year, and as Afghanistan prepared to go it alone, some $4.5 billion had poured out of the country and into Dubai where worried Afghans are building homes.

    (Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Jon Hemming)

    Afghan government hits back at NATO chief, says war aimless | Reuters

    ===========

    Now this, on top of 'the US is colluding with the Taliban' comments during Hagel's trip.

    Fascinating man this, the Afghan President.
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    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    That's all right. The minute things start getting hairy Karzai will be off to Dubai and Massoud will take over.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

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    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Some excerpts from MK Bhadrakumar's interesting article looking at the recent developments in the Afghan-US relationship:

    ... The rift inevitably spilled out into the streets this weekend with a big public demonstration in Kabul calling for the end to western occupation and the summary withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan. Even more significantly, the Afghan National Ulema Council, a government-funded body of religious scholars (who are on government payroll), which represents all of the country’s Islamic clerics, has come into the open with a vitriolic statement warning that the American “infidels” will be treated as invaders unless the Obama administration heeds Karzai’s demands on the US-run Bagram detention facility and the Special Forces in Wardak.

    Make no mistake that these clerics who enjoy governmental patronage largely take the cue from Karzai’s politics. The stunning part, therefore, is the language they used. The usage of the term “infidels” [kafirs] to refer to the US and its allies underscores that Karzai’s relationship with the Americans has touched rock bottom. The clerics said: “Allah has never allowed Muslims to accept the sovereignty and rule of the infidels."

    The statement added that Karzai’s demands (relating to Bagram, Wardak and so on) “are the voice of the Muslim Afghan nation” in the interests of the “sovereignty and independence of our country”. It warned the US that failure to comply with Karzai’s demands would be regarded as the “occupation of Afghanistan and Americans will be responsible for the consequences.”

    ...

    The big question is what happens now to the US agenda to establish military bases in Afghanistan. The Afghan officials are giving confusing signals to the Americans to the effect that Karzai is in reality merely grandstanding, hoping to ride a wave of nationalism, which in turn would give him the gravitas to push through the controversial status of forces agreement formalizing the establishment of American military bases. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take this convoluted explanation at face value. This was also what Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki claimed at one time before the US forces were evicted, finally, from Iraq.

    Given the Iraq experience, Washington on its part has begun subtly hinting that there is nothing like free lunch and in the absence of a security pact regarding the military bases, US might also review its commitments to support Karzai’s government. Alongside there is the barely-disguised “psywar” that Karzai’s government would pack up like a house of cards if the US pulled the rug from beneath his feet.

    Curiously, though, Karzai does not seem perturbed by these western threats. There is no sign of his confidence weakening, either, that the Afghans could manage on their own their affairs fine without the presence of the western troops. The weekend developments even suggest that he is pushing the envelope.

    To be sure, the US will not easily let go of Afghanistan. The proposed military bases in Afghanistan are vital to the overall US regional strategies. Therefore, the US can be expected to explore the option of rallying the detractors and (non-Taliban) opponents of Karzai, especially from the erstwhile Northern Alliance groups with a view to isolate Karzai politically and to unravel the coalition that has so far provided him with an Afghan politico-military base. This process, perhaps, has already begun, as Kerry hinted in his testimony at the US Senate hearings.

    Karzai too would be anticipating that Washington would do all it can, no matter what it takes, to ensure that the next government in Kabul toes the US regional agenda, and that the US’s game plan does not visualize a role for him in Afghan leadership. Whereas, he himself probably does not visualize his political future quite that way the US has in mind in the post-2014 scenario. To be sure, an extremely complex and fluid period lies ahead in Afghan internal politics as the country edges closer to the presidential election, which is due on April 5, 2014.

    Looking a bit ahead and do some crystal gazing, what happens now to this standoff between Washington and Kabul? The high probability is that it may get even uglier. The caveat must be added, though, that the standoff can ease if the US observes certain ground rules. First and foremost, the US must stop interfering in Afghan politics in the run up to the April election next year. Karzai, evidently, hopes to remain politically “active”.

    Second, Washington must leave the space for Karzai to appear that he is in command. This involves two things – no debunking him or ignoring his directives or demands regarding the conduct of the military operations, and, secondly, giving a free hand to Karzai to work out his own political future (which he is entitled to).

