Afghanistan News & Discussion

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sum
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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby sum » 28 Mar 2010 13:47

Is it time for India also to be a chameleon like TSP, and instead of its steadfast opposition to Taliban, open up lines of communication with Taliban?

Hadn't a BRF-ite ( cant remember who) posted about Indians maintaining some Taliban contact some time back( as per his panwallah)?

He was roundly thrashed on the forum for suggesting such a thing.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shaardula » 29 Mar 2010 00:14

Obama's Afghanistan visit:

In fact, Mr. Obama’s trip is occurring during the Afghan night, and he is expected to be on his way back to Washington before most Afghans wake up Monday morning.

Air Force One landed at nighttime at Bagram Air Base after a 13-hour nonstop flight for a visit shrouded in secrecy for security reasons; Mr. Obama quickly boarded a helicopter for the trip to Kabul, landing at the presidential palace for talks with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

While Mr. Obama noted that military progress has been made in Afghanistan, he added, pointedly, that “we also want to continue to make progress on the civilian process,” mentioning several areas, including governance, anti-corruption and the rule of law.

His remarks came as he stood next to Mr. Karzai at the presidential palace after their meeting. Mr. Karzai is expected to visit Washington in May for additional talks.

In his comments, Mr. Karzai promised that his country “would move forward into the future” to eventually take over its own security, and he thanked Mr. Obama for the American intervention in his country, The Associated Press reported.

The Afghanistan trip also shows the president pivoting to national security concerns now that he has gotten the bulk of the health care fight behind him. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is to visit Mr. Obama this week in Washington, and Mr. Obama will be hosting a nuclear nonproliferation summit in Washington next month.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shaardula » 29 Mar 2010 00:56

A Story in LA Times about, the Center for Afghanistan Studies, University of Nebraska, Omaha.

It began as a fluke in the early 1970s, when administrators at the University of Nebraska at Omaha launched the Center for Afghanistan Studies. They wanted to distinguish the school as an international institution, and no other university was studying the then-peaceful nation half a world away. As Afghanistan became a central battleground in the Cold War and then in the war against terrorism, the center -- and its gregarious, well-connected director, Thomas Gouttierre -- were fortuitously poised. Equal parts research institute, development agency and consulting firm, the center has collected tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. military, the State Department and private contractors for its programs at home and in Afghanistan.

"I don't think the University of Nebraska has any business teaching kids anywhere in the world how to be killers," said Paul Olson, president of Nebraskans for Peace, an activist group that has been calling on the university to close the center for the last decade. As evidence, Olson points to the center's $60-million contract with the U.S. government in the 1980s to educate Afghan refugees who were living in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation. It printed millions of textbooks that featured material developed by the mujahedin resistance groups -- including images of machine guns and calls for jihad against the Soviets. Gouttierre says criticisms of the center are "revisionist" and fail to acknowledge the challenges of working in a society that has been at war for three decades. The center's aim, he says, has been to build cultural understanding and empower the Afghan people.


Funding Issues:
The U.S. funded its educational projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan until the 1990s, when the Taliban took power and the contracts dried up. That left the center to do "whatever was necessary" to continue its programs, Gouttierre said. In 1997, that meant signing a contract to train workers for Unocal, a California company that was trying to build a natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan. That year, several Taliban ministers came to Nebraska for a tour of the campus. Several women's groups, angry over the Taliban's repressive policies against women, protested.

It was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that launched Gouttierre -- and the center -- onto the international stage. The morning of the attacks, Gouttierre showed up to teach his Introduction to International Studies lecture and found half a dozen reporters sitting in the center aisle. Over the next 10 months, he said, he gave more than 2,000 interviews to journalists from around the globe who wanted to learn about the rise of the Taliban and about Osama bin Laden, whom Gouttierre had researched while on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan in the 1990s. The center's newfound prominence helped garner more funding.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby svinayak » 29 Mar 2010 01:01

shaardula wrote:
It was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that launched Gouttierre -- and the center -- onto the international stage. The morning of the attacks, Gouttierre showed up to teach his Introduction to International Studies lecture and found half a dozen reporters sitting in the center aisle. Over the next 10 months, he said, he gave more than 2,000 interviews to journalists from around the globe who wanted to learn about the rise of the Taliban and about Osama bin Laden, whom Gouttierre had researched while on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan in the 1990s. The center's newfound prominence helped garner more funding.

