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Afghanistan's new force for change

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  • kuku
    replied
    What peace can there be with these fanatical religious terrorists around?

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  • Tronic
    replied
    Originally posted by 1980s View Post
    Im not opposed to whatever relations Afghanistan and India want to develop together, i just dont share the Indian optimism that opening up Afghanistan via Iranian ports like Chabahar will realistically offer any major economic or political benefits to either Iran or India in the short or possibly long term either. For Chabahar to matter at all, Afghans need to show enthusiasm for it, which i dont believe they have. Iran after all, is second only to Pakistan on the Afghans list of most mistrusted foreign states. They dont want any more Iranian leverage over their economic and political affairs, which Iran already does exert in some parts of Afghanistan. While OTHO, Iranians do not want to make it easier for even more Afghan migrants to enter into Iran, as i mentioned before, which proposed new rail and road connections will do (despite some already being constructed). These are just two reasons why i think both Iran and Afghanistan have not seriously considered Chabahar in the way that Indians do.
    Actually, I think the port of Chah Bahar has been a victim to the slow moving Indian bureaucracy than it has been to any lack of interest from Iran or Afghanistan. As Gwadar port faltered in Pakistan, Chah Bahar went on the backburner. Now that the Chinese have stepped into Gwadar, India is again eyeing Chah Bahar. The Iranians have already invested $350 million in the Chah Bahar port, while the Indian MEA was still contemplating it's "investment options" for the port just last year.

    Infact, just did a quick search, and it seems India still hasn't put it's money where it's mouth is:

    India is set to sign a transit agreement with Iran, and invest over USD 100 million in the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar in order to facilitate the transportation of commodities to Afghanistan.
    PressTV - India to ink transit agreement with Iran to ship goods to Afghanistan
    Wonder how long it takes them to go from "set" to "go".

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  • 1980s
    replied
    Af-Pak Debate Across the Border - TOLO news

    Thanks for brining attention to that debate. I managed to find the full 1 hour 17 minute debate on Afghanistan's TOLO news channel. While it was interesting, i have to say that on the whole it was pretty much a waste of time to watch the entire thing. I say that because the Pakistani panellists were utterly incapable of engaging in any serious debate, failed to address any of the questions put forward to them and were in complete disarray throughout. All they did throughout the entire program was to repeat the same, tired old lines that 'we should move beyond rhetoric', 'move beyond the blame game' etc. This was in stark contrast to the Afghan panellists who were cool, dignified and serious in their approach to the debate and the questions put forward to them.

    So while on the whole a waste of time as a debate, this program was very revealing in other ways and quite useful in observing the huge differences in mentality and culture between Afghans and Pakistanis.

    Full show:

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  • ambidex
    replied


    Please remove if it is not relevant to thread. I think It can be.

    Thanks.

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  • 1980s
    replied
    Originally posted by Doktor View Post
    Let's forget about India for a second.

    We have China pouring a lot of cash in the country.

    Won't they slap their Pakistani friends if something goes wrong with Chinese money and Pakistanis are at fault for that? Can Pakistan afford Chinese to turn their backs?

    Then we have Iran who gets more isolated with each day (or so it seems over here anyway) refusing cooperation?

    Interesting situation. Never understood the dynamics in the region, can someone guide me on this?
    In the news lately it was reported that the Pakistanis have effectively ceded the Gwadar port in Balochistan to the Chinese, so there is little reason to think that China would consider turning its back on Pakistan just yet. But you're right that China has already staked out some huge long term investments and projects for Afghanistan. That should be enough to influence Pakistan's post-2014 behaviour. If not, then it will certainly influence China's position on Pakistan. Either way, Pakistan loses in that sense. But still, it is yet to be seen whether China is about to take on more than it can handle in Afghanistan.

    As for Iran, Ahmadinejad will be gone in about 3 months. To his credit, he did actually try to have Iran tangibly engage more with its Central Asian neighbours in a way that previous Iranian governments did not bother to do. But with the harsh US led sanctions regime being placed on Iran i think it is unlikely that the next government will be able or willing to play any major role there. Particularly not while US and NATO forces are still around.