    Third and most important, Washington cannot and should not – from a political, military or moral perspective – link its and its allies’ future commitments to help secure Afghanistan’s security and stability with the negotiation of a status of forces agreement on the US military bases on exclusively Washington’s terms. The Afghans will militate against a pact that allows US troops to enjoy immunity from local laws for any crimes committed.

    The paradox, of course, is that by weakening or offending Karzai and forcing him to a corner, Washington is all but ensuring that the security pact is dead as dodo. But then, last weekend’s demonstrations and the statement by the ulema already cast doubts on the efficacy of the establishment of US military bases on Afghan soil.

    Reading Hamid Karzai
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  4. #4
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    The article says this resolves the dispute with Karzai, but I doubt it. The pull out does give Karzai some appearance of control which may mollify him somewhat.

    20 March 2013 Last updated at 07:33 ET


    Nato announces Afghanistan Wardak agreement

    An agreement has been reached between Nato and the Afghan government on the withdrawal of US special forces from Wardak province, alliance officials have announced.

    The agreement appears to bring to an end a bitter dispute between the coalition and the Afghan government.

    The troops and their Afghan counterparts have been accused of murder and intimidation in the area.

    Special forces and local police will now begin a phased withdrawal.

    Afghan security forces will then take over on a district-by-district basis.

    American special forces and the Afghan local police they have trained in Wardak have been accused of committing atrocities in the area, including the murder of nine men.

    Isaf has denied the allegations but President Hamid Karzai last month said they should withdraw within a fortnight.

    Relations between the president and Nato have been tense in recent weeks.

    On Tuesday the presidential spokesman described the Nato-led military operation in Afghanistan as "aimless and unwise".
    'Short on specifics'

    "We have come to agreement on a plan for Wardak that continues the transition of this critical province and meets the security needs of the people and the requirements of our mission," Isaf Commander Gen Joseph Dunford said.
    Map

    "Under the agreement, beginning with Nerkh District, which is currently secured by Afghan Local Police (ALP) aided by coalition forces, the Afghan government will soon move Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) into this area to provide security.

    "The arrival of the ANSF will preclude the need for ALP and coalition forces in this area. The remainder of the province will transition over time."

    The general said that the agreement reflected the "growing capacity and capability of the Afghan security forces to meet the security needs" of Afghanistan.

    The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says that the agreement is short on specifics - no timetable has been reached on when the special forces will leave. But it does allow Mr Karzai to save face.

    Afghan defence ministry spokesman Gen Zahir Azimi said that the Afghan army "will take the lead" after international special forces withdraw from Nerkh district, "so this problem will be solved within a few days".

    However our correspondent says that it is far from certain that the already stretched Afghan special forces will be able to establish security in Wardak once Nato has left.

    Wardak is a critical province. Located near Kabul, it has been used as staging post for a number of large-scale attacks in the city and has been the recent focus of counter-insurgency operations.

    The accountability of US forces and local militia working with them has been a growing source of friction in Afghan-US relations.

    Wednesday's agreement comes against a backdrop of long-term negotiations over which foreign forces will remain in Afghanistan after Nato's exit in 2014.

    The bulk of Nato's 100,000 troops are due to leave by the end of that year. BBC News - Nato announces Afghanistan Wardak agreement

  5. #5
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    A good summary of where talks stand between various factions and the Taliban. Karzai would naturally be miffed with the scatological nature of the talks. He no doubt wants to be the main man, but so long as the Taliban have no respect for him, it seems he doesn't want anyone else talking to them.


    Karzai opponents open talks with Taliban; Taliban considers replacing key negotiator

    Published March 18, 2013

    Associated Press

    KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan political parties united against President Hamid Karzai recently opened talks with the Taliban and U.S.-declared terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, hoping to broker peace ahead of next year's exit of international combat troops and a presidential race that will determine Karzai's successor, Taliban and opposition leaders have told The Associated Press.

    It's the first confirmation that the opposition has opened its own, new channel of discussions to try to find a political resolution to the war, now in its 12th year. And the Taliban too seem to want to move things forward, even contemplating replacing their top negotiator, two senior Taliban officials told the AP.