First create a monster and then become famous

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 29 Mar 2010 04:57

Very interesting indeed.
India shifts Afghan policy, ready to talk to Taliban
In the wake of a possible American pullout from Kabul next year, New Delhi has sharply re-oriented its strategy towards Afghanistan by reaching out to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami party and keeping its door open in case of a reconciliation effort by the Taliban.

While the new Afghan policy is being crafted at the highest levels with National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon playing a lead role, New Delhi is learnt to have made contact with Hizb-e-Islami party even though it knows that Hekmatyar is firmly under Pakistani control. New Delhi is also now amenable to talking to Taliban in case the latter are to open an engagement. This change in Indian posture comes as Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also talked about reconciling with India.

Top government sources told The Indian Express that New Delhi wants to reach out to the second generation Pashtun leaders like Nangarhar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai, and is with the former Northern Alliance leaders like Marshal Fahim, Karim Khallili and Mohammed Mohaqiq in backing President Hamid Karzai’s government.

This fine-tuning of India’s position on Afghanistan comes after exchange of views between top diplomats. After the February attack on Indians in Kabul, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Pakistan-Afghanistan envoy Satinder Lambah and former West Asia envoy Chinmay Gharekhan wanted India to adopt a neutral position in Afghanistan. This essentially meant keeping out of Aghanistan politics but carrying on the development works in the war-torn republic.

This month, this view was nuanced further by the UPA government, with New Delhi now all for an independent or neutral Afghanistan that does not require the crutches of neighbouring Pakistan. According to a paper prepared by the Ministry of External Affairs on the subject, India should back an Afghanistan that keeps out terrorism emanating from Pakistan and does not allow the state to slip back into the violence spiral of 1990s. The sub-text of the paper is that Afghanistan will come under the total influence of Pakistan if New Delhi were to let matters go out of hand.

While a section in South Block wants India to go back to supporting the former Northern Alliance faction, the fact is that all the top six alliance leaders are firmly backing Karzai, including Marshal Fahim, heir of legendary Ahmed Shah Masood, and Uzbek leader Mohammed Dostum. New Delhi is conscious of the fact that its former allies like Iran of the Northern Alliance days are still confused on whether they want the Americans out or the Taliban.

It is in this context that New Delhi wants to reach out to Pashtuns in the south and on the Durand Line while retaining ties with its Northern Alliance friends and President Karzai. So rather than the expected downscaling of Indian engagement in Afghanistan, New Delhi is all for enlarging it, lest it wants to let the republic be dominated by extremist forces of the past.

Good to see MEA banging heads and trying to work out a policy. We should look at Iranian policy, who are they backing etc. The route to Afg goes through Iran.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby pgbhat » 29 Mar 2010 05:01

^Thanks for posting.
It is in this context that New Delhi wants to reach out to Pashtuns in the south and on the Durand Line while retaining ties with its Northern Alliance friends and President Karzai. So rather than the expected downscaling of Indian engagement in Afghanistan, New Delhi is all for enlarging it, lest it wants to let the republic be dominated by extremist forces of the past.

This needs to be highlighted.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 29 Mar 2010 06:00

interesting article
Talking to Taliban and Tribal Warlords

Sunday 28 March 2010

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Meanwhile, the Pakistani army has undertaken an agitprop operation alleging links between India and the Taliban. Military aircraft drop pamphlets in North Waziristan on ties between the Taliban and India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The pamphlets also talk of relations between Israeli intelligence outfit Mossad and Indian consulates in Afghanistan.

Until recently, the official Indian stand was against attempts to differentiate between "good Taliban" and "bad Taliban." Of late, however, New Delhi has signaled its willingness to try out the line. The policy draws support from the thinking of the country's security establishment over more than a decade of experience in the Af-Pak region as well.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Neshant » 29 Mar 2010 06:05

looks like they are about to bomb their comrads for baksheesh from the US.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby krisna » 29 Mar 2010 07:37

shyamd wrote:interesting article
Talking to Taliban and Tribal Warlords

Sunday 28 March 2010

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Meanwhile, the Pakistani army has undertaken an agitprop operation alleging links between India and the Taliban. Military aircraft drop pamphlets in North Waziristan on ties between the Taliban and India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The pamphlets also talk of relations between Israeli intelligence outfit Mossad and Indian consulates in Afghanistan.
.


