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Thread: The Taliban collection (2006 onwards)

  1. #221
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default We are talking again, with some trying to stop this

    My title based on an article from The Guardian, which starts with:
    The Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government have restarted secret talks in the Gulf state of Qatar, senior sources within the insurgency and the Kabul government have told the Guardian.
    Who would try to stop this? According to a:
    A western official in Kabul said a spate of arrests by Pakistani security forces of senior Taliban officials suggests Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are trying to “re-establish control over the process”.
    A familiar tactic. Plus GIRoA denying the talks have happened.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...et-talks-qatar
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-18-2016 at 07:39 PM. Reason: 104,017v
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    Default Who controls what?

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  3. #223
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    Default Talking with the Taliban

    Yet another think tank paper to read one day, with a renowned SME and a Kings War Studies professor:
    This new RUSI Briefing Paper explores the new Taliban leadership landscape and, within this, the potential for restarting peace talks.

    Based on interviews with Taliban personnel the paper argues that there is substantial discord within the group and in particular, that the new Taliban emir, Maulawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, has failed to exert his authority.
    Link:https://rusi.org/publication/briefin...ter-decade-war
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-31-2017 at 10:22 PM. Reason: 121,063 Up 17k in 3 months
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    Hat tip to WoTR for this short article on talking with the Taliban and a way to make peace:https://warontherocks.com/2017/02/in...n-afghanistan/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-22-2017 at 09:13 PM. Reason: 124,890v Up 3.8k in three weeks
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    Default Afghan Officials: Islamic State Fighters Finding Sanctuary in Afghanistan

    Afghan Officials: Islamic State Fighters Finding Sanctuary in Afghanistan

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  6. #226
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    Default Unbeatable: Social Resources, Military Adaptation, and the Afghan Taliban

    A lengthy article by Professor Theo Farrell, ex-Kings War Studies, partly based on his first-hand research with ISAF and the Taliban. IT appears on WoTR from an affiliated website.

    He opens with:
    Insurgencies are famously difficult to defeat, yet the Afghan Taliban have proven especially so. Accounts of Taliban resilience have focused on both the deficiencies of Western efforts and the Afghan state and on Pakistani support for the Taliban. These accounts fail, however, to reveal the full picture of how the Taliban have been able to survive. Drawing on original field research, this article explores how the Taliban’s success has been shaped by factors internal to the insurgency, namely, the social resources that sustain it and the group’s ability to adapt militarily.

    (He ends with) In the end, ramping up the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan risks reenergizing the Taliban’s sense of purpose and uniting a movement that may be beginning to unravel. If the United States is not careful, it could end up bombing its way to defeat in Afghanistan.
    Link:https://tnsr.org/2018/05/unbeatable-...fghan-taliban/
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  7. #227
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    Default After the "near miss" @ Farah: A war of attrition and a waiting game

    This post will be cross-posted in the thread on ANSF performance.

    A report from the probably independent Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) on the recent attack on Farah city. It opens with:
    An attack on Farah city had long been feared. For years now, the Taleban have been taking control of the provincial capital’s outlying districts and inching their way towards the central hub. For a few days in mid-May, it looked as though the Taleban were about to take Farah city, which would have been their most significant military triumph since capturing Kunduz for two weeks in 2015. Their strategy of consolidating control over rural areas then digging in at a provincial centre’s outskirts before launching an attack appears to be an increasing trend. While they lost the battle in Farah on this occasion, the Taleban still pose a serious threat to the area. AAN co-director Thomas Ruttig together with Ali Mohammad Sabawoon, Rohullah Soroush and Obaid Ali unpack the attack and its aftermath.
    This is the first of two dispatches examining the recent attack on the city of Farah. This first dispatch focuses on the attack and its aftermath. The second contextualises the attack in light of post-2001 developments in Farah.
    It ends with:
    With regards to Farah, the fact that the Taleban were only pushed back to positions just outside the provincial capital from where they started their attack means that new attacks can be expected. Farah is only one example for a situation that prevails in at least a quarter of Afghanistan’s provinces.
    Link:https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org...e-for-farah-i/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-06-2018 at 02:27 PM. Reason: 180,718v
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  8. #228
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    Default Maybe significant: a Taliban leader is released

