Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by EnlightenedMonk, Mar 28, 2009.
Obama Unveils Afghan-Pakistan Strategy Review
the title should have been the US exit strategy out of this mess.
The largesse of $35 billion is going to cost India as it will allow Pakistan to further squire weapons directed against India
giving money to pakistan has proven to be a failed strategy and Obummer is repeating the same failed strategy only to be defeated in afghanistan.
Also found a US Defence Ministry report (what they called a whitepaper) on the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation...
Attaching that as well...
New Afghan Approach More Likely to Succeed, Gates Says
no matter what USA does they will be defeated in afghanistan just like the Russians
United Nations probes alleged fund misuse in Afghanistan
www.chinaview.cn 2009-03-28 05:24:45 Print
UNITED NATIONS, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations said here on Friday that the world body was investigating allegations of corruption made against a former UN Office for Project Services(UNOPS) official in Afghanistan, who was reported to misuse reconstruction funds in Afghanistan for his luxury lifestyle.
Michele Montas, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, told a news briefing that to preserve due process, UNOPS is not permitted to discuss specifics regarding any investigation currently undergoing internal UN review.
It was UNOPS that had initiated an investigation in late 2006 "into alleged misuses of funds of UNOPS projects and administrative funds and serious breaches of accounting and procurement," Montas said.
The alleged misuse of UNOPS funds and breaches of accounting and procurement policies are "grave charges," the spokesperson said, adding that such misconduct is "totally unacceptable" to UNOPS.
"Therefore, UNOPS will rectify any problems revealed by this investigation and deal fairly but firmly with proven wrongdoers," she said. "UNOPS intends to reimburse any money owed to its clients as a result of errors or misuse."
Gary Helseth, a U.S. national who headed the UNOPS in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006, was accused in December of using the funds for lavish purchases, including first-class flights to Las Vegas and meals in posh restaurants in Copenhagen, Dubai, Florence and New York, but Helseth denied stealing the funds, according to earlier media reports.
In the larger interest of the world and India in particular, that cannot be allowed to happen. If the US fails then we will have a UST (United States of Taliban) as our neighbor.
NATO smart to leave while USA stays behind
As U.S. steps up, NATO shrinks role in Afghanistan
AIA dailyLead | 03/27/2009
With the U.S. preparing a troop surge in Afghanistan, NATO forces will play a decreased role in the region, experts say. "We don't want NATO to fail," says one former Defense Department official. "But in order for NATO to succeed, the U.S. has got to take the lead." The U.S. will press allies to train Afghan forces and provide civilian support, while the Pentagon pours in more troops and equipment. CBS News (03/26)
U.S. hopes to engage with Iran on Afghanistan Tuesday (US turning to enemy #1 for help)
Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:06am EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hopes to "constructively engage" with Iran on issues related to Afghanistan at an international conference in The Hague on Tuesday, a senior White House official said on Saturday.
"It's our assessment and we believe it's theirs that there are issues as it relates to, for example, narcotics that present an opportunity for Iran to engage Afghanistan in a way that can address ... a concern that we also have about Afghanistan," White House security adviser Denis McDonough told a conference call with reporters.
He said the United States hoped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "has an opportunity to constructively engage this issue."
(Reporting by Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason)
The US has to set aside it's ego and approach Iran. It's their best bet in the war in Af-Pak. Just yesterday 12 US trucks were burnt by the Taliban. Pakistan is hopeless in it's effort.
UK ready to send more troops to Afghanistan
(British Hypocrisy in action)
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain is prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan, the head of the British Army said in an interview published Friday.
Britain currently has 8,300 troops in Afghanistan.
Britain currently has 8,300 troops in Afghanistan
Richard Dannatt, the chief of the general staff, did not say how many troops he would be prepared to deploy. Britain currently has 8,300 troops in Afghanistan.
Dannatt told The Times newspaper that elements of the 12th Mechanized Brigade had been "earmarked for Afghanistan." He said there are no plans to send the whole brigade of 4,000 troops.
"If we're asked for more and we say we can, it's not going to be 4,000 -- it's going to be something in between" that and the current troop level, Dannatt told the Times. The Ministry of Defense confirmed his remark.
British defense sources told The Times that a rise of 1,700 to 2,000 was "the uppermost ceiling."
* Obama to send 4,000 more troops
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a new strategy for Afghanistan on Friday that includes sending another 4,000 troops to the country with hundreds of civilian specialists, senior administration officials told CNN.