If RAA agints are responsible more power to them.
May this cause confusion among the ranks of paki taliban- :arrow: mutual suspicion, IED mubarak among themselves. Make them to look behind their rear to see if anyone is bent on soosai mission. :lol: wishing them lots of luck.

I have sent a priority email to jannat head to keep 72000000000 raisins. :rotfl:

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Pranav » 29 Mar 2010 13:23

Barack Obama has been visiting Kabul.

Hopefully that means that the US will stop sitting on the fence, and will do whatever it takes to stabilize Karzai and defeat Pak-sponsored elements.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby arun » 29 Mar 2010 15:35

In Afghan end-game, India gets that sinking feeling

Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:57am IST ……………………..

But the London conference on Afghanistan in January was a turning point for many in India. It ushered in the idea that Europe and the United States could accept getting certain Taliban commanders involved in a deal to bring stability to Afghanistan.

"There is a genuine sense of disappointment - even disbelief - that the US perspective on reconciling the Taliban evolved all too abruptly, contrary to what Delhi was given to understand," said M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat who has worked in Islamabad and Kabul.

While a significant number of other Afghanistan watchers say the euphoria over London was overdone, and question especially whether Washington significantly softened its position on reconciliation with the Taliban, Bhadrakumar's view is common in India……………………

Reuters


X Posted.

I really do not know if this rift between India and the US over policy towards the Taliban in Afghanistan is overblown because of a lack of appreciation of terminological nuances with people like Ambassador Bhadrakumar getting it wrong :-? .

Going by a February 4, 2010 article in the Voice of America there is apparently a significant terminological difference between “Reconciliation” and “Reintegration” when it comes to policy towards the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The US is reportedly pushing for “Reintegration” and not for “Reconciliation”. The Afghans on the other hand are pushing for “Reconciliation”. “Reintegration” which the US is pushing is defined as the “reintegration” of low-ranking Taliban members back into Afghan society and is not political “reconciliation” with Taliban leaders which is what Afghanistan is pushing for:

US, Afghanistan at Odds Over Reconciliation and Reintegration

India, just as the US, apparently has no difficulty with a policy of “Reintegration” according to a March 19, 2010 article by Indrani Bagchi in the Times of India:

India: No reconciling with Taliban, only 'reintegration'

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Sanku » 29 Mar 2010 17:41

This is from a channel which is not known to be critical to the UPA govt and MMS etc.

India outplayed, outsmarted in Afghanistan

The point is, the writing is REALLY on the wall.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby shyamd » 29 Mar 2010 18:04

Look, at the end of the day Taliban is mostly TSPA and is heavily backed by TSPA. Its obvious that TSP is going to have a major advantage in this battle for Afg. But, if the moves made by the NSA and co are indeed true, that we are approaching Hekmatyar and others, then our interests will be protected. Lets see what India can do near the Durand line, that is what will matter in the end. Wait and watch.

However, make no mistake, the keys to Taleban are in Pindi HQ and KSA. These arrests proved it.

But the story doesnt end here, the ANA and ANP needs to be built up too. Fly the ANA out to India and get them trained. It will help us greatly in the future,.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Pranav » 29 Mar 2010 18:45

Pranav wrote:Barack Obama has been visiting Kabul.

Hopefully that means that the US will stop sitting on the fence, and will do whatever it takes to stabilize Karzai and defeat Pak-sponsored elements.


Here is a rather different interpretation of Obama's Kabul trip:

Karzai's China-Iran dalliance riles Obama By M K Bhadrakumar
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LC30Df01.html

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby csharma » 30 Mar 2010 12:58

So it seems that Iran, Pak and China have a common interest in getting US out of Afghanistan. Maybe Iran decided to snub SM Krishna because of the China connection.