    Long ago Pakistan detained a significant Afghan Taliban figure, although some contest his importance and via Twitter there is a story:
    Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Afghan Taliban, popularly known as “Mulla Baradar” has been finally released from jail in Pakistan.
    Link:https://www.thenews.com.pk/amp/38384...-from-pak-jail

    He was detained in 2010, alas the posts about this cannot be found - the search function fails.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-22-2018 at 07:02 PM. Reason: 189,535v today
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  9. #229
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    Default Taliban go underground to mine an ANSF base

    Spotted via Twitter yesterday:
    Taliban insurgents have detonated a powerful bomb near a major military base in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, killing at least five soldiers and wounding six others.

    The attack happened Tuesday night in the volatile Maiwand district, where Taliban rebels dug a two-kilometer tunnel into the Afghan National Army base and planted the explosives. A security official requesting anonymity confirmed the details to VOA on Wednesday.

    A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, claimed its "tactical explosion flattened" the army base and killed at least 40 security forces, though insurgent claims are often inflated.
    Link:https://www.voanews.com/a/taliban-tu...k/4725499.html and a little on:https://www.rferl.org/a/five-afghan-.../29688268.html

    I don't recall previous attacks using this approach; a tactic that requires skill, patience and dedication IMHO. Hence a new thread.

    Note there are some recent posts on underground warfare between Israel and it's enemies on the IDF thread.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-26-2019 at 09:07 PM. Reason: Was a standalone post with 279v till merged
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  10. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Spotted via Twitter yesterday:
    Link:https://www.voanews.com/a/taliban-tu...k/4725499.html and a little on:https://www.rferl.org/a/five-afghan-.../29688268.html

    I don't recall previous attacks using this approach; a tactic that requires skill, patience and dedication IMHO. Hence a new thread.

    Note there are some recent posts on underground warfare between Israel and it's enemies on the IDF thread.
    David,

    Tunneling as a military tactic has been around for a while, but this is the first time I recall the Taliban using it.

    See: https://spartacus-educational.com/FWWtunnelling.htm
    On the Western Front during the First World War, the military employed specialist miners to dig tunnels under No Man's Land. The main objective was to place mines beneath enemy defensive positions. When it was detonated, the explosion would destroy that section of the trench. The infantry would then advance towards the enemy front-line hoping to take advantage of the confusion that followed the explosion of an underground mine.

    Soldiers in the trenches developed different strategies to discover enemy tunnelling. One method was to drive a stick into the ground and hold the other end between the teeth and feel any underground vibrations. Another one involved sinking a water-filled oil drum into the floor of the trench. The soldiers then took it in turns to lower an ear into the water to listen for any noise being made by tunnellers.
    There are some documentaries online the topic if you do a search. The U.S. Army is beginning to identify subterranean as its own domain, one we need to learn to operate in and hopefully dominate.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-26-2019 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Was a standalone post with 279v till merged

  11. #231
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    Default Taliban leader goes to Qatar: good news for the peace process says GIRoA negoitator

    An update, even slightly optimistic, on the talks involving the Taliban; citing an ICG expert:
    This has the potential to start the first serious peace process to end one of the biggest wars in the world. It’s monumental news, but we’re still at the early stages...We know the agreement has four parts: ceasefire, counter-terrorism, troop withdrawal, and intra-Afghan negotiations. Sequencing and timelines remain tricky.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...e-breakthrough
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-26-2019 at 09:14 PM. Reason: 195,267v today
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  12. #232
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    Default Afghanistan: Exit to Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    An update, even slightly optimistic, on the talks involving the Taliban; citing an ICG expert:
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...e-breakthrough
    I had a few random (very pedestrian and expected) thoughts on this topic https://www.brownpundits.com/2019/02...exit-to-chaos/

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    I had a few random (very pedestrian and expected) thoughts on this topic https://www.brownpundits.com/2019/02...exit-to-chaos/
    Based on general principles I think you basically nailed it.