    Reaching an understanding with both the Taliban and Hekmatyar's Islamist militant group, Hezb-e-Islami, would give the opposition, which expects to field a consensus candidate in next year's presidential election, a better chance at cobbling together a post-Karzai government. The alternative to a multi-party government after the 2014 elections, many fear, could signal a return to the internecine fighting of the early 1990s that devastated the capital Kabul.

    But with ongoing back-channel discussions and private meetings being held with Taliban interlocutors around the world, it's difficult to know exactly who's talking with whom.

    Early last year, Karzai, who demands that any talks be led by his government, said that his administration, the U.S. and the Taliban had held three-way talks aimed at moving toward a political settlement of the war. The U.S. and the Taliban, however, both deny that such talks took place.

    Hekmatyar's group has held talks with both the Karzai government and the United States, and a senior U.S. official said the Taliban are talking to representatives of more than 30 countries, and indirectly with the U.S.

    The Taliban broke off formal discussions with the U.S. last year and have steadfastly rejected negotiations with the Karzai government, which they view as a puppet of foreign powers.

    News about the opposition group's new avenue of talks comes amid Karzai's latest round of verbal attacks on the United States, which have infuriated some of his allies in Washington and confused some of his senior advisers.

    In recent weeks, Karzai has accused the U.S. of colluding with the Taliban to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan and has attacked the Taliban for talking to foreigners while killing Afghan civilians in their homeland. Earlier this month, Karzai accused the West of trying to craft an agreement between the Taliban and his political opponents and vowed to oppose the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar if it was used for talks with anyone other than his government. The U.S. has denied the allegations.

    The Afghan president also has stepped up his rhetoric against his political opponents, trying to paint them as American pawns in a grand U.S. scheme to install a government of its liking when the United States and the NATO withdraws its combat troops by Dec. 31, 2014. The troop withdrawal and presidential elections are two major events observers fear could bring instability to Afghanistan.

    Trying to put its stamp on the future, the opposition — united under a single banner called the Council of Cooperation of Political Parties — say it has reached out to both the Taliban and Hekmatyar, a one-time U.S. ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington.

    In addition to getting the blessing of Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar, any peace deal would have to be supported by Hekmatyar, who has thousands of fighters and followers, primarily in the north and east. Omar and Hekmatyar are bitter rivals, but both launch attacks on Afghan government and foreign forces and both have suspended direct talks with the U.S., saying they were going nowhere.

    "We want a solution for Afghanistan ... but every step should be a soft one," said Hamid Gailani, a founding member of the united opposition. "We have to start somewhere."

    The opposition group is full of political heavyweights.

    There are former presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ali Ahmed Jalali — both of whom were said to be Washington's preferred candidates in the last presidential election in 2009. There's also Rashid Dostum, who leads the minority Uzbek ethnic group and Mohammed Mohaqiq, the leader of another minority ethnic group called the Hazaras. Also in the group is Ahmed Zia Massoud, a former Afghan vice president and the brother of anti-Taliban fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud, the charismatic leader of the ethnic minority Tajiks who died in an al-Qaida suicide attack two days before the Sept. 11 attacks that provoked the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

    A senior official with Hekmatyar, who is familiar with the many negotiating threads of his organization, confirmed that representatives have met with Karzai's opposition. He said the talks were nascent, but refused to give additional details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

    Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied that the Taliban were talking with the opposition group. But a second Taliban official confirmed that the Taliban has been in contact with opposition members in Kabul. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized by the movement to speak to the media.

    Gailani said the opposition group is in discussions with Taliban interlocutors who are close to Omar. He refused to identify them, saying it could put them at risk with the both the Afghan government and other members of the Taliban opposed to peace talks.

    Hekmatyar has laid out a 15-point plan for Afghanistan's future that calls for a broad-based government, nationwide elections, an interim administration and a series of election reforms.

    The Taliban have been less clear about how they envision a future Afghanistan. However, late last year Omar, the one-eyed, reclusive leader of the Taliban, issued a statement in English that seemed unusually conciliatory and flexible. In the statement, which was widely circulated by the Taliban's media wing, Omar said the Taliban neither wanted to monopolize power nor start another civil war like the one that evolved after the Russian-backed communist government fell in 1992.

