Monday, February 27, 2012

Kabul on razor's edge

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"The killing in Kabul on Saturday of two high-ranking American military officials - a colonel and a major - serving with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will prompt a paradigm shift in regional security. Afghanistan surges as still America's number one "hot spot", over-shadowing Syria and Iran.

If President Barack Obama thought it was time for the United States military to "pivot" toward the Asia-Pacific, it has been delusionary thinking. The Taliban retain a big say still in the upcoming campaign for Obama's re-election bid; the strategy of peace talks with the Taliban will need a close look.

The prospects of the United States establishing military bases in Afghanistan look very doubtful in the backdrop of the tsunami of anti-Americanism sweeping through Afghanistan. And, in immediate terms, what happens to the drawdown of the US troops?.....

No doubt, the ground beneath the American feet in the Hindu Kush is shifting dangerously. The British, too, were unprepared for the insurrection in Kabul in November 1841. They failed to grasp the significance when the mob encircled the villa of Sir Alexander Burnes in Kabul. The British diplomat tried to offer money to the crowd but the residence was overrun and he and his brother were killed.

The British finally understood it was time to leave Afghanistan when their cantonment in Kabul was encircled a month later. By that time, in the event, even an orderly retreat became problematic. "

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