The troops -- which are in addition to the 17,000 that the president announced earlier would be sent to Afghanistan -- will be charged with training and building the Afghan Army and police force. The plans include doubling the Army's ranks to 135,000 and the police force to 80,000 by 2011, the officials said.
Military officials told CNN earlier that the Afghan government had requested the additional troops.
Yusuf to me it is very funny especially being here in USA all i have been hearing for 10 years is talk of nuking Iran and now they have to kiss Iranian ass, which to me means USA is very close to defeat in afghanistan and a humiliting one for 8 years of fighting No Osama Bin Laden, no victory by a rich 40 nation NATO coalition and only defeat from a small and poor 3rd world country as they use to call it.
That is because they concentrated on an unimportant country and let their focus off the important one who actually pulls the strings in Afghanistan.
mate US is the least trusted ally/partner that one can hope for and be rest assured the evolving bonhomie will last only that much for the reasons behind the islamic revolution in iran was US and it wont take long before the same resentment sets in again with the mullahs in tehran for US cant do away with the inherited quality of interfering in the internal and external affairs of a country, though a lot will depend on uncle sam's stance in the forth coming presidential elections in iran. secondly there is the issue of iran having nuke bombs which is a direct threat to the existence of israel and as it is the jew lobby is taken as one of the strongest in washington dc, and then they have already been threatened of being wiped out from this world. US does not necessarily have to depend on iran and certainly not in the long run for the americans will be a goner and once they have moved out then the utility of iran drastically diminishes as again by then they would have certainly left iraq as well, and with all this happening iran is for sure going to be on the radar of both US and israel and then the question of a strike will be when and certainly not a question about ifs and buts.
this strategy is a sure shot exit strategy and now to term it as a regional problem they have attempted to align the fears of all the regional players other than af-pak and in the process the attempt is to increase the stake of all the concerned regional players right from middle east to iran to prc to russia to india. they are looking at ways how the whole region can be involved for just like iraq it wont take long for a public backlash to happen in the US and that would make the obama admin really jittery, and this is bound to happen as the whole focus of american press moves form iraq to afganistan just for example NYT has been for the past few days continuously carrying on with its coverage on af-pak to the run up of this policy announcement and the rest of the media will soon join in and as it is with more number of US soldiers in the conflict zone their casualties will also add up and this is bound to dent the policy in the long run, and then obama has to plan for the next presidential race as well.
india has shown its apprehensions in joining a front led by the US as it feels more comfortable with russia around, in some ways a good riddance for i would not like to see my country play to the US interests for then the terms dictated will be dispatched from the white house and that will be seen as a gross violation of external affairs of india. just like india - russia, prc and iran have their stakes in a stable afganistan. russian and iranian concerns are well documented to further write about but quite clearly the prc has some legitimate concerns. they would imagine that their interests can be taken care off by the pakistanis though there is a section of taliban which has now been termed as the bad one which has shown the capability of outsmarting the isi and this is what will force the prc to have more stake in the region. will this be tackled through SCO where prc is seen as the dominant player, partly true but india would resist any such attempt where prc is able to hijack the meet as also india will be highly apprehensive of prc's intentions in the long run in the region and so the recent attempt on india's part to get its old mates both iran and russia on the same table like the old days when taliban was ruling the state of afgan.
most around might not agree with me but one good thing i see in the policy review presented is the definition of good taliban, they are termed as one who are not ideologically inclined but their motivation is the money involved and if these chaps can be brought back to the main stream by exploring various options then i am not adverse to the idea, at least it should be given a try. the other thing is the review that they would have on this policy by the end of the current year and this is where the metal of our diplomacy will be tested yet again. if the things are on the down hill and if the taliban is seen as a resurgent force like they are seen now then it will be extremely important that india puts on the heat on pak through the US and get the necessary change in the next policy review which suits out interests better. the other good thing brought about is the accountability but how will this happen has to be seen. all in all a decent start on this front and one will have eyes glued on what all happens on ground, and if there is a marked decline in the violence then obama will be hailed or else he could soon have a burden of being called the second bush in making.
An Unwinnable Battle
With no viable option in sight to salvage America's faltering Afghan war, Barack Obama faces a critical test in his young presidency. Sending
tens of thousands of more troops into battle, as the top US general in Afghanistan wants, risks a Vietnam-style quagmire. Slashing troop levels to concentrate on counterterrorist operations through air power and special ground forces will expose Obama to political attacks at home. Obama thus is searching for the illusory middle ground.