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  • Doktor
    replied
    Let's forget about India for a second.

    We have China pouring a lot of cash in the country.

    Won't they slap their Pakistani friends if something goes wrong with Chinese money and Pakistanis are at fault for that? Can Pakistan afford Chinese to turn their backs?

    Then we have Iran who gets more isolated with each day (or so it seems over here anyway) refusing cooperation?

    Interesting situation. Never understood the dynamics in the region, can someone guide me on this?

    Leave a comment:


  • 1980s
    replied
    Im not opposed to whatever relations Afghanistan and India want to develop together, i just dont share the Indian optimism that opening up Afghanistan via Iranian ports like Chabahar will realistically offer any major economic or political benefits to either Iran or India in the short or possibly long term either. For Chabahar to matter at all, Afghans need to show enthusiasm for it, which i dont believe they have. Iran after all, is second only to Pakistan on the Afghans list of most mistrusted foreign states. They dont want any more Iranian leverage over their economic and political affairs, which Iran already does exert in some parts of Afghanistan. While OTHO, Iranians do not want to make it easier for even more Afghan migrants to enter into Iran, as i mentioned before, which proposed new rail and road connections will do (despite some already being constructed). These are just two reasons why i think both Iran and Afghanistan have not seriously considered Chabahar in the way that Indians do.

    As for post-2014 Afghanistan, im not optimistic about even moderate stability at all. I have no doubt that Pakistan will continue to undermine Afghanistan and press the Taliban on into continuing what is effectively a Pakistani war against Afghans.

    Leave a comment:


  • ambidex
    replied
    Originally posted by 1980s View Post
    I dont want to distract away from the original topic too much, but thing is, projects like Chabahar port and linking Afghanistan to Iran via road and railway connections just arent the biggest priorities for the Iranian government, or seemingly even for the Afghans either. Its the Indians that care more about these projects than either Iranians or Afghans do.

    I think it would be better for Indians to just invest in developing the infrastructure in India itself than trying to invest in getting a land route to Afghanistan via Iran at this time. Afterall, India is often derided for having poor infrastructure while Afghanistan is among the poorest and most corrupt places in the World. Hardly an attractive market or investment for foreigners, especially once Western forces leave at the end of 2014.

    So on paper, Indians having access to Afghanistan via Iran might look like a great investment, but in reality i just dont see anything tangible actually coming out of it for the Indians. In the short term, rather than mutually beneficial trade (Afghanistan has little to nothing that Iran actually wants or needs, hence why these projects arent a priority for Iran) these connections are only likely to facilitate an ever greater movement of Afghan refugees and illegal immigrants to Iran, something Iranians do not want, and neither does Europe, which is the preferred destination for tens of thousands of Afghan migrants each year that try to transit to Europe through Iran. Iranians do not want to make it easier for even more Afghans to enter Iran, harsh as that may sound.

    Im sorry, but Indian ideas about having access to Afghanistan via Iran as being hugely beneficial to their political and economic influence seem to be wholly removed from the Afghan reality of being a mostly rural, illiterate and medieval country where if given half a chance, the majority of people would flee rather than stay and trade with Indians.
    It is good to learn a new POV and read a thought provoking post of yours. I understand the topic can veer off the track after when India will be mentioned extensively in it.

    I think the topic connects well with the points I have raised. Regardless of all the fine prints and minute details of ethnic phenomenons of Afghanistan and Taliban factor ANA will be a massive force in next 5-7 years. They need money to look after their security needs and extensive consultancies which have been so far provided and shaped by NATO. India has been training ANA officers in large numbers, providing them with weapons can't be ruled out either. But If you think Afghanistan's prognosis is hopeless then I have to know the purpose of this thread.

    The kind of infrastructure we have is quite good and has given us the know hows of developing the same or less or better somewhere else, Afghanistan is quite an opportunity of our skills to earn revenues. The kind of investments we foresee and deals we have clinched exploring minerals, how much China is planning to invest, suggests Afghanistan is a not a bad destination.