    "As to the future political destiny of the country, I would like to repeat that we are neither thinking of monopolizing power nor intend to spark off domestic war, but only try that the future political fate of the country must be determined by the Afghans themselves without any interference from big countries and neighbors, and it must be Islamic and Afghan in form," said Omar in his statement.

    The United States largely ignored the statement when it was issued, a senior U.S official told the AP. He said the statement was examined belatedly.

    A second senior U.S. official, who is familiar with Washington's attempts at talking with the Taliban, said there have been "no, no, no direct contacts of the U.S, with Taliban since January 2012."

    Both U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

    Apparently frustrated by the lack of any progress in talks with the U.S., two Taliban officials told the AP that the religious movement's governing council, was contemplating removing Tayyab Aga — special assistant to Omar during the Taliban's rule — as their lead negotiator because he "could not achieve the expected results." They did not explain what results have been expected, but the militant group has demanded the release of five senior Taliban figures being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, — something the U.S. has so far rejected to do.

    Mullah Abbas Akhund, the Taliban's health minister, is being tapped as Aga's replacement, according to the two Taliban officials, who spoke anonymously because they feared repercussions from other Taliban members for speaking to the media. A veteran Taliban, Akhund escaped when the Taliban fled Kabul in November 2001 by hiding among Afghanistan's kuchis, or nomadic tribes, that roam the country relatively unhindered by any faction in the conflict.

    Talks with the U.S. were temporarily scuttled in early 2011 by Afghan officials who were worried that the secret, independent talks would undercut Karzai. They quietly resumed with each side seeking small signs of cooperation, but the Taliban shut down all talks with the United States after it refused to release its colleagues from Guantanamo Bay.

    A third U.S. official, also speaking anonymously because of the secret nature of some meetings, said some unofficial contacts between the Taliban and U.S. officials have taken place in the Middle East. The official refused to identify the country or the Taliban interlocutor.

    The Taliban have also sought to make their negotiating team more palatable to the West by including Qari Din Mohammed, an ethnic Tajik from Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan province, the two Taliban officials said. The Taliban are predominantly Pashtun, the majority ethnic group that dominates southern and eastern Afghanistan.

    But even as the Taliban's governing council contemplates ways of gaining traction on talks, there are some in the militant group who oppose them altogether, according to members of the Taliban as well as Western diplomats.

    Some younger members of the group believe they are winning the war and see negotiations as a sell-out. The Taliban's top military man, Zakir Qayyum, a former Guantanamo prisoner, is dead set against the talks, Taliban and Western diplomats say, but even members of the military council say Qayyum will back down if Omar orders up a peace deal.

    ____

    Read more: Karzai opponents open talks with Taliban; Taliban considers replacing key negotiator | Fox News
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    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    The debate has already begun!
    By Tariq FatemiPublished: April 30, 2013

    The writer was Pakistan’s ambassador to the EU from 2001-2004 and to the US in 1999 tariq.fatemi@tribune.com.pk

    The US and Nato forces have another year and a half to go before they leave Afghanistan and yet, the debate has already begun as to who and what is responsible for the dismal failure looming large in that country. This was inevitable but the fact that this has begun so early is primarily because of the growing conviction amongst scholars and diplomats that for all the hundreds of billions spent in Afghanistan and many valuable lives lost, the US and its allies may have little to point to in terms of justifying any of the much-vaunted reasons advanced for the invasion of Afghanistan.

    This debate has been triggered primarily because of an explosive book by Vali Nasr, a well-regarded scholar, closely associated with the administration’s Af-Pak policy. As a confidant and adviser of President Barack Obama’s Special Representative, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, he had a unique opportunity of witnessing and participating in the formulation and execution of US policy, or lack thereof.