    Without knowing ANYTHING about the various layers of secret planning and execution going on right now, just on general principles (losers donÂ’t get to dictate terms, winners are not bound by promises they made, Trump is an ignorant conman, etc) this is not going to end well. There WILL be blood.
    Beyond the obvious corruption on the US side there is the issue of ideological incompetence; the US is neither a capable imperial power, nor an innocent spectator with no interest in meddling in far away countries. And somehow its processes are so designed that it is easier to waste a 100 billion per year than it is to sit back and figure out what the aims are, where the carrots and sticks are most likely to work and now to apply them.
    Our problem is not staying power, few nations can match the U.S.'s political will, means, and endurance to commit to enduring conflicts like these. I know the common misperception is we don't have staying power, but show me another nation that intervenes in the affairs of other nations with the tenacity that we do?

    I find it hard to imagine that this could end up as a US “win”. As a US citizen, I will be happy if it does, but I am not holding my breath.
    I think our President could use some mentoring on leadership. Sometimes a bitter pill goes down a lot easier with the right words. Not everyone can be a Churchill or Regan, but no one should spew out national security policy decisions by Twitter. This behavior is absurd for a national leader. He needs to understand the sacrifice thousands of Americans and our allies have made in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Then it will become clear he owes those who sacrificed more than a policy by Tweet. He owes them an explanation and his sincere gratitude for their sacrifice. The blame for the poorly conceived policy does not belong to those doing the fighting.

    The President’s instincts may be right. Withdrawing may well be the right decision since all these adventures were in pursuit of unrealistic policy aims that wasted trillions of dollars. This great distraction (I’ll clarify) and diversion of resources allowed more serious threats to our nation to expand elsewhere. I now question LTG McMaster’s claim the answer to our problems (for terrorism) is not the 0’Dark Thirty response. Maybe it is the best response to prevent attacks on the homeland. You kill those planning to execute without committing a tremendous amount of resources to transform foreign cultures. Gen Mattis’s claim we have to build while we fight should also be suspect. This approach resulted in significant mission creep, a creep that exceeded our means and accomplished little. This is what I mean by distraction and diversion of resources. We should have, a should continue to employ forces to kill al-Qaeda and ISIS. I know the counter-argument, what happens if you leave? We’re leaving and whatever facade of stability we think we created will probably fall apart anyway. At the end of the day, the locals have to sort out the power arrangements.

    There is a very uncomfortable moral hazard associated with pulling out. I don’t think there is a way to withdraw without pulling the rug out from our partners feet. They put everything at risk to support us on the assumption we would stand by their side. With our current immigration policies and bitterly divided political parties, it is unlikely we will offer them an alternative home. Once again we face with no good options, just less bad ones. On the bright side, this could be a catalyst to bring our political parties together when it comes to foreign policy. What principles we stand for as Americans seemed to be increasingly questioned around the world, and maybe within our own borders. We need Congress to perform its balancing role more than ever.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-02-2019 at 07:32 PM.

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    Major Amin, an observer with far more local knowledge than me, has some thoughts on the Afghan defeat negotiations..

    https://www.brownpundits.com/2019/02...-afghan-peace/

  15. #235
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Afghanistan: the tensions inside the Taliban over recent US peace talks

    Michael Semple, the author of this article is well-known for his knowledge of Afghanistan and the Taliban - which led to his expulsion a few years ago. So IMHO worth reading.

    His last two paragraphs:
    The default position for the Taliban leadership would be to let talks drag on for a while and then double down on the strategy of jihad until victory by launching a spring offensive. However, what has changed since Khalilzad launched his peace initiative in October 2018 is that more Taliban have come to contemplate an end to the war and even some senior figures have concluded that this can only be achieved by compromise. Afghanistan is still probably a long way away from a peace deal. But the shift in Taliban calculus is a helpful foundation for the next stage of peacemaking.
    Link:https://theconversation.com/afghanistan-the-tensions-inside-the-taliban-over-recent-us-peace-talks-110734?

    Curious that Taliban fighters are using Facebook, have phones and issue their chants via Whatsapp.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-24-2019 at 08:11 PM. Reason: 197,327v today
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  16. #236
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    Default Time for the old men to talk: a commentary (Part 1 of 2)

    A commentary by Hamid Hussain, a regular SWC contributor.