As Vikram Sood had said the US allies are China, Pakistan and Saudis. At least China and Pakistan seem to be wanting US to fail in Afghanistan.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Bhaskar » 31 Mar 2010 04:26

Sanku wrote:This is from a channel which is not known to be critical to the UPA govt and MMS etc.

India outplayed, outsmarted in Afghanistan

The point is, the writing is REALLY on the wall.

Need a better strategy for Afghanistan. I would say we should stage an attack on the Indian embassy and take Indians hostage there. This would lead to India sending troops to Afghanistan. We will then surround Pakistan on both sides. The Indian presence and the presence of India's spy agency would ensure a breakup of Balochistan.

Or we can continue with our humanitarian efforts there ... hoping to please the next Afghan government.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Johann » 31 Mar 2010 04:40

While I find the Taliban utterly odious, I do have to admire how they have transformed their fortunes.

They have moved from utter defeat to gaining the strategic initiative - absolutely everyone is courting the central leadership, or elements of the Taliban - the PA, the Iranians, the Chinese, the Indians, and of course the US and EU, all trying to make some kind of deal with them.

The question is what the limits of Taliban pragmatism are, and the extent to which anyone can outbid the PA. The improvement in road access from Iran (Indian and Iranian aid) and former Soviet Republics (US and EU aid) is going to weaken the Pakistanis economic hold but is it enough to really make a difference, given the population distribution?

China remains the biggest investor in Afghanistan by far, and so much of what they do is being routed through Pakistan because of the Karakorum Highway.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby RamaY » 31 Mar 2010 05:37

Johann wrote:While I find the Taliban utterly odious, I do have to admire how they have transformed their fortunes.


This assumes Taliban is different from TSPA. They were never the enemies. They are all-lies in GWOT.

The original enemy was Al-keeda remember? If Taliban were to handover Osama every body would be hugging and kissing.

The GWOT killed many nanha-talibanni-mujahids and out-of-favor leaders. The core and idealogy was never fought against and never hurt.

The real suffered were Afghani population before, during, and after GWOT.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Johann » 31 Mar 2010 10:57

RamaY,

The Taliban will work with the PA, and will trade favours with them, but they are not interested in being the PA's pawns.

The Taliban is far bigger and far more coherent than the jumble of Mujaheddin factions and commanders during the anti-communist jihad.

That gives them far more leverage with Pakistan than even any of the favoured individual faction leaders like Hekmatyar in the 1978-1992 period.

The ISI is trying to control the Taliban's contact with all other players, but I believe they will fail.

The Taliban's greatest assets are a combination of Deobandi fervour, Pashtun assertiveness/entitlement and a strong security consciousness. The PA and ISI are enablers of the Taliban, not its lifeblood. They can not do as they please with the movement and the organisation.

In Taliban/Pakiban controlled territory you can curse the PA all you want - but if you are even suspected of harbouring thoughts against the Taliban you could come to a very grisly, and very public end.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby joshvajohn » 31 Mar 2010 13:29

India suspends aid programmes in Afghanistan, businessmen slash staff
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 746187.cms

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Manu » 31 Mar 2010 13:40

Johann wrote:The question is what the limits of Taliban pragmatism are, and the extent to which anyone can outbid the PA.


Forgive my impertinence, but that is not the question.

The questions is how does a rag-tag militia sporting nothing more than AK-47s and RPGs defeat the most powerful military in the world? By the end of 2008, the U.S. had spent approximately $900 billion in direct costs on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars - what does it have to show for it?

In an insurgency (the situation in Afghanistan can hardly be described as a war), the insurgent only has to hold his ground to win - the side that backs out, loses.

U.S has lost in Afghanistan.

How is this not the second Vietnam for the United States of America? Can someone please explain?

And is the United States now so weak that it cannot, after almost 9 years, apprehend or kill the perpetrators of 9-11-2001?

What is the take-away from the Afghanistan situation for the West?

Islamist - 1, NATO - 0?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Johann » 31 Mar 2010 22:44

Manu, its a very good question, except that the vast majority of that sum has been spent in Iraq. And the majority that money went to build a massive supply chain, re-equip the Iraqi army and anti-Al Qaeda militias, and build random stuff to be blown up.