    Though Nasr’s The Dispensable Nation makes his sympathy for Holbrooke clear, there is no doubt that the book has valuable comments on the Arab Spring and US policy in the Middle East. Since we are, however, primarily concerned with this region, Vali’s well-reasoned analysis need to be considered by policymakers in the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    His most interesting comments relate to the power and influence of the US military intelligence lobby and its increasing success in dominating the foreign policy debate. This has always been true though it has certainly gained strength since President Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech warning of the growing threat from the military-industrial complex. Since 9/11, this coalition has been reinforced thanks to the close collaboration of the intelligence agencies, a phenomenon which cannot but arouse a quiet chuckle among Pakistanis — so accustomed are they to the clout of this powerful coalition.

    The second and more disappointing revelation relates to the confirmation of constant interference by the White House political appointees in any serious initiative by the State Department to set relations with Pakistan on a durable basis. Holbrooke was right to highlight the importance of Pakistan, not only in the context of Afghanistan but also in its own right. This was to be done by not simply enhancing economic assistance but by transforming relations with Pakistan to make them truly “strategic”. His recommendations were not only turned down by the White House but failed to win the support of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who chose to side with the military intelligence, perceiving this as more advantageous in burnishing her hawkish credentials and assisting in her future political ambitions. But it was not Clinton alone who was influenced by domestic considerations. Obama, too, ignored Holbrooke’s sensible policies, convinced of the need to shield himself from Republican criticism by giving primacy to the military surge, while protecting himself from disappointment in his own ranks, by signalling a time frame to “quit” this theatre of operations. Consequently, the focus of foreign policy shifted from diplomacy to crude pressure on Pakistan, which in Nasr’s view, was responsible for inconsistent policies that resulted in intense anti-American sentiments in Pakistan and weakened American influence in the Middle East.

    This reinforced Pakistan’s fear of history being repeated — being “used” and then being “abandoned”. On the other hand, the Americans were outraged at what they saw as Pakistan’s duplicity. Resultantly, mutual doubts and misgivings fed on each other, bringing relations to an unprecedented low, from which climbing out has not been easy. The results are right before us, with a “reconciliation” process, which neither side is serious about, adding to uncertainty and concern with each passing day, described by the outgoing French Ambassador last weekend as the fear that post-2014, Afghanistan could be engulfed in a “perfect storm of political and military upheaval”.

    Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2013.
    The debate has already begun! – The Express Tribune
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  7. #7
    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Some excerpts from an article in the Times by Christine Fair - I don't agree with everything she has written, but she makes some interesting points, some mirroring my own views over the years:
    =====================================
    ...

    Taking Home the Booby Prize?

    As 2014 looms, the United States should recognize that some meager prospects for a peaceful Pakistan may be the prize rather than a functional Afghanistan. If that cannot be secured, then the United States should at least aim for the “booby prize” of helping to ensure that Pakistan does not become a South Asian North Korea.

    Unfortunately, during the last 11 years, Washington and its allies have persistently pursued a policy—howsoever inept and ill-conceived—that prioritized Afghanistan. Unable to forge a tandem policy to manage the twinned threats inhering in and from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the international community had a semblance of an Afghanistan strategy while never formulating a Pakistan strategy at all. A simple perusal of the March 2009 White House paper, titled “New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” belies the ruse of a policy for Pakistan.

    Despite lacking a clear vision for the country, in the early years of the war Pakistan and the United States had a strong counter-terror and military-to-military relationship centered upon al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has been hostile to Pakistan and has declared war on that state. Equally important, al Qaeda was never an asset to Pakistan. However, the United States and NATO expanded the goals of the Afghan effort to include “nation building” and “defeating the Taliban.”

    This was a vital mistake.

    In doing so, the United States locked itself in a proxy war with Pakistan. After all, the Taliban are Pakistan’s cherished proxies for any number of reasons. It has been the Taliban—not al Qaeda—that has killed thousands of Americans and their allies and tens of thousands of Afghans. Oddly, declaring war on the Taliban never served U.S. interests. The disastrous opinion was based upon the fraudulent conflation of al Qaeda and the Taliban and a failure to recognize that the Taliban itself continues to evolve.

    By identifying the Taliban as the foe, the United States required a much larger military presence in Afghanistan.

