Emerging Scenarios in Afghanistan
I was intrigued and disappointed to read the piece by Senator Ron Paul dated 18 Dec 2019 on Afghanistan .
My thoughts in the matter are :
Pakistan has worked best keeping geographical realities in mind and not perceptions. Ron Paul has explained the lies that were fed to the US public and the perception of impending victory. The US had falsified the threat to my mind from the beginning. The stage now has been reached where the events in Afghanistan has overwhelmed the US and neoconservatives in DC. There exit from the battlefield is nothing short of defeat. Looking at US wars , historically they have humiliatingly vacated the field in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and now Afghanistan. After the Geneva Accord the US unabashedly left the Zone and all the problems to Pakistan. They will do the same now. What will they leave behind is the question? It appears similar to the 1992 period, the most horrific in Kabul. It gave rise to sectarian intolerance, ethnic brutality and warlordism. Ashraf Ghani will find sponsors like India to continue, the Taliban will find excuses to kill. Whichever way one looks at the picture, the US wants turmoil to remain. Their weak admonishment to Kabul for delaying the contours of the peace talks was the signal that meant go ahead, go slow. The TPP/ BLA/PTM factors are alive and well in Afghanistan and is/will be used against us in the future.
Afghanistan’s successes have always been when a strong ruler governs, Abdali, Abdul Rahman, Nadir Shah, Daud, Taliban years. Taliban will not rest till Kabul is not taken or that the majority rule is not theirs. Ghani is now in the same situation as Najibullah was, no option but to stay. India will shake the Talib hand but I do not foresee any earth breaking future. Khalilzad is the real serpent in the whole game. It was his idea to leave a wrench in the works by suggesting and enforcing India to be part of the Peace effort. This allows them to retain leverage at Kabul as well as a threat to Pakistan. What Islamabad needs to do is worry about PTM and the Baluchi non state players. China, Russia are not against us, Iran cannot be trusted . The more we encourage China to fill the vacuum in Afghanistan it will improve our status. The Taliban are more savvy, shifty, bloated and in the future unreliable. We must however continue to ‘own them’. The Covid-19 scare is temporary.
To deal with the PTM one must look at three possibilities, divide them, compromise them or eliminate them. Ask not, explain not, Islamabad has all the right to move against secessionists . We must prepare strong Pashtun teams to control the PTM politically as well . The NDS and Amrullah Saleh are working overtime on them and the TPP.
A civil war is looming in Afghanistan, NATO and the US are not unduly worried. They want out at any cost, Afghans are not letting them, their equipment what is left will be used by the victor, reminiscent of the Soviet war! It would be an irony if American tanks cross the same Amu Darya for ‘moth balling’ in Uzbekistan! As Moscow did! Repeat of History.