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AFGHANISTAN; WHAT HAPPENS NOW? January 10, 2015

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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Now might be as good a time as any to consider what happens in Afghanistan. What the military commitment to Afghanistan worth the cost and loss of lives? Have we in general ever really cared about what happens to the people in Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere subject to murderous and cruel drone attacks.

There is always a problem of knowing what is up and what is down when dealing with an unfamiliar culture.  As it happens, I have a Facebook friend in Herat. As a Hazara and a former employee of the foreign invaders, working as a translator, his prospects might not be great, nor is it perhaps likely he will find foreign refugee. He tells me he sold land to another person who ran off to Iran. Only 30% of the Afghan population is literate.

Similarly, perhaps there is the secret culture associated with Guantanamo Bay. Thierry Meyssan claims:

The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11. Publicly released excerpts of the report of the Senate Committee on the CIA’s secret torture program reveal a vast criminal organization. Thierry Meyssan has read for you the 525 pages of this document. He found evidence of what he has been saying for years.

If true, there was no justification for the invasion of Afghanistan and that action for the participants was a war crime.

The Daily Journalist provides a summary of views in their article,Afghanistan: Triumph or failure?

6 trillion dollars later, most media outlets have set decreed the official end of the US intervention in Afghanistan (2001-2014), but The Daily Journalist can confirm that close to 10,000 US soldiers are kept deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in Kandahar, on the Helmand province. Over 4,000 young US veterans have died and over 30,000 Taliban members have been killed over the past 13 years, but what was the ultimate goal in Afghanistan?

1) Did the United States win the war in Afghanistan?

2) What is the view worldwide of the US intervention in Afghanistan after a decade of war? Positive or negative in your view?

3) Did you ever support the intervention in Afghanistan?

4) ) With less US troops on the ground and will Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-E-Taiba and the Taliban in Pakistan who are openly reinforcing the Taliban in Afghanistan, will it become even worse?

5) What does the future hold for Afghanistan?

The critical question is what happens in the future for the people. The other answers are interesting, but here is the considered opinion of those selected as respondents on the final question:

David Isenberg.

(During 2009 he ran the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers project at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. He testified before Congress on labor trafficking by a KBR subcontractor. He is a Senior Analyst at Wikistrat. His affiliations include the Straus Military Reform Project and the Independent Institute. He is a US Navy veteran)

Answer:

Many of the adjoining countries – India, Pakistan, Russia, will be intervening there to secure what they see as their national interest. There will be a diminution of the effectiveness of the central government and power will accrue to regional governors/warlords.

Jamil Maidan Flores.

(He has been speechwriter to the President and the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia from January 1992 to the present—a period of more than 22 years. He has served under five presidents (Suharto, Bacharuddin Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) and four foreign ministers (Ali Alatas, Alwi Shihab, Noer Hassan Wirajuda and Marty M. Natalegawa)

Answer:

The future of Afghanistan depends on how well the new government and its successors, and the Afghan military will perform. The brief career of the late freedom fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud proves that the Taliban can be beaten in the battlefield and in the battle for hearts and minds of the people by a competent leader. If the current political, military and other leaders of Afghanistan can emulate to some degree the kind of leadership that Shah Massoud wielded, the future of Afghanistan is bright.

David W. Kearn. Jr.

(He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at St. John’s University in New York. He was published by the RAND Corporation in 2012 after he concluded a year-long Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship in RAND’s Washington, DC office. His research interests include international relations theory, US foreign policy, military innovation, and arms control)

Answer:

Sadly, it seems highly unlikely that Afghanistan will see peace anytime soon. The Taliban represents a strong enough force to continue to play a spoiler role in any national political reconciliation. As long as the United States support the regime in Kabul, however, it is unlikely that the Taliban could threaten to consolidate power over the entire nation. Until the Taliban – or more constructive/less radical elements of the Taliban’s base – decide that negotiation may be preferable to violence, the conflict is likely to continue. Therefore we are likely to see a relatively weak central Afghan government, relegated primarily to Kabul and surrounding areas, and fairly strong local and regional leaders that may choose to cooperate with Kabul or follow their own agendas depending on the issue.

Anna Corsaro.

(She is a Crisis and Homeland Security Advisor for Governments, Corporations and NGOs leading a Team of Experts. She has worked as Multi Unit Hospitality General Manager, CEO, Board of Directors, Government Consultant, Special Adviser for Secretary of Embassy,Consultant for a Law Enforcement Agency)

Answer:

Historically peace in Afghanistan has always brought as problematic as wars, often times accelerating the conditions that lead into new conflicts. That happened after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989. The following government did not receive any real support from the international community, collapsing not long after paving the way for the rise of the Taliban. It is possible that tomorrow the situation will be exactly like yesterday, with the Taliban getting stronger.