    The article you posted (which I think you believe in it) has clearly reflects how Afghanistan perceives Pakistan, it second India's stand as well. If Pakistan is going to remain hostile then how Afghanistan be able to become prosperous being literally Isolated and locked down withing two non conducive borders form either sides ?

    Or you are simply think they should be left alone, abandoned ?

    or

    USA and west is enough to take care of them, India should piss off ?

    or

    Afghanistan's concerns about Pakistan are unsubstantiated and they will be good with them, vice versa ?

    or

    China having access through Pakistan will be good enough to fill all the vacuums ?
    Last edited by ambidex; 11 Mar 13,, 22:26.

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  • anil
    replied
    A general matters. Pashtuns and balochis who served in the british indian army were commanded by british generals. Post draw down, what ANA needs is discipline, clever fire power and american generals.

    Kashmir valley is not too big. But it takes a lot of indian troops and CI resources stationed in kashmir to prevent pakistan from employing its insurgency exploit in that region. Kashmir valley is 16,000 sqkm. Afghanistan is more than 600,000 sqkm which means tremendous possibility for exploit.

    The real question is whether the jockey is still in control of its horses or not. The owner thinks he does. Either way, afghanistan looses isn't it? Saleh could find another career else he's going to have his heart broken in the long run.
    Last edited by anil; 11 Mar 13,, 20:29.

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  • 1980s
    replied
    Originally posted by ambidex View Post
    Thanks,

    I got it.

    Well things went wrong after 2003 IAEA first report on Iran's enrichment and reprocessing activities. Wrong means for country like India who were able to access Afghanistan via Chabhar port. Now there is tremendous pressure on us to stop buying oil which in turn has gradually made Iran benign towards our development of that port and road access which we could have used to by pass Pakistan. As we are shrinking our oil imports more Iran is negotiating soft with Pakistan, otherwise Iran is a difficult trading partner when it comes to negotiating price. Now they are providing loans to Pakistan for IP pipeline.

    Having said that given we have been exempted by USA from sanctions and GoI will still continue buy adequate oil from Iran I personally feels Iran will be a lost case for India soon and ultimately Afghanistan as well.
    I dont want to distract away from the original topic too much, but thing is, projects like Chabahar port and linking Afghanistan to Iran via road and railway connections just arent the biggest priorities for the Iranian government, or seemingly even for the Afghans either. Its the Indians that care more about these projects than either Iranians or Afghans do.

    I think it would be better for Indians to just invest in developing the infrastructure in India itself than trying to invest in getting a land route to Afghanistan via Iran at this time. Afterall, India is often derided for having poor infrastructure while Afghanistan is among the poorest and most corrupt places in the World. Hardly an attractive market or investment for foreigners, especially once Western forces leave at the end of 2014.

    So on paper, Indians having access to Afghanistan via Iran might look like a great investment, but in reality i just dont see anything tangible actually coming out of it for the Indians. In the short term, rather than mutually beneficial trade (Afghanistan has little to nothing that Iran actually wants or needs, hence why these projects arent a priority for Iran) these connections are only likely to facilitate an ever greater movement of Afghan refugees and illegal immigrants to Iran, something Iranians do not want, and neither does Europe, which is the preferred destination for tens of thousands of Afghan migrants each year that try to transit to Europe through Iran. Iranians do not want to make it easier for even more Afghans to enter Iran, harsh as that may sound.

    Im sorry, but Indian ideas about having access to Afghanistan via Iran as being hugely beneficial to their political and economic influence seem to be wholly removed from the Afghan reality of being a mostly rural, illiterate and medieval country where if given half a chance, the majority of people would flee rather than stay and trade with Indians.

    Leave a comment:


  • ambidex
    replied
    Originally posted by 1980s View Post
    Iran never offered the US or NATO access to Afghanistan via its territory and would not have been able to do so even if it had wanted to (for ideological reasons not least relating to its stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Iran's post-revolutionary and self-proclaimed position of being at the helm of Middle Eastern and 3rd World resistance - issues which are far more important to Iran than Afghanistan is). So i dont know on what issue you're saying that the West wouldnt compromise on with Iran's regime vis-a-vis Iranian support for their war in Afghanistan, which Iran initially did cooperate on with the West to some extent until Bush's 'axis of evil' fiasco.
    Thanks,

    I got it.