If you want it in a nutshell, the Taliban *really* wants to be back in power, and have done what they needed to. The Bush and Obama administrations have not thought deeply about a political strategy in Afghanistan because they didn't want to *really* have to figure out a place as complicated as Afghanistan.

The majority of Afghanistan's population is rural, and there was no Coalition or Afghan government presence in the majority of Afghan villages after the Taliban collapsed. It was wide open.

The Pashtun villages waited for 1,2,3,4 years for someone to show up, and the first people who did were the returning Taliban, who took the trouble to recruit locally and operate locally.

When after 2006 you start to see a Coaliton patrol of 8 men show up in soft hats and smiles for tea and a chat you're not in any position to do anything because the Taliban have already taken over, and will behead anyone who collaborates. Even when you're worried sick about the Taliban ambush on the patrol from your house. The patrol calls in an airstrike when they're pinned down and running out of ammo - your wife and sister are killed. Now your son says he wants to join the Taliban for the fighting season - he'll get both revenge and a stipend. Maybe even a motorbike.

The Taliban has been far better at organising its control and integration of populations from the central shura down to the village level, and its been far more ruthless in eliminating opposition. Why wouldn't they do well?

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby svenkat » 31 Mar 2010 23:07

Johann,
Do you expect anyone here to believe in the BS you peddle?

The US is in Afgh to control the oil routes.Also to bolster Pak against India.If they were serious about Taliban they could have bombed the hell out of Taliban on both sides of the Durrand line.

The Pashtuns are no match to Pakjabis,let alone the US Army.The Talibs are detested by moderates.The US has no intention of supporting moderates who have no interest in supporting american machinations.The US needs taliban as an auxillary to TSPA for terrorising secular pashtuns,afghans and India.If US wants,taliban can be crushed in no time by cutting off the oxygen to TSPA.The West has always been comfortable with brutal regimes underpinning western strategic interests.

The TSPA is no longer a rational player even for the west.I hope and pray that when it spins out of control,the west pays for its perfidy.The taliban in TSPA,which is more a state of mind,will be the game changer.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Johann » 31 Mar 2010 23:21

svenkat,

Thank you for your contribution, but I'm afraid the only BS here is in your post. Specifically, the seductive fantasy that you can bomb an insurgency out. No one has done it yet.

It was tried in Cambodia, and failed. The Soviets tried the same thing in Afghanistan and failed. The Israelis have tried it half a dozen times in Lebanon.

You cant beat an insurgency without a political strategy that draws the population to you and the manpower to protect it.

There's more than enough independent material out there about the realities of rural Afghanistan if you really want to understand what is going on there.

The Taliban collapsed in 2001 when commanders defected or fled en masse in the face of CIA money, Northern Alliance bullets, and lastly USAF/USN airpower. But where was the political structure to control those commanders? Where was the ability to control the population? Do you know what US troop strength in Afghanistan was in 2001-2004?

America had no interest in getting in to the state-building business. That is the very same problem they confronted in Iraq. The difference was that in Iraq the results of that failure were nearly immediate, and much more threatening to American influence.

You cant be an effective political movement or interventionist power unless you're willing to get involved in the nitty gritty of politics, and make it work. Post-Vietnam America has been willing to get involved in rebuilding failed/destroyed states only under the most extreme duress, and even then often only going through the motions, even when such involvement is the only way to guarantee real success.
Last edited by Johann on 31 Mar 2010 23:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Carl_T » 31 Mar 2010 23:28

Johann wrote:Manu, its a very good question, except that the vast majority of that sum has been spent in Iraq. And the majority that money went to build a massive supply chain, re-equip the Iraqi army and anti-Al Qaeda militias, and build random stuff to be blown up.

If you want it in a nutshell, the Taliban *really* wants to be back in power, and have done what they needed to. The Bush and Obama administrations have not thought deeply about a political strategy in Afghanistan because they didn't want to *really* have to figure out a place as complicated as Afghanistan.

The majority of Afghanistan's population is rural, and there was no Coalition or Afghan government presence in the majority of Afghan villages after the Taliban collapsed. It was wide open.

The Pashtun villages waited for 1,2,3,4 years for someone to show up, and the first people who did were the returning Taliban, who took the trouble to recruit locally and operate locally.