Jon Kofas.

(Retired Indiana University university professor. Academic Writing. International Political Economy – Fiction)

Answer:

The future of Afghanistan in the next three to five years looks very much like the past, namely, unstable unless there is a regime able to forge some kind of consensus among the disparate tribes and co-opting the warlords into the political process. An estimated 200 warlords in charge of militias call themselves freedom fighters just as they did when the US supported them against the Soviet-backed secular regime in the 1980s. These warlords are in many respects the local power that is much more powerful than the Taliban and al-Qaeda combined, largely because they are grassroots with local support and sources rooted in the heroin economy.

What kind of regime can forge a functional consensus in Afghanistan so that the country’s rebuilding could start and the people enjoy relative peace and reconstruction of their country and their lives? First, any strictly secular regime would fail, so it would have to one that takes the religious and tribal traditions into account of the disparate groups. Second, massive aid of such an inclusive regime from different sources, including China, Pakistan, India, Iran, as well as the EU, US, and oil-rich Arab countries would have to flow into the country to rebuild it and secure a sustainable legitimate economy instead of the illegal one rooted in corruption.

Without the strategic cooperation of Pakistan and Iran, and without the tolerance of its close neighbors, including India, China, and Russia, there cannot be a stable regime in Kabul. How likely that we would see stability in Afghanistan? I suspect that when the economy begins to improve at a rapid pace and peoples’ lives improve, stability is inevitable. However, this will not come any time soon, because it is highly unlikely for the warlords and Taliban to be appeased unless they continue to have a political and economic stake in the new regime.
Externally-imposed solutions such as the US interventionist model will end in unmitigated failure.

Only domestic players, with the assistance of regional powers can make Afghanistan stable, not permanent military occupation. This does not mean that the world ought to turn a blind eye if a tyrannical regime emerges. However, there is a huge difference between genuine international cooperation intended to help bring about the best form of government in Kabul, and US military intervention. While the permanent US military occupation, with NATO backing leaves no room for optimism, the US-Iran rapprochement is a good beginning for international cooperation at the same time that China’s economic presence is also a source of relative stability and promise for Afghanistan’s future.

Hossein Amiri.

(Used to work For Tehran based Mehr News Agency in Iran. He now working for Young Journalist Club (YJC). He specializes on Middle east, US, And Russian Foreign policy)

Answer:

They are in the right track with many challenges ahead.

Dr. John Bruni.

(Director of SAGE International, open source intelligence and security consultancy based in Adelaide, South Australia, formerly served as Special Military Researcher Adviser at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR))

Answer:

Short-term, continuing instability, medium-term possible (Taliban or non-Taliban Pashtun) dictatorship followed by renewed civil war.

Claude Forthomme.

(Passionate traveler (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

Answer:

Dire. More of the same. A repeat of what happened after the Soviets left. In some countries, this kind of situation can last forever, look at Somalia or Sudan.

Steven Hansen.

(Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

Having lived most of my working life outside of the USA, I have long realized American perceptions of the world is incorrect. American foreign policy is guided by officials who have not lived in outside of the USA except maybe for short periods of time behind the walls of a USA embassy shielded from the real country and culture they were in.

The American people believe the world wants to be like the USA – and the news is that it does not. Sure everyone likes certain elements – but not the whole enchilada. American style democracy is questioned as the global community sees the outright lies and distortions of the American leaders. The American actions are watched closely, and the real lack of fair play in its International dealings is obvious.

Ah Afghanistan …..

From a practical standpoint, the USA has never been able to prop up a corrupt government. One cannot fight irregulars (USA calls them terrorists) with regular army as there is no way to identify the enemy. I believed it was a mistake to send troops into Afghanistan. I might have been open to destabilizing the Taliban – if an end game was feasible (but I doubt this was so).

There is no feasible end game to this conflict. The country is tribal – and anyone who has lived in tribal countries knows you need a powerful leader like a Tito or Saddam Hussein to hold a country together. Afghanistan is not a real country – and I do not see how it can survive in any form based on the current lay of the land.

Seyed Mostafa Mousavipour.

(His research focus/interest is terrorism, fundamentalism, and sectarian violence in South Asia and the Middle East)

A thirteen-year inconclusive conflict that had been unnecessarily prolonged, the US war in Afghanistan was definitely another glaring mistake of American foreign policy on a global scale. The outcome of such a myopic policy, if anything, was establishing global terrorism as a pretext for US imperialistic escapades – a reason for American military presence in the four corners of the world in defense of their national security.