Going big and going long in Afghanistan will serve no country's interests other than Pakistan's. Indeed, as long as NATO's Afghan war rages, US policy will stay hostage to Islamabad, even though it is Pakistan's duplicitous policy of aiding militants while pretending to be on America's side that has resulted in the Taliban gaining the momentum. Only a military exit can help free US policy. After all, with US supply lines to Afghanistan running through Pakistan, waging the Afghan war has entailed supporting Pakistan through multibillion-dollar US aid, to the extent that Islamabad this year has emerged as the largest recipient of American assistance in the world.
In that light, is it any surprise that top Pakistanis have lined up to plead against a US withdrawal? Munificent aid to Pakistan traditionally has flown only when the US has been involved in war - hot or cold. Absence of war usually has fostered US neglect of Pakistan. If the US decides to draw down forces in Afghanistan, it will not only stop raining dollars in Islamabad, but also Pakistani sanctuaries for the top Afghan Taliban leaders and other terrorist figures are likely to become US targets.
An Obama decision not to get deeper involved in Afghanistan won't be an admission of defeat but a course correction on a war that presently is just not winnable. Obama has limited the US goal narrowly "to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda". But the US military's real foe in Afghanistan is not the badly fragmented and enfeebled al-Qaeda, but a resurgent Taliban. Instead of seeking to rout the Taliban, Washington has encouraged the Pakistani, Afghan and Saudi intelligence services to hold proxy negotiations with the Taliban shuramembers, holed up in Quetta, Pakistan.
In fact, the US is fighting the wrong war. How can the Afghan war be won when America has limited its ground military campaign to just one side of the Af-Pak border even though the Taliban and other militants openly use the Pakistani side as a haven and staging ground for attacks? Not allowed to pursue the militants across the border, US troops in Nuristan, Kunar and other Afghan border regions find themselves as sitting ducks for surprise attacks orchestrated from Pakistani territory.
Had Washington sought to defeat the Taliban, a further military surge may have made sense, because an ascendant Taliban can be defeated only through major ground operations, not by airstrikes and covert action alone. But to rout an already-weakened al-Qaeda, the US doesn't need to scale up the war. While acknowledging that al-Qaeda's capability has been degraded to the extent that it is in no position to openly challenge US interests, American proponents of a bigger war contend that the real danger is of al-Qaeda reconstituting itself if a US pullback leads to the Taliban's return to power.
Firstly, without large ground forces in Afghanistan or even major ground operations, the US can hold al-Qaeda remnants at bay in their havens in the mountainous tribal regions of Pakistan through covert operations, Predator drones and cruise-missile attacks, as it already is doing. Secondly, US air power and special-force operations, in combination with the support of ground forces of ethnic minorities and non-Taliban Pashtun warlords, can prevent the Taliban from grabbing power in Kabul again. That was the same combination that helped oust the Taliban from power. Even if the US pulls out most of its troops, it will have such punitive-denial capability as it intends to maintain military bases in Afghanistan in the long run.
American and international interests will be better served by gradually drawing down US troop levels. What unites the disparate insurgent elements is a common opposition to foreign military presence. A measured US pullback, far from bolstering the forces of global jihad, will eliminate the common unifying factor and unleash developments with largely internal or sub-regional significance. The most likely outcome of an Afghan power struggle triggered by a US decision to scale back the war would be the formalisation of the present de facto partition of Afghanistan along ethnic lines.
The possible emergence of smaller, more-governable states in the world's "Terroristan" belt cannot be bad news. In such a scenario, the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and other ethnic minorities would be able to ensure self-governance in the Afghan areas they dominate, leaving the Pashtun lands on both sides of the British-drawn but now-disappearing Durand Line in ferment. Pakistan ultimately is bound to pay a price for creating and nurturing the Taliban monster. And that price is likely to directly impinge on its territorial unity.
The writer is professor, Centre for Policy Research.
An Unwinnable Battle - Edit Page - Opinion - Home - The Times of India
note: the writer is brahma chellany.
Paper no. 3598 10-Jan-2010
Indian Intervention in Afghanistan- A Reality Check.