When after 2006 you start to see a Coaliton patrol of 8 men show up in soft hats and smiles for tea and a chat you're not in any position to do anything because the Taliban have already taken over, and will behead anyone who collaborates. Even when you're worried sick about the Taliban ambush on the patrol from your house. The patrol calls in an airstrike when they're pinned down and running out of ammo - your wife and sister are killed. Now your son says he wants to join the Taliban for the fighting season - he'll get both revenge and a stipend. Maybe even a motorbike.

The Taliban has been far better at organising its control and integration of populations from the central shura down to the village level, and its been far more ruthless in eliminating opposition. Why wouldn't they do well?

Good points. I think what the US has failed in is "institution building" rather than nation building, if they're allying with Pakhto warlords against the Taliban, they have to pretty much convert warlords to play by their rules in return for US$.The US needs to introduce political alternatives to the Taliban. But it appears from news reports that Petraeus is that.

The Taliban aren't going to go anywhere as it will require too much from the US to eliminate them, so I wonder if it is best to cede a portion of Afghanistan to the Taliban which they can run as they please, and control other parts.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby joshvajohn » 01 Apr 2010 00:27

Osama's got fave fatwa wrong: Muslim scholars
TNN, Apr 1, 2010, 12.25am IST

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl ... 748591.cms

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Naidu » 01 Apr 2010 04:59

I don't always agree with Friedman, but I like his three rules.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/opini ... edman.html

Op-Ed Columnist
This Time We Really Mean It

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 30, 2010

This newspaper carried a very troubling article on the front page on Monday. It detailed how President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan had invited Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Kabul — in order to stick a thumb in the eye of the Obama administration — after the White House had rescinded an invitation to Mr. Karzai to come to Washington because the Afghan president had gutted an independent panel that had discovered widespread fraud in his re-election last year.


Rule No. 1: When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble.


Rule No. 2: “Never want it more than they do.”


Rule No. 3: In the Middle East, what leaders tell you in private in English is irrelevant. All that matters is what they will defend in public in their own language.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Pranav » 01 Apr 2010 07:02

Karzai needs to take the Umreekis along, including giving some concessions with respect to mining contracts.

Defiance will only lead to a greater reliance by the US on the ISI.

But one can also say that Karzai's defiance is caused by continuing molly-coddling of the ISI by the US. The US needs to put its cards down on the table, stop its dalliance with the Pak Army.

Western elites favored Karzai over Abdullah Abdullah in the election, and now they are finding that Karzai is not sufficiently subservient.

Some prominent Afghans say that Mr. Karzai now tells associates that the Americans’ goal here is not to build an independent and peaceful Afghanistan, but to exercise their power.

In January, Mr. Karzai invited about two dozen prominent Afghan media and business figures to a lunch at the palace. At the lunch, he expressed a deep cynicism about America’s motives, and of the burden he bears in trying to keep the United States at bay.

“He has developed a complete theory of American power,” said an Afghan who attended the lunch and who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “He believes that America is trying to dominate the region, and that he is the only one who can stand up to them.”

Mr. Karzai said that, left alone, he could strike a deal with the Taliban, but that the United States refuses to allow him. The American goal, he said, was to keep the Afghan conflict going, and thereby allow American troops to stay in the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/world ... l?ref=asia


Here is a possible solution to the mess that might satisfy both the Afghans and Americans:

* Talibs reconcile with Karzai and the US, and accept long-term presence of some US troops, as in Japan or South Korea.

* An independent Balochistan for access to Afghanistan

* Afghans and Balochis play ball with the US with respect to pipelines and minerals

* As a corollary, the US totally abandons the illegitimate and artificial state of Pak, leading to its demise due to economic reasons and internal strife.

* Area controlled by the Pakjabi military-jihadist elites dissolves into 6 or 7 independent nations, most of which enter into a South Asian Economic Union.

But all this first requires the US to abandon the long-standing policy of propping up the Paks to put a leash on India. That wrong policy is keeping the whole region unsettled.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Pranav » 01 Apr 2010 12:39

In the April 2010 edition of The Atlantic magazine, Maj-Gen Michael Flynn, director of intelligence, US Central command, was quoted as saying that militant leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were both “absolutely salvageable”.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/daw ... ion-us-140


So it appears that the US is sabotaging any attempts at peace except on terms acceptable to the ISI and itself. Mullah Barader was taken down, but Haqqani, the ISI poodle, who is hated by ordinary Afghans, is "absolutely salvagable".