To discuss the goals of this campaign, one should look at it from two distinct perspectives: 1) The widely stated goal – that of spreading democracy by eliminating the threat of extremism and jihadist militancy rife in Afghanistan end the neighboring Pakistan; and 2) the latent less publicized goal – that of introducing terrorism as an international scourge jeopardizing the free world and establishing the US as a force for good fighting this evil.

As far as the first goal is concerned, American venture was nothing but a total fiasco of tremendous proportions. The resurgence of militancy in Afghanistan at the behest of al Qaida-affiliated Haqqani Network, the inadequacy of Afghan National Army and Police to reign in the extremism, the regrouping of thousands of jihadists under new splinter factions in Pakistan’s tribal belt, the TTP’s growing anti-western ideology and, in a nutshell, the deep-rooted insecurity in Afghanistan and Pakistan is what is left after the 2015 drawdown of coalition forces.

As regards the second goal, the US was rather successful in that it freely deployed military force on different global stages in the post- 9/11 Era without feeling obliged to go through international conventions. By simply labeling some regional conflicts as the extention of international terrorism, American military campaign move unchecked across the globe in pursuit of democracy and peace.

The outcome of these policies, however, has so far been grave security disasters, the results of which, are here to haunt the world for the years to come. The scourge of terrorism and religious militancy has developed on a faster pace into the Middle East and North Africa causing these regions to plunge further info the abyss of sectarian carnage and ethnic crisis. The emergence of the ISIL is the latest in a series of severe backlash to failed governance in the wake of foreign intervention.

Indeed, the future of Afghanistan is pretty much bleak. The impact of long foreign troops’ presence was nothing but robbing the Afghan society of it’s vibrancy. A country that has nothing to hold the national fabric together.

David Swanson.

(He is working to end all war at http://WorldBeyondWar.org. He is the host of Talk Nation Radio. He has been a journalist, activist, organizer, educator, and agitator. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association,and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)

Answer:

That is up to the people of Afghanistan and the people of the world who have the power to compel their governments to help and to organize to help directly.

Ruslan Trad.

(Syrian-Bulgarian. Based in Sofia. Founder of Forum for Arab Culture. Freelance Middle East analyst and lecturer. Co-founder of Global Voices in Bulgaria)

Answer:

Unfortunately we cannot [do] prophesy. But we can try to say what might happen in the coming months depending on the facts. Afghanistan’s future is not clear. More pessimism than optimism. It is very important that the authorities in Kabul to be supported. It is important to avoid populism. It is important to prevent a new war. The consequences of the war of 2001 are strong – they has shaken the entire Afghan society. NGOs are also important for the development of society – they must have a chance to have a voice in making government decisions. In the near future, Afghanistan has to deal with the Taliban. Taliban must be repelled from regions where they are still strong – the government presence should be established in mountainous areas. Maybe there will be an escalation of clashes and in this case Americans should participate only as a supporting element.

We must look at the history of Afghanistan – there are many answers in the old books.

Todd Steinmetz.

He is a homeland security and counterterrorism subject matter expert with significant proven knowledge and practical experience in intelligence analysis, counterterrorism, physical security, and disaster preparedness, management, and response. He holds a Master of Science in Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies. As an intelligence and security Subject Matter Expert (SME),

Answer:

The prospects for the future of Afghanistan are admittedly bleak. The “nation’s” geography, prevalence of Islamic militancy, and history of warlordism will always plague any effort to install a strong central authority. How bad it gets will largely depend on the level of foreign support the nation can sustain going forward as the government is entirely reliant on that support to survive. Regardless, this support cannot continue forever. As a result, the nation appears condemned to struggle. At this point, the only real long-term choices appear to be a weak and corrupt central authority, tribal based warlordism, or the Taliban.

C. Bonjukian Patten.

(I am a Financial Consultant with my own Bookkeeping/Office Management LLC working in the Greater NYC Area for clients in a cross section of industry)

America never learns from other countries mistakes. Afghanistan was a bust for the British and for the Russians; so what made America think she could go in there and teach these thugs a lesson? One person – George Bush Jr. He was a cowboy from Connecticut who didn’t listen to anyone including his sidekick Cheney who would have probably loved to send an Atom Bomb into Kandahar to get rid of all these radicals. We lost the war there because we could never win so in fact I believe, 4000 young Americans died for nothing. Just like all wars.

The world views America with a sour eye and I was furious that we ever went to war with this country because it was not Afghanistan nor was it Iraq who bombed America on 9/11. It was Pakistan and they even harbored that murdering “prophet” from hell BIN LADEN.