    I can lie because my post has the scope for me but I was missing the Ideology part and even just one day back I have watched Argo .

    Well things went wrong after 2003 IAEA first report on Iran's enrichment and reprocessing activities. Wrong means for country like India who were able to access Afghanistan via Chabhar port. Now there is tremendous pressure on us to stop buying oil which in turn has gradually made Iran benign towards our development of that port and road access which we could have used to by pass Pakistan. As we are shrinking our oil imports more Iran is negotiating soft with Pakistan, otherwise Iran is a difficult trading partner when it comes to negotiating price. Now they are providing loans to Pakistan for IP pipeline.

    Having said that given we have been exempted by USA from sanctions and GoI will still continue buy adequate oil from Iran I personally feels Iran will be a lost case for India soon and ultimately Afghanistan as well.
    Last edited by ambidex; 11 Mar 13,, 16:49.

    Leave a comment:


  • 1980s
    replied
    Originally posted by ambidex View Post
    Access to Afghanistan via Iran could have solved Afghanistan's Pakistan problem and its strategic partnership with countries like India more effectual especially for to help ANA. But USA and west wouldn't compromise with Iran for obvious (genuine) reasons so Pakistan is still the safest bet (the reasons given above I concur) regardless of what ex head of Afghanistan's intelligence service is saying about them.

    Tricky situation for Afghanistan.
    Iran never offered the US or NATO access to Afghanistan via its territory and would not have been able to do so even if it had wanted to (for ideological reasons not least relating to its stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Iran's post-revolutionary and self-proclaimed position of being at the helm of Middle Eastern and 3rd World resistance - issues which are far more important to Iran than Afghanistan is). So i dont know on what issue you're saying that the West wouldnt compromise on with Iran's regime vis-a-vis Iranian support for their war in Afghanistan, which Iran initially did cooperate on with the West to some extent until Bush's 'axis of evil' fiasco.

    Leave a comment:


  • ambidex
    replied
    Access to Afghanistan via Iran could have solved Afghanistan's Pakistan problem and its strategic partnership with countries like India more effectual especially for to help ANA. But USA and west wouldn't compromise with Iran for obvious (genuine) reasons so Pakistan is still the safest bet (the reasons given above I concur) regardless of what ex head of Afghanistan's intelligence service is saying about them.

    Tricky situation for Afghanistan.

    Leave a comment:


  • 1980s
    replied
    Strong words for the West by Saleh, and not without good cause or reason. I can feel his frustration.

    Full article: What Went Wrong in Afghanistan? | Foreign Policy (Includes a wholly imbecilic piece from Pervez Musharraf)

    _________________________________________


    What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?

    We asked everyone from an ex-president of Pakistan to a former Afghan spy chief to weigh in.


    Amrullah Saleh: Believing Pakistan could change

    In Afghanistan, politics are a matter of life and death. Right now, the Afghan people are anxiously waiting to see what becomes of their country after 2014, when NATO ends its combat mission here. The strength of the insurgency has prompted them to ask a simple question: Is NATO losing and the Taliban winning?

    From rural farmers all the way to the educated urban elite, there is widespread confusion about the role the United States is playing in their country. Afghans complain that Washington is financing both sides of the conflict: Even as it subsidizes the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), which are fighting the Taliban insurgency, the United States is providing significant financial and military aid to Pakistan, the key country sponsoring the anti-NATO insurgency.

    This lack of clarity has fostered an atmosphere of mistrust. It has given birth to conspiracy theories that the United States doesn't want the war to end -- why else would it fund both sides in a war?

    The truth of the matter is that the United States is simply too afraid of Pakistan to sever ties with it. Islamabad is capitalizing on the West's fear and short-term security concerns, and its army and intelligence establishment have a long history of supporting Islamist extremists for their own ends. The West sees these radicals as one of its primary security challenges and has decided it is better off proceeding as if nothing is wrong with its relationship with Pakistan.