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 01 Apr 2010 14:20

Pranav wrote:
In the April 2010 edition of The Atlantic magazine, Maj-Gen Michael Flynn, director of intelligence, US Central command, was quoted as saying that militant leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were both “absolutely salvageable”.

That confirms the Pakistani attempts to push the candidature of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar through. BTW, Hekmatyar will also be acceptable to Iran. Haqqani is a source of great strength to the Quetta shura. He is not a Taliban in that sense of the word. He was a warlord co-drafted into the Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan. So, winning him over is less of an ideological problem. Besides, the ISI has a big sway over him and his sons. So, the assessment of them being 'salvageable' is accurate.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby svenkat » 01 Apr 2010 16:02

Johann,
we can argue for ever.Isn't it astonishing that the West has not caught Mullah Omar or Osama ?And what about the so called 'surge' in Marjah?

You have every right to pursue the Western media fantasies.And the West has 'every right' to preach,pinprick,provoke and humiliate India's pretensions.Because this is not BBC or NYT or Time,we do not have to accept the GOTUS view as Gospel Truth.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Johann » 01 Apr 2010 19:30

S Venkat,

Ever wondered why the US was never able to capture the joint leadership of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army (COSVN) in the South Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia area in 10 years despite a number of truly massive operations on the territory of allied/friendly states? Do you think they weren't really trying?

Ever wondered why the U.S.G. was never able to publicly identify, let alone capture those responsible for the bombings of all those U.S. embassies and the US Marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980s, as well as the Dhahran USAF barracks in 1996? Until 9/11 were the most lethal terrorist attacks on Americans. Why didn't they bomb the hell out of Iran and Syria?

The underlying assumption in your posts seems to be that the U.S. can do anything it wants to - that there are no limits to American military power. That has far more in common with the 'GOTUS' line than anything I have said in my posts. In fact it sounds downright Neocon!

I am saying the precise opposite - America's failures in Afghanistan aren't just because of conflicting geopolitical goals. They are because there are huge institutional and psychological barriers at the top of the system when it comes to *realistically* turning goals in to concrete, sustainable reality in any place that is truly foreign to them. Does that sound like an official line to you?!

Clausewitz famously declared war an extension of politics - what so many civilian American politicians and policymakers have done for decades is to try to reduce the politics of a conflict to military logic, defying everything that collective experience has taught. That is because its easier to simply hand responsibility for the problems they cant bother to figure out to soldiers and throw money at them as a substitute for a workable national strategy. As good soldiers they will always salute and execute, and take the blame even if they know they cant win a conflict on their own.

I would strongly recommend Dana Priest's "The Mission", which he started writing before 9/11 and which was published before the Iraq invasion to get a good look at these fundamental problems with the USG foreign policy/security policy establishment, and its lack of political tools and political insight outside their familiar world of the Western Hemisphere, Europe and North-East Asia.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby A_Gupta » 01 Apr 2010 20:03

I am saying the precise opposite - America's failures in Afghanistan aren't just because of conflicting geopolitical goals. They are because there are huge institutional and psychological barriers at the top of the system when it comes to *realistically* turning goals in to concrete, sustainable reality in any place that is truly foreign to them. Does that sound like an official line to you?!


Agreed. Too many people here think that the US is omnipotent and frighteningly competent, when mostly the opposite is true. They are just as bumbling as anyone else, they just have more ammunition to play with.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby chanakyaa » 01 Apr 2010 22:11

Too many people here think that the US is omnipotent and frighteningly competent, when mostly the opposite is true. They are just as bumbling as anyone else, they just have more ammunition to play with.


I slightly disagree on this line of thinking. I've a different view and interested to know what others think about it. First of all, unkeel's engagements in Iraq and Afg. are not "wars" but "international engagements". Since these are not wars, the outcome is not to "win" or "loose", but to stay engaged; while making sure that it happens with minimum human loss. From what I've heard, unkeel do not enter a country unless they have reason to believe that they can stay their for at least 50 years. Post Vietman, their strategies have changed. Afg. could be a perfect place to station a very very long-term base. Military planners very well know the value of spending Aaamrikhi blood and money. IMO news and analysis that comes out in media from military and policy experts and generals is a bunch of BS. What goes on behind the walls of Pantagoon and what comes out are two totally different things.