By Col. R. Hariharan:
Recently the question of India stepping into the American shoes in Afghanistan when the U.S. and allies withdraw their troops is being debated by many strategic analysts. In particular Nitin Pai and Rohit Pradhan writing in the Pragati January 2010 issue have tmade a strong case made for Indian military intervention in Afghanistan;
Dr. Subhash Kapila writing in South Asia Analysis Group ( paper No. 3576) has focussed on the need for India to evolve contingency plans for what he calls "the day after" when the Americans pull out.
My view on this issue is a loud no to sending of troops although one can understand the strategic imperatives of such a decision. After a pragmatic look at our current capabilities, Indo-Afghan relations, and likely strategic developments in the region, my assessment is as follows:
Reasons Against Sending Indian Trrops to Afghanistan:
a. Our armed forces are hardly in a position to implement the recently revised 'cold start' military doctrine which envisages the possibility of a two front war with China and Pakistan. It also includes pre-emptive neutralisation of terrorist bases across the border without holding ground to prevent it from escalating into a nuclear confrontation with Pakistan. These are tall requirements and our force levels are just adequate to meet our current needs. They are not enough to fully implement the cold start concept on two fronts.
b. Our armed forces have huge deficiencies in basic equipment i.e. artillery guns, tanks etc. Even the small arms are obsolete. Such large scale deficiencies could affect the fighting efficiency. Added to this we have 25% shortage in officer strength in the army. These are cumulative effects of years of our bureaucratic military procurement methods and lack of accountability of defence research. These have managed to keep our armed forces with the bare minimum capability to fight a 20th century war, let alone the 21st century one. Even with immediate remedial measures this situation is unlikely to improve before 2013.
c. For meaningful military intervention in Afghanistan we have to plan for containing a belligerent Pakistan while fighting Pak-supported Taliban. Even if Pakistan is contained, for a COIN operation against Taliban in Afghanistan we would require at least 100,000 additional troops. That means raising a field army of at least five divisions.
d. It will be a logistic nightmare to support five divisions in Afghanistan as both air lift and shipping would require strategic support of Iran and CIS countries and probably Russia. It would be an enormously costly affair.
e. To weaken our effort Pakistan has the option to heat up proxy war in J and K front or trigger a shooting war on our western front. So whether we like it or not it would be prudent for India to be militarily prepared to face Pakistan as a proxy in Afghanistan and J &K and for a direct confrontation on our western front, if we embark on war in Afghanistan.
f. Given our nebulous internal security situation, it would be strategically prudent for Pakistan to aggravate it through sponsored terrorism. This could add to our internal woes and distract our attention.
India's Internal political Problems:
Apart from the security aspects discussed above, there are other considerations. Our political parties are well known to play the minority card at the drop of a hat; so how will New Delhi politically sell the idea of sending an expeditionary force to Afghanistan?
And Marxist parties would dub any move to send troops to Afghanistan as reactionary response to satisfy the Americans. New Delhi's political style in contentious situations is to strike a compromise. If our experience in Sri Lanka, the only overseas operation of Indian forces, is any guide the coalition in power would try to soften the impact by delaying decision making, and then evolve compromises on force levels and avoid providing clear cut strategic goals to the expeditionary force. This would affect the effectiveness of our forces in prosecuting the war in Afghanistan.
Age Old Indo-Afghan Relations:
Indo-Afghan relations are age old and if we have to make a strategic move it should be at a time of our choosing based on our specific requirement and not because the U.S. quits or brings pressure on India to face the flak there. Historic milestones of Indo-Afghan relations are as follows:
1. India has always had strong relations with successive governments in Afghanistan except for the short period when Taliban was controlling the nation. Thanks to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's leadership, during freedom struggle Congress had the support of Pashtuns who populate both sides of Pak-Af border. In fact Pashtuns led by Khan Sahib had boycotted the referendum on partition. So Pakistan got NWFP by default. However, subsequently when we became independent we failed to maintain the rapport with Pashtuns alive perhaps because it was no more politically relevant.
2. American Cold War response to Soviet occupation provided enough incentives for Pakistan to expand its strategic hold in Afghanistan. Pakistan used Pashtuns and other frontier people who were influenced by Wahabi obscurantism to strengthen Afghan insurgents fighting the Soviet forces supporting the pro-Communist regime in Kabul. It is noteworthy that the Afghan regime in this period had enjoyed India's full support; so in a way Pakistan was indirectly whittling down Indian influence in what it considered as its strategic backyard. When Soviets vacated Pakistan helped the Taliban to occupy this strategic space in the emerging power struggle in Afghanistan after the collapse of the pro-Communist regime there.