    “There is nothing further here for a warrior. We drive bargains; oldmen’s work. Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men; courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace. The vices of peace are the vices of old men; mistrust and caution. It must be so”. Prince Feisal (Sir Alec Guinness) to T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) in Lawrence of Arabia.

    From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    In the last few months, a new window opened in the seventeen years old war in Afghanistan. There was breakthrough with first serious efforts of direct negotiations between United States (U.S.) and main militant group Taliban. It was President Donald Trump’s announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan that got the ball rolling. He made this decision without consulting any other government agency. Pentagon, intelligence community and State Department view rapid withdrawal as a recipe for disaster. Trump appointed former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and an Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad nick named Zal to spearhead this effort. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar worked as intermediaries and a bridge between Taliban, Pakistan and Americans.

    Negotiations between Taliban and Unites States are only one dimension of a complex conflict. Taliban’s strategy is simple in its execution. It used its committed cadre of fighters and support structure in Pakistan to escalate violence to a level to achieve two goals. First to sow enough fear and uncertainty among Afghans that will undermine the efficiency and to some extent legitimacy of the government. Another objective is to convince fellow Afghans that without giving them a share in power and economic pie, Afghans will never see peace. Initially, behind the scene, questions were raised by Americans whether Taliban are a unified entity to work with. Taliban responded by announcing a three days ceasefire during Eid festival. There were no attacks all over the country proving their point that they have a firm command and control system and all fighters follow the leadership. When United States announced troop withdrawal plan, Taliban thought that by directly negotiating they will get the credit and fulfil one of their objectives of forcing foreign troop withdrawal. This will help them to carve out a much larger share in power after American withdrawal.

    Another factor was intense pressure on Taliban from Pakistan and Arab countries. Agreeing to direct negotiations with Americans, Taliban placated both parties and if no agreement is reached, they can claim that they entered in negotiations with good faith and put the blame of failure at American doorstep. From U.S. point of view, there is a narrow window of about six months. Domestic troubles of President Trump will take a sharp turn with completion of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s work. In addition, presidential campaign will start in the fall of 2019 and these two factors will suck all the oxygen in White House. Like many other foreign policy issues, Afghanistan will also recede in the background.



    Things are also moving very fast for Taliban. Transition of an armed group from war to a political process is a challenging period. Consensus among core leadership, sorting out friction between fighting commanders on the ground and political operatives of the movement and most importantly a convincing message to the foot soldiers about what is the meaning and concrete shape of victory. Compromise is a completely different animal than total victory.


    It is at this junction that armed groups split into factions. There is some friction among senior members of Taliban leadership on policy issues. One example will give a glimpse of these Byzantine intrigues. In December 2018, Taliban shadow governor of Helmand Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund who was a strong opponent of negotiations with U.S. was killed in a drone strike. Events moved very fast after his demise on the negotiations front that raises the question whether someone from inside tipped the Afghan or American intelligence. His control of a large share of Helmand’s opium crop and his rivalry with Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhund adds to the confusion surrounding his death. On the political front, some old hands like Tayyab Agha faded and Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanakzai has emerged as public face of Taliban in negotiations. He is facing his own challenges from political operatives and military commanders of Taliban movement.

    Taliban initially agreed to travel to Pakistan to meet Pakistani officials. However, when Afghan public opinion turned against them accusing Taliban being Pakistan’s proxies, Taliban declined to come to Islamabad citing travel problems. Signature on a piece of paper for American troop withdrawal is the easiest part. Real landmines on the road to peace are agreement on ceasefire, transition, involvement of Afghan government in the process; buy in from Afghan power brokers and role of neighbouring countries especially Pakistan and Iran. Even if this Herculean task is achieved, the real elephant in the room is who is going to subsidize the Afghan state?