Now, lets follow the money trail. All the money unkeel spent in last 10 years (900B, 1 trillion whatever), who benefited from it? All the money spent has indirectly helped the western countries in the form of military contract, construction, private contracts, employment to unkeel's citizens etc. Sounds like a good plan to me. They are not interest in Afg. Abdul. They certainly don't mind helping out aam Abdul and spread Aamrikhi values, but that is not the goal.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Brad Goodman » 01 Apr 2010 22:33

I have been a passive reader of this forum for past few months and I have a question on AfPak scenario and I am sure this might have been discussed in past but just for my understanding.
All these years war in afghanistan has been potrayed in asian media as US war on terror. The question is isnt this actually WOT for whole world in general & Asia in particular. Before 9/11 hit US. There were instances where AfPak was hurting asian countries more. Example India with IC 814 / Kashmir. Saudi with attacks. Iran, China (East Turkestan) C Asia Russia even countries like Malaysia Indonesia etc were feeling the pain of lawless AfPak. Pakis want to live in denial or in dope world but they have been hit the hardest with talibunnies and osama. They have world largest heroine addicted population and with all these arms and fundu mullas they have dug themselves into a hole they cannot escape easily.

The question I have is why are all these countries (porkies excempted) acting like fence sitters. Most glaring case is China. Does CCP not realize that lawless AfPak left to porkies and talibunnies would in long term be the worst security nightmare for them along their eastern borders. So if they are suspicios of Unkil they need to partner with them so that they have a stake in a stable Afghanistan rather than relying on ISI and talibunnies to secure their interests.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Kavu » 01 Apr 2010 22:48

If this was a World War on Terror, then it is not Afghanistan nor Iraq, It is Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is America's war on Terror.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby svinayak » 01 Apr 2010 23:01

Brad Goodman wrote:
The question I have is why are all these countries (porkies excempted) acting like fence sitters. Most glaring case is China. Does CCP not realize that lawless AfPak left to porkies and talibunnies would in long term be the worst security nightmare for them along their eastern borders. So if they are suspicios of Unkil they need to partner with them so that they have a stake in a stable Afghanistan rather than relying on ISI and talibunnies to secure their interests.

For many countries actually this turmoil is good for their geo-political goals.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Brad Goodman » 01 Apr 2010 23:01

Kavu wrote:If this was a World War on Terror, then it is not Afghanistan nor Iraq, It is Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is America's war on Terror.


I guess you are correct in your analysis. But since Asia will suffer most with this terror what is stopping China & Russia to step up and play a role. I guess if taller than mountain friend sheds its myopic vision it will realize TSP is the worst thing to its own security. If Unkil leaves Afpak the next target of talibunnies would be establishing republic of Korasan

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby ramana » 02 Apr 2010 00:00

They are sitting on the fence because the US itself is weakening some elements of the TSP terror apparatus while keeping the others intact.Eg. Kunduz Airlift, letting OBL flee to TSP, AQK proliferation, not cracking down on TSP terror camps etc., etc.

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Re: Afghanistan News & Discussion

Postby Brad Goodman » 02 Apr 2010 00:41

ramana wrote:They are sitting on the fence because the US itself is weakening some elements of the TSP terror apparatus while keeping the others intact.Eg. Kunduz Airlift, letting OBL flee to TSP, AQK proliferation, not cracking down on TSP terror camps etc., etc.


So what situation do we anticipate once Unkil declares victory and runs away.

China: Relys on TSP to secure its interests
TSP: Gets talibunny monkies from its hat to set up pre 2001 admin with some NA elements
Iran: Falls back to Northern Alliance and some new Talibunny allies
Russia + CAsia: NA
India: NA
US + NATO: TSP + Own assets in NA & bunny

Guess that is at individual level. At group level we will see

US + TSP & China + TSP alliance here porkies playing one against another to extract money

India + Iran + Russia + CAsia


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