Friday, November 13, 2009

Short Cuts in Afghanistan

How Could This End Well?


"....It’s now obvious to everyone that this is not a ‘good’ war designed to eliminate the opium trade, discrimination against women and everything bad – apart from poverty, of course. So what is Nato doing in Afghanistan? Has this become a war to save Nato as an institution? Or is it more strategic, as was suggested in the spring 2005 issue of Nato Review....

Whatever the reason, the operation has failed. Most of Obama’s friends in the US media recognise this, and support a planned withdrawal, while worrying that pulling troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan might result in Obama losing the next election, especially if McChrystal or General Petraeus, the supposed hero of the surge in Iraq, stand for the Republicans. Not that the US seems likely to withdraw from Iraq. The only withdrawal being contemplated is from the main cities, restricting the US presence to the huge air-conditioned military bases that have already been constructed in the interior of the country, mimicking the strongholds of the British Empire (minus the air-conditioners) during the early decades of the last century.

While Washington decides what do, Af-Pak is burning. Carrying out the imperial diktat has put the Pakistan army under enormous strain. Its recent well-publicised offensive in South Waziristan yielded little. Its intended target disappeared to fight another day. To show good faith the military raided the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Peshawar. On 4 November I received an email from Peshawar......"

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