Afghanistan & Pak nukes: Expect Osama Bin Laden with WMDs after the US quits

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by ajtr, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Afghanistan & Pak nukes

    Expect Osama Bin Laden with WMDs after the US quits the region, says N.V.Subramanian.

    13 September 2010: The United States' problem won't only be Al-Qaeda terrorism after it withdraws from Afghanistan sometime after July 2011. It will also be Pakistan. Pakistan will become the world's number one troublespot too as it has always been for India.
    After 9/11, the US realized the horror of spawning Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda in the name of fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties. On the other hand, Pakistan still believes it can control terror elements it employs against Afghanistan and India, although one of the lethal gennext byproducts of the Afghan "mujahedeen" war, the Pakistani Taliban, is gaining in strength to capture large parts of the country in the west.
    Once the United States leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban forces, backed by the Pakistan army and the ISI, and inspired by the Al-Qaeda in North Waziristan and Quetta, will make bloodthirsty attempts to regain the entire country. Eastern and southern Afghanistan will fall to the Taliban invaders but the west and the north will resist them. These are non-Pashtun areas that have traditionally opposed the Taliban and will likely do so again backed by Iran, the Central Asian states, Russia and likely India. The United States is also looking at these areas to establish bases once it withdraws substantially from Afghanistan.
    Given the past history when even without the US presence, the Taliban could not control Afghanistan entirely, that is likely to repeat again. Being evicted from state power once, the Taliban may indefinitely postpone a war to seize the west and north and instead turn against its present host, Pakistan. The Taliban bar perhaps the Haqqani faction loathes Pakistan and particularly the ISI and entirely understands their gameplan in Afghanistan against India. But more than any felt loathing, the Taliban will see an opportunity in its blocked advance to west and north Afghanistan by moving decisively to seize the Pashtun territories of Pakistan, which would mean all of NWFP and disputed portions of Baluchistan. The Durand Line will be buried for good.
    The allies for the Taliban in this enterprise will the Pakistani Taliban who are Pashtun. Since this part of the war will be waged in Pakistan, the Al-Qaeda will be more openly engaged. The Al-Qaeda will press the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban to go for the biggest prize, which are Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Since these weapons are in the custody of Pakistan's predominantly Punjabi army, it will become a clash between the Pashtuns and the Punjabis, which has been alluded to by other strategic writers. This is roughly how a post-US Afghanistan will become a world problem via Pakistan.
    What's the solution? Frankly, this writer does not know. The Pakistanis conned the Americans into droning the Pakistani Taliban while leaving the Afghan Taliban and the Al-Qaeda largely alone. It did not save the situation for the US in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis will probably plead with the US to go after the Pakistani Taliban some more, sending desperate SOSs about the vulnerability of their nukes. Perhaps, with their clouded strategic mindset, the Americans will comply. So the war in Afghanistan will morph into one about protecting Pakistan's nuclear assets.
    But the Afghanistan story will repeat again. After all, the US can only bomb the homeland of the Pakistani Taliban in FATA and elsewhere. But that won't contain the Taliban's fanatical quest for Pakistani nukes. The Taliban will do everything to gain them, including suicide bombing every square inch of Pakistani Punjab. How long will the Pakistan army be able to withstand this onslaught, not to speak of jehadized insiders leaking away the assets when security slacks and controls loosen everywhere?
    In the end, it boils down to Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Rather than being a deterrent against India, Pakistani nukes will bring Pakistan down. And the world should be well aware of the consequences of nukes falling into the wrong hands. So in addition to Al-Qaeda terrorism, the US probably will have to contend with Osama Bin Laden armed with Pakistani nukes sometime after president Barack Obama issues orders to quit Afghanistan.
    N.V.Subramanian is Editor, The Public Affairs Magazine-, and writes internationally on strategic affairs. He has authored two novels, University of Love (Writers Workshop, Calcutta) and Courtesan of Storms (Har-Anand, Delhi). Email: [email protected].
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Afghanistan Will Only Get Worse

    The final brigades of the troop surge in Afghanistan arrived this month, signaling the height of American involvement in the country. Nearly half of the U.S. troops in the country are deployed to Helmand and Kandahar to implement the new counterinsurgency strategy and success is supposed to show that the American surge can win the war.

    But the Western coalition is in a quagmire in the south and the Taliban are winning in the north, consolidating their grip in the east, and slowly encircling Kabul.

    The United States has expended a great deal of resources in the south. American troops planned to showcase the potential for their new counterinsurgency strategy with an early success in Marja. Instead, the area remains unstable and insecure months after the long offensive began. This delayed plans to move aggressively on Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city.

    Having concentrated the bulk of its forces in the south, the coalition is not able to contain the Taliban in other parts of the country.

    When I was traveling across Afghanistan in the spring, the Taliban’s momentum was already clear. And safety conditions continue to deteriorate. This summer, when I returned only a few months later, the situation was even worse.

    The Taliban’s control of the south is apparent in the inability of U.S. troops to extend any control beyond their bases. It takes them hours just to move hundreds of meters outside of the perimeters on patrol. This means that they have no contact with the population and have been unable to build strong ties with local groups.

    While it is still safe in Kabul, you can feel the Taliban tightening its hold around the capital. Leaving the city by car is becoming dangerous. The Taliban have set up roadblocks that increase the likelihood foreigners will be captured — and worse fates are likely for Afghan officials.

    In the districts where the fighting is most intense, the population is primarily on the side of the insurgents. The Taliban are more aggressive than ever; they are systematically killing Afghans working with the coalition.

    Worse, the lack of local reform and a toothless anti-corruption policy leaves the coalition fighting for a corrupt government with no popular support.

    The Taliban have a great deal of influence, but even where they haven’t established control, the Afghan government doesn’t enjoy any support.

    Casualties have increased the demands on leaders across Europe to get out of Afghanistan. And with America’s European partners planning to leave over the next few years, the United States will be on its own, mired in a war with no clear exit strategy.

    At this point, 80 percent of Afghanistan has no state structure left. This means that there is no credible Afghan partner for the United States to work with. And where the government has lost its grip and the American-led coalition is losing, the Taliban are filling the void. As the only effective force in many areas, the Taliban are beginning to build a shadow state. The services are limited but efficient, and the Kabul government is often nowhere to be seen.

    A telling example is that international nongovernmental organizations are increasingly working directly with the Taliban. The NGOs negotiate directly with Taliban leaders to ensure access to the Afghan people and carry out their programs. The process has become so formalized that international groups can now expect to receive a paper that is stamped and sealed by the Taliban outlining the permissions granted.

    The coalition will not defeat this increasingly national insurgency.

    Instead of beginning a slow drawdown of troops next summer, the United States would need to add more forces to just hold on to the areas it currently controls. As the United States struggles — and fails — to implement a successful counterinsurgency strategy in just a few parts of the country, the rest of Afghanistan is being lost.

    The United States needs to start facing reality and begin negotiating with the Taliban before it’s too late. The longer Washington waits to rethink its reliance on a military solution, the worse the realities will become on the ground and the less likely the Taliban will be willing to talk.

    Negotiating a new coalition government with assurances that Al Qaeda will not operate in Afghanistan again is the best hope left for an American exit.

    Gilles Dorronsorois a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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