    Taliban will sign on any document as they think that after the departure of American troops, with dominant military muscle they will dictate their terms on Afghans opposing them. Some even argue that there is no need to negotiate and risk internal division as Americans are going anyway whether there is an agreement or not. What happens after American withdrawal is anybody’s guess? Even if Taliban decide not to use violence, insistence on Shariat based constitution and restrictions on women and civil liberties now enjoyed by Afghans will bring them in conflict with many groups. With such deep ideological divisions, instinctive use of violence is the next logical step that will plunge the country into another cycle of fratricide.

    Anyone trying to read tea leaves in the muddy waters of Afghanistan has been disappointed time and again. The issue is not limited to Taliban and United States but there are several regional and international actors who have a vote on this subject. More importantly Afghan individuals, groups and factions will drive events. Currently, Afghan power brokers are in a state of rapid re-alignment. Afghan government sees itself as a big loser as so far it has been excluded from the negotiations process. Zal periodically briefs high Afghan officials on the pace of negotiations but it is not enough to allay their fears. On the other hand, Russia also kept Afghan government out of the talks it sponsored in Moscow. President Ashraf Ghani is trying to shore up his position. On internal front, he has announced convening of a grand assembly of tribal leaders in March and bringing in his inner circle experienced street fighters who served as interior ministers and head of Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS). The list includes Hanif Atmar, Amrullah Saleh and Asadulah Khalid. On external front, he is appealing to the Europeans for support. However, on both fronts, he is vulnerable. Tribal leaders will defect to who offers them more money and leave them alone in their tribal fiefdoms.


    Europe is facing its own serious problems of Brexit as well as rise of right-wing political parties. There is no desire to spend European treasure in the black hole of Afghanistan.

    Political competition is rapidly evolving into a zero-sum game. One can now see evolution of factions that includes members of current government under President Ashraf Ghani, former President Hamid Karzai and his close confidants, members of old Northern Alliance and regional strongmen. This gives option of defection to every Afghan player and history of Afghanistan is full of these volte faces. The most damaging effect of this exercise is erosion of nascent and already shaky national instruments of security. Army, police and intelligence agencies are now riddled with fear, suspicion and mistrust. Individual members of these organizations will drift towards sub-national identities for survival.

    Any future national structure that will emerge after American withdrawal will be on very shaky grounds. The real wild card in this game is young generation of Afghans who grew up after 2001 especially in urban centres with access to information. Eighty four percent of twenty-seven million Afghans are under the age of forty. Fate of Afghanistan will be determined by this group and time will tell if they organize to a level where they can pull their own elders from the brink of another cycle of civil war or pick a gun and join their respective political, ethnic or sectarian group.

    There is lot of euphoria generated by photo sessions of gatherings in Qatar and Moscow. However, one needs to be realistic and never lose sight of harsh and painful facts on the ground. If we rewind the clock, we will see that a similar assorted set of Afghans was gathered in Taif; Saudi Arabia and had to be put in a prison for a night to agree to the mundane issue of who would be their spokesperson. In another round, all were pushed inside the most holy building of their religion; Ka’aba where they swore that they will stop the bloodshed and signed on their most holy book Quran. When they came back to their homeland, they brought the destruction that surpassed the punishment inflicted by Soviet Union on Afghans. This is reality, rest is our own imagination.
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    Default Time for the old men to talk: a commentary (Part 2 of 2)