    After all, confronting Pakistan directly could cost Western lives. Several European countries have significant populations of naturalized citizens of Pakistani origin. These Pakistani Europeans travel to Pakistan's tribal areas -- a primary hub for al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist outfits. Members of Western intelligence circles believe that without maintaining good relations with the Pakistani military and the intelligence establishment, there is a risk that the 9/11 attacks could be repeated.

    Dealing with Pakistan, therefore, has become a necessary evil. Western strategists are sitting on piles of intelligence implicating Pakistan in major terrorism plots -- such as the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which claimed 166 lives -- yet the country is not treated as an enemy. Doing so would be too costly: Pakistan is, after all, a nuclear-armed state, the patron for terrorist groups across the region, and home to 180 million people. The West simply lacks the guts and resources to officially treat Pakistan as a threat.

    NATO and particularly the United States therefore imagine Pakistan as part of the strategic solution. If only Islamabad would use its deep knowledge of militant groups to quash them, they believe, the world could strike a mortal blow against terrorism. Particularly following the 9/11 attacks, the West hoped that Pakistan would change course -- and in doing so, shift the strategic balance in the region. There was only one problem with that logic: Islamabad had no intention of playing along.

    Because of Pakistani meddling, Afghanistan has not been able to create NATO's hoped-for shift in the balance of power by itself. Despite enormous progress, the country lacks the military strength to defend itself against its scheming neighbors and their extremist militant proxies. Kabul's signing of strategic partnership agreements with a number of NATO countries and India has provided Afghanistan with some strategic depth -- but it is not enough.

    Despite the resources that NATO has poured into Afghanistan, the ANSF will remain dependent on international assistance for some time. The army and police force is primarily designed for quelling domestic violence. It lacks the required air and ground capabilities to defend Afghanistan from foreign threats.

    Over a decade after the NATO invasion of Afghanistan and less than two years before the withdrawal of most international forces, it's fair to say this isn't where anyone hoped my country would be right now. But the question remains: What can be done now to conclusively drive terrorism out of Afghanistan and bring peace and stability to the lives of millions of Afghans?

    The Afghan government is pushing for a military defeat of the Taliban, which would halt Pakistan's use of militant extremism as the means to promote its foreign policy. But the U.S. government's policy of maintaining links with Pakistan has strengthened it in the region and beyond. Islamabad's support for militant groups gives it leverage over NATO and its neighbors -- and it won't relinquish this asset easily.

    Kabul knows better than to expect a second "surge" from the U.S. military. But if the Taliban remain resilient and determined not to negotiate in good faith with the government, something must be done. There has to be an ANSF surge -- a robust increase in training and equipment from NATO enablers.

    An increase in Afghan fighting capacity will be inevitable in the next two years, even if Kabul and the Taliban do launch negotiations. Whatever happens, there will be a few more fighting seasons yet: Cleared areas of Afghanistan need to be held, communication lines must be kept open, and major population centers defended. Maintaining military pressure on the Taliban is key for survival of the pluralistic state in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the democratic space will shrink, and the Taliban's bargaining power in future talks will increase further.

    Empowering the ANSF to take the fight to the Taliban isn't just important for Afghanistan -- it's also imperative for the United States. NATO needs an exit strategy that doesn't leave Afghanistan in chaos and that does leave behind a legitimate government, so that the country doesn't once again become a haven for terrorists.

    Some analysts have tried to paint this war as a conflict between Afghans. It isn't. In reality, it is a war between a Pakistan-supported militant group and the rest of the world. There are only two possible solutions: A Western-backed Afghan government decisively defeats the Taliban, or the Taliban agree to demilitarize and join the political process. The United States, however, should understand one thing very clearly: It would be making a huge error -- and confirming the Afghan people's worst fears -- if it picked up and left Afghanistan to the Taliban's brutal ways.

    Amrullah Saleh was head of Afghanistan's intelligence service from 2004 to 2010.

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  • 1980s
    replied
    BBC interview with Amrullah Saleh: BBC News - How secure is Afghanistan's future?

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