    Driven by the COINista fantasy of the applicability of FM-324 (the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines Counterinsurgency Field Manual), military officials and their Beltway bandit allies pushed for a surge in Afghanistan. This was folly. If you took the farcical FM 3-24 at face value, as many as 500,000 troops would be required to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Ironically, this expanded footprint increased the reliance upon Pakistan through which most material passed to supply the war. “Defeating” the Taliban—by any definition of defeat selected—would require putting pressure on Pakistan to close sanctuaries, cease active and passive support, and aggressively kill Taliban and their allies in the tribal areas as well as in the cities of Quetta, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad. It would also require a competent partner in Kabul, dedicated to good governance rather than looting the country, and building “safe havens” for the regime and its cronies in Dubai and elsewhere.

    ...

    Many Afghan hands hope — against most odds — that the United States will continue subsidizing the overgrown, rentier state that the United States helped to build. Indeed, unless the United States keeps footing the bill, the Afghan National Security Forces will likely collapse into a series of militias that will fight for the spoils of a retrograde state.

    The Taliban may even return in some measure. But this does not matter. The Taliban are Jurassic savages. But they would not kill Americans if the Americans and their allies were not there occupying the country.

    Under no circumstances could the United States ever have defeated the Taliban at a price Americans would be willing to pay.

    There was never any way to “kill our way” out of this problem or buy hearts and minds in adequate numbers. The United States, a still relatively law-bound nation, is not willing to engage in the gruesome depopulation that would have been necessary to defeat of the Taliban.

    ...

    Rewarding Nuclear Blackmail?

    This author opposed the 2005 U.S.-India nuclear deal for several reasons.

    First, I thought it hurt the goal of nuclear nonproliferation to let India into the nuclear club while elsewhere trying to tighten the noose to keep Iran out.

    Second, while I support strong U.S.-India ties, I was not persuaded that the deal would open the door to deeper U.S. and Indian strategic cooperation and American weapons sales to India as promised.

    Third, I was annoyed at the misrepresentations made by its proponents during numerous congressional hearings on the subject.

    Fourth, I understood that it would give Pakistan wiggle room regarding its nuclear aspirations.

    Finally, I anticipated that should Pakistan fail to secure such a deal, it would likely work to sabotage everything the United States was trying to do in Afghanistan. After all, Pakistan sees itself as paying a heavy price for supporting the U.S., while India reaps rewards without such cost.

    If the United States wants one last chance of salvaging a relationship with Pakistan, it should put on the table a conditions-based, civilian-nuclear deal. Whereas the deal with India was motivated by a desire to work with India, in the region and beyond, to manage China’s rise, this deal with Pakistan would be aimed to slowly wean it from its jihad addiction and work with Pakistan to secure the command and control and ultimate safety of its expanding nuclear weapons. It should be recalled that the India-U.S. nuclear deal remains a work in progress, even though the deal was announced in 2005—some eight years ago.

    Pakistan’s leaders note, in private, that they really do not need the United States because they have China. That claim is hollow. China only provides loans and engages Pakistan on extractive terms to service its own goals. Its weapons systems are of uneven quality and generally are no match for American systems. Worse yet, China cannot confer legitimacy to Pakistan’s nuclear program, as the United States can as it did for India.

    Putting this on the negotiating table with Pakistan should have a clarifying effect. If Pakistan is unwilling to give up its jihadi assets for this enormous offer, the United States will understand that there is literally nothing in its tool box that can help coax Pakistan off the trajectory of a rogue state that terrorizes its citizens at home and others abroad.

    Read more: Can This Alliance Be Saved? Salvaging the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship | TIME.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post

    First, I thought it hurt the goal of nuclear nonproliferation to let India into the nuclear club while elsewhere trying to tighten the noose to keep Iran out.

    Second, while I support strong U.S.-India ties, I was not persuaded that the deal would open the door to deeper U.S. and Indian strategic cooperation and American weapons sales to India as promised.

    Third, I was annoyed at the misrepresentations made by its proponents during numerous congressional hearings on the subject.

    Fourth, I understood that it would give Pakistan wiggle room regarding its nuclear aspirations.