America needs to get out of Afghanistan and let these people rot and kill each other. We have enough problems here at home to take care of. We’ll probably arm the Afghan’s against their own terrorists but in my head, if I were POTUS, I would drone Pakistan and take it out of existence forever. Pakistani’s are up to and India, their neighbor to the north, hates them as well.

Pakistan is like the bully who could. It harbors Taliban and other bullies and they do it openly as you have written. They are also responsible for much of the “human trafficking” that goes on in the world. Anything to exploit others while they lean heavily on their cult religion of Islam.

I don’t really care what happens to Afghanistan in the future. There is nothing to export from there, but hate of the world. Better it be gone to Earth than allowed to exist among us.

Jaime Ortega.

(President of the daily Journalist)

Afghanistan was hardly defined as war. Afghanistan was an unplanned military mission to respond to 9-11 as an immediate need to counter-react to a horrible event, based on paranoia by means of blaming a country classified as a potential threat to US goals. For the US, this was mainly to show global dominance after suffering the backlash of an epic catastrophe difficult to overcome, and hard to digest. After 6 trillion $USD spent, there has been no porpoise for intervention other than to kill Osama Bin Laden, and eliminate Al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. For years, prior to 9-11 Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) ran free in Yemen terrorizing people, even bombarding the US embassy in Abuja Nigeria, showing an increasing desire to attack US targets on its soil. Only one man by the name of John O’Neill, had gathered sufficient intelligence to conclude Al-Qaeda aimed their scope at the twin towers to capitalize a major terrorist attack in late 2001; O’Neill’s case was dismissed, and the FBI alongside with the Clinton’s ignored the facts, only to feed on their pragmatic peaceful geo-political agenda to pursuit personal self-ego.

They denied access to several Intelligence agencies from aggressively interrogating and conducting investigations of High Valuable Targets (HVT’s) staying in the Arabian Peninsula prior to 9-11, fearing what ripple effect might cause with Arab diplomacy. 9-11 could had been prevented with the right leadership! George W. Bush inherited the Clinton‘s fiasco, and instead of attacking the aid coming from Oman, Yemen, UAE or even Saudi Arabia they took on tribal Afghanistan that presents no national interest. The Arabian Peninsula has been the flowing nectar where terrorist seek financial support, and the US Government ignored the real situation and continues to do so to this day, by turning the blame on a few hornets in Afghanistan. Not long after war was declared, the CIA and JSOC skimmed through Afghanistan like wildfire capturing Kabul in a matter of days only to push a few thousand Afghani Jihadist to Pakistan for safe-haven. Then out the shadows of the unknown, without any political background, a man by the name of Hamid Karzai, jumps into spontaneous existence chosen by the Bush administration as a hybrid democratic contender to later be elected prime minister.

After all the great opportunities the US gave the Afghani prime minister, he ended up despising US foreign policy as Vice-President Joe Biden, and Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham noted on their visit a few years back when they met in his office. Hamid’s brother, Walid Karzai was the governor of Kandahar and was accused by US Intel of becoming an uncontrollable corrupt leader. Democracy, ended up turning corrupt. Meanwhile across the Afghani border, for more than a decade without significant distinction prime ministers Pervez Musharraf, Zardai, and Nawaz Sharif doubled played the US for most of the war; They used the Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI) which financed and gave rise to the infamous ‘return of the Taliban’ back in the North Eastern provinces, under guidance of Al-Qaeda. As a key figure Pakistani intelligence alerted terrorist ahead of time, helping them elude US drone strikes. Pitifully not one US general had a concluding strategy into what was that they were doing in Afghanistan, as the main focus was killing insurgents that jumped back and forth from the Pakistani border.

The Pentagon and the executive office were deeply divided in what strategies would work well in Afghanistan. The Obama administration vainly took the warnings given by Dave Petraeus, General Lute, Admiral Michael Mullen, and even Obama’s former National Security adviser Gen James Jones about the dangers of not dealing with Afghanistan. The fact there was a contended division between generals and wannabe politicians, shows the ‘my-way or the highway’ attitude the president had on 2009, having absolutely no clue about military knowledge. Obama mostly guided himself via personal intuition. Looking for a soluble solution, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates with the blessings of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to fire former General David McKiernan on the basis that Afghanistan needed a new facelift. The punch-line of such abrupt change of command became evident when Afghanistan noticed the same troubles it presented before, with the now newly appointed former General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal as much as McKiernan opted for more troops to regain security of the country with the exact same solution, so the facelift was nothing but a numb fachade by the Obama administration to remove a former Bush general for an Obama general. McChrystal offered his resignation not long after, for publicly expressing his discontent of the Obama Administration plan to not send troops to Afghanistan. If you look at the individual stories of each general deployed to Afghanistan, it almost look like it was impossible for them to do their job without presidential interruption. The death of General Harold J. Greene was in my opinion a summary of the disastrous campaign Afghanistan has proven.