3. Indian supported the Northern Alliance (predominantly Uzbek and Tajik militias) which fought the Taliban (composed of mostly of Pakistanis and Pashtuns).But India did not provide any troops though it probably provided arms.
Given this historic backdrop, India’s present non-military involvement in Afghanistan is only a continuation of its policy to keep Afghanistan as a strategic ally. India has constructed some of the strategic border links and rebuilt schools and hospitals in Kabul. Our BRTF men are undertaking the road construction with the limited protection provided by Indian paramilitary. India probably has close intelligence links and liaison with Karzai regime. Although Indian presence is affected by the US sponsored COIN operations it is not part of it. Of course, as India is providing strategic support to Afghanistan in improving vital infrastructure, the U.S and NATO forces are also benefited.
When US and Its Allies Leave-
When the US and its allies withdraw and leave Afghanistan to fend for itself , theTaliban is likely to politically try to gain power. A compromise solution where Taliban shares power with Afghan regime is within the realms of possibility. If its cosmetics are right, it could have international support.
But even if there is a compromise arrangement, it is likely to be unstable as there are strong ideological and tribal differences between Taliban and others. So any move by Taliban to militarily usurp power is a strong possibility; it will have the support of Pakistan military and the ISI, though the Pakistan government may play down its direct involvement.
If such hostilities breakout it would be natural for Afghanistan to look for international support. In such a contingency Afghanistan would probably enjoy tacit cooperation and support of Iran (which has its own ideological score to settle with Taliban) and material assistance from the U.S. The Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, has already given notice of Russian intentions: "we cannot stand aloof and be impartial on what’s going on in the friendly neighbouring countries too." So Russia could also chip in. But none of them would provide troops.
The China Factor
Of course, there is the China factor. Chinese are making huge investments in Afghanistan and they would probably like a peaceful Afghanistan to increase to consolidate their position. Steve Hynd in his article "China eyes its Afghanistan moves" in Pragati has quoted the deputy director general of the China Council for National Policy Studies, Li Qinggong’s view that China would help facilitate "deployment of international peace keeping missions in its land and accelerating its reconstruction process" when the U.S. withdraw military forces. Does this mean Chinese troops could become a part of an international peace keeping force?
If an international force is not constituted, China’s options become limited. China is a strategic ally of Pakistan. So obviously Pakistan could influence the Chinese response. If the Pakistan supported Taliban and India supported Afghan government are in conflict Chinese would be comfortable if Pak-Taliban alliance wins. So China is a factor to contend with in the region, although we may try to wish it away.
Possible Role of India-
India is the regional power who that could provide sizeable military assistance. While it could easily provide material, political and diplomatic support and probably military equipment to beef up Afghan army to fight Taliban, intervention with Indian troops would not be such an easy task for reasons already discussed.
Beyond providing material assistance and military resources, it is extremely doubtful whether New Delhi would send troops to Afghanistan. If it decides to do so it has to get it its act ready in double time. Our "democratic decision making style" is usually to take a plunge and then work out a way to get out of the maze. Such a strategy could be suicidal in Afghanistan if it India intervenes without adequate political, military and diplomatic homework.
The moral of the story is simple: Nnyone getting into the Afghanistan morass will be sucked in as Pakistan, Soviet Union, and the U.S. had experienced. At present India is neither politically nor militarily ready to take the plunge. In spite of it, if India plans to do so it should go with its eyes wide open to bear tremendous human and material cost over at least five years of campaigning. Can we afford this luxury? Any takers?
(Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: [email protected] Blog: Hariharan's Intelligence blog )
Indian Intervention in Afghanistan- A Reality Check:
i agree with the author.
no troops. it will euphoric to despair in short time. history has taught everyone it is a mine field.
take the case of iraq. US troops were welcomed initially but sooner than later they were bearing the brunt of popular displeasure.
a'stan is a proud nation. they wont tolerate presence of foreign troops. if forced they will have to face incessant ambushes from all angles, as can be seen with NATO troops.
what about body bags returning? the political fallout will be diasastorous for any political party in power. besides we are still unable to secure our own borders and internal security challenges!!
finally who will pay the cost?
we are doing good from a humanitarian and infra building angle. better continue and build trust.
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