    Finally, I anticipated that should Pakistan fail to secure such a deal, it would likely work to sabotage everything the United States was trying to do in Afghanistan. After all, Pakistan sees itself as paying a heavy price for supporting the U.S., while India reaps rewards without such cost.
    So C-17, C-130, P-8I,Apaches, Chinooks, Howitzers are not weapons deals? Boeing alone has more 15 billion worth of deals.

    The excuse that Pakistan will sabotage US plans in Afghanistan because of the nuke deal, is pure horse s***. Nuke deal or no deal, the outcome of US involvement in Afghanistan will be exactly the same as it is now. It is the US which pays Pakistan to kill US servicemen. It was the case before the nuke deal and it is the case now.

    Usual case of good cop, bad cop by Ms Fairs.

  9. #9
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n21 View Post
    So C-17, C-130, P-8I,Apaches, Chinooks, Howitzers are not weapons deals? Boeing alone has more 15 billion worth of deals.

    The excuse that Pakistan will sabotage US plans in Afghanistan because of the nuke deal, is pure horse s***. Nuke deal or no deal, the outcome of US involvement in Afghanistan will be exactly the same as it is now. It is the US which pays Pakistan to kill US servicemen. It was the case before the nuke deal and it is the case now.

    Usual case of good cop, bad cop by Ms Fairs.
    The uk donates half a billion a year to Pak as well


    Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt, and being REAL gets you hated.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tankie View Post
    The uk donates half a billion a year to Pak as well
    But sir you are a rich country unlike us.

    So you can understand what we feel.

    Little known fact that I found out recently.

    There are over 35,000 graduate and post-graduate Afghan students studying in colleges across India, mostly in Pune and Delhi.

    Our government not only gives most of them (over 95% per two Afghan brothers I met on a flight) free education, but also a stipend of 10,000 rupees every month!

    That is more than the monthly income of a vast majority millions of our poor Indians.

    P.S. After books and food and mess and hostel rent, I get just around 5,000 rupess per month from home.

  11. #11
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doppelganger View Post
    But sir you are a rich country unlike us.

    So you can understand what we feel.

    Little known fact that I found out recently.

    There are over 35,000 graduate and post-graduate Afghan students studying in colleges across India, mostly in Pune and Delhi.

    Our government not only gives most of them (over 95% per two Afghan brothers I met on a flight) free education, but also a stipend of 10,000 rupees every month!

    Got some hard data on that? The figure I read was 500 scholarships in India & 10,000 Afghan students overseas in total, not just India

    That is more than the monthly income of a vast majority millions of our poor Indians.

    P.S. After books and food and mess and hostel rent, I get just around 5,000 rupess per month from home.
    Got some hard data on that? From what I read there were only about 10,000 Afghan students overseas in total, 5000-7500 in India (at all levels of tertiary education) & 500-1000 scholarships in India. The figures jump around a bit, but nothing seems to get even close to the numbers you are putting up.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Got some hard data on that? From what I read there were only about 10,000 Afghan students overseas in total, 5000-7500 in India (at all levels of tertiary education) & 500-1000 scholarships in India. The figures jump around a bit, but nothing seems to get even close to the numbers you are putting up.
    Just what I heard from these Afghan students I met on Delhi flight. Going home for vacation to Kabul. And what I know from some Baloch friends I have in college who have an Afghan Anjuman based out of Kondhwa (an area in Pune) here - which numbers in excess of 12,000 students for Pune alone. Biggest population after the Iranians. The Jordanians long since pushed down the order.

  13. #13
    Rickshaw Professional Senior Contributor Pedicabby's Avatar
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    But sir you are a rich country unlike us.
    You have a nuke weapons program as well as a space program. IMHO my tax pounds should not be sent to you're country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedicabby View Post
    You have a nuke weapons program as well as a space program. IMHO my tax pounds should not be sent to you're country.
    I have off-topic opinions too.

    Like how there are no free lunches, and how your tax pounds are spent with expectations of tangible returns in terms of plum defence contracts.

    On topic, however, I have nothing more to say to this.

  15. #15
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doppelganger View Post
    But sir you are a rich country unlike us.
    Oh thats ok then , i just love giving hard earned money away , especially to countries who harbor and train terrorists to kill my fellow Brits .


    Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt, and being REAL gets you hated.

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