In my opinion despite the casualties, it wasn’t war, it was literally a circus without a real strategy targeted to the wrong country. And if you ask me, did Osama Bin Laden die in the hands of US special forces? Well, for the most part I don’t believe Iranian sources because they deny the Holocaust, but Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi on 2010 claimed Osama Bin Laden died as a cause of disease which was what the US suspected prior to operation Geronimo because he stopped releasing videos after 2006. But I don’t believe Heydar’s side of the story over the CIA‘s version.

I do believe what Prime Minister Bengazi Bhutto declared on a video conference before her assassination when she publicly stated on live television to reporter David Frost that “Osama Bin Laden died back in 2007 murder by a man called Omar Sheikh.” She wanted democracy, was pro US ally, a straight shooter who had many enemies inside and outside Pakistan that did not like her reforms. I have to respect that. So in my opinion, reading closely up to five different reports of Osama‘s death prior to his ‘official’ death in 2010, has made me question many things. And just because the US claims they killed him, it doesn’t mean anything. Obama has lied more on all his political promises, than Bhutto did on her side of the world before her assassination. For that alone, I question his integrity and reliability. So the jury is still up on that one, and that largely affects the Bush mission in Afghanistan.

Answer:

When the US military packs their bags, Afghanistan is underway for chaos. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban will regroup stronger than ever, with more battleground experience just like ISIL in Iraq. I predict some ISIL militants will join. There will be a unification of jihadist cells in Afghanistan, and they will regain possession of the country in no time. The weak central government wont stand a chance. Pakistan will fight a double edge war, trying to contend the rise of insurgents from gaining control of the country; They will also eliminate training camps in Afghanistan, which will only infuriate the tribes involved to also react. I think India might even truce with Pakistan on this one to fight the rise of the new insurgency together.

If that is not enough expert and other opinion here is Haroun Mir in Al Jazeera:

After 13 years of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the United States and a number of its NATO partners will start the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. The number of NATO and US forces is reduced from 140,000 to 13,500 – most of them American – starting January 1.

How will the new national unity government in Kabul weather the NATO drawdown, despite a resilient insurgency and intensified fighting?

There has been much speculation about the security transition in 2014 in Afghanistan. In 2012, I wrote an Oped for the New York Times, warning that “Kabul risks political meltdown”. Many other analysts have also predicted a sombre year, particularly after the refusal of former President Hamid Karzai to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US.

However, for the time being, we were all proved wrong as the democratic process that began at the Bonn Conference in 2001, survived, and the country was saved from the brink of a new civil war.

Strategic gains

Indeed we have achieved important strategic gains in the last few months, starting with the landmark peaceful transfer of political power from one democratically elected leader to another, for the first time in Afghanistan’s history. This milestone was made possible by the will of ordinary Afghan people, who twice braved the threat of violence imposed by the Taliban and came out en masse, voting for their candidates of choice.

Afghan security forces have been able to hold ground and push back the insurgent offensives in almost all fronts, which has became a source of pride for the Afghan government and people.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has tried hard to undermine the electoral process. By confronting Afghan security forces in 16 different provinces, they wanted to gain significant territory, thus declaring themselves as an alternative governing force in the country.

Nevertheless, the Afghan security forces have been able to hold ground and push back the insurgent offensives in almost all fronts, which has became a source of pride for the Afghan government and people.

This proved wrong skeptics who doubted the capacity of the Afghan security forces to defend their country, which has taken responsibility for security in many provinces since the start of the security transition in 2012. . .

So there is both outright optimism and pessimism. My view is that war does not build sustainable physical and social capital. The antipathies it creates and leaves do not fade way, unless there some form of peace and reconciliation process. Bear in mind that Afghanistan as a country is an artificial creation and product of Imperialism. Similarly, it might be contended that the UK is a product of imperialism that provided the focus for unity that Afghanistan will not have.

How then might the suffering of the Afghan people be alleviated and ideally brought to an end? Perhaps we need to act as concerned global citizens intervening as honest brokers to reduce conflict and build social trust and cohesion, while providing the needs the people ask for while offering alternatives, for example, to poppy cultivation, or if it is an option buying the crop for medicinal uses (if that is an option). The cost of constructive assistance through partnership might not equal the amount so willing expended on war. How far would have the 6 trillion dollars have gone, with every dollar fully accounted for, if it had been spent in the US?

In 1973 the BBC took a journey into the Afghanistan past:

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