    U.S. is currently spending $42 billion a year in Afghanistan. Everyone including Taliban are benefiting from this largesse. Once this tap is closed and American restraints on local and regional players are removed then everybody and his cousin will rush in and I’ll leave it to the imagination what it means? Machiavelli gave us warning about such situations that “in a divided country, when any man thinks himself injured, he applies to the head of his faction, who is obliged to assist him in seeking vengeance if he is to keep up his own reputation and interests, instead of discouraging violence”.
    Rivalry between Saudi Arabia and UAE on one and Qatar on the other side also had an impact on Afghan dialogue process. Initially, venue of talks was in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. When Saudi Arabia and later UAE pressured Taliban to also include Afghan government in the process, Taliban deftly used Arab division to its own advantage. They declined to attend meetings in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Qatar quickly filled the gap by arranging meetings in Doha pitching to the Americans that Doha already has Taliban office and not insisting to Taliban to include Afghan government.
    United States found it more useful and productive to use Arabs to work on Pakistan rather than attempting old formula of direct incentives and arm twisting. Pakistan is in a very difficult economic situation and therefore more vulnerable diplomatically. An element of self-interest is also involved. They have realized the grave danger of proxy war and its negative fallout for Pakistan with a quick American withdrawal. Now Pakistan is doing everything for free for Americans as they see this exercise as self-interest. Saudi Arabia and UAE and to a lesser extent Qatar have picked up the tab.
    Current civilian government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has ceded foreign policy as well national security to the army. This is what army brass has been advocating for decades telling the politicians to concentrate on economy and governance and leave the national security and foreign policy to the army. The prayers of generals have been answered. Afghan policy and negotiations with Americans are dictated by a general principle accepted by army brass, articulated by late General Muhammad Zia ul Haq and quoted in John Persico’s biography of CIA Director William Casey. In 1983, Zia told Casey that ‘being a friend of the United States was like living on the banks of a great river. The soil is wonderfully fertile, but every four or eight years the river changes course and you may find yourself alone in a desert’.
    If Afghanistan is faced with another round of violence, the winds of instability will invariably start to blow east of the Durand Line. This will have significant social, political and economic fallout for Pakistan. 2019 is different than 2001 and Pakistan has certain advantages as well as new vulnerabilities in 2019. Now, Pakistan army is in control of border area. Regular army and paramilitary force Frontier Scouts (FS) are manning border posts, control all major population centres as well as roads. Thanks to American financial support a decade ago, FS is equipped and trained and manning defensible positions. The army’s decision to fence the border seems now very prudent as it may provide some firewall.
    On the negative side, army was blindsided by deep anger among tribesmen. Sudden emergence of a grassroots organization Pushtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) gave voice to grievances of not only tribesmen but large number of young Pushtun students and professionals found a voice. Poor handling by army and some irresponsible statements from some PTM members widened the gulf and now a lot is needed to bridge the gap. In fact, Pushtun youth of both Pakistan and Afghanistan who advocate non-violence can be the bridge of peace between two countries. Expectations should be modest and a reasonably functioning central Afghan government that allows some economic activity and keeps violence below a certain threshold that it does not affect day to day activities then people should be satisfied with this outcome.
    The most clear and present danger is covert wars staged from Afghanistan. Everyone is angry and blames others for their misfortunes forgetting their own role in the blood-soaked saga of the last four decades. If everyone succumbs to their basic instincts, then they will see covert operations as a cheap option to address their pressing security concerns. The possibilities for destruction are endless and can be done very cheaply. It takes years to build a school or a hospital and train staff with large human and economic investment. However, you can bring down the whole building in less than five minutes using explosive costing less than $100. A bullet costing few pennies can take the flame of life from a teacher or a doctor that took two decades of education.
    U.S. using Saudi and Emirati connections in the border territory to support Baluch of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to run covert operations in southern areas of Iran. Israelis will invariably join this party in view of recent close cooperation with Saudis and Emiratis in security and intelligence fields. Angry Afghans giving shelter to Pakistani Taliban as well as Baluch militants to pay back Pakistan in its own coin. Iranians using it as a staging ground to thwart Saudi encroachment in its backyard in Baluchistan.
    Russia attempting to create a cordon sanitaire in northern Afghanistan to keep the winds of chaos away from vulnerable Central Asian Republics as well as its soft underbelly in Chechnya and Dagestan. India preferring to fight the battle inside Afghanistan to prevent establishment of safe havens of Kashmiri militants and avoid the re-run of the bad movie of 1990s.
    China’s ill thought policy of mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims and attempts to completely erase their Muslim identity has opened a very fertile soil for trouble. Uighur orphans can find many step-fathers in the killing fields of Afghanistan that can keep China busy chasing shadows for decades.
    If restraint is not shown then in this zero-sum game, everyone will suffer in the long run even of they achieve some temporary success. Former CIA director Richard Helms quoted in Bob Woodward’s The Secret Wars of CIA very correctly pointed that, “Covert action is like a damn good drug. It works, but if you take too much of it, it will kill you”. Everyone engaged in this exercise needs only to care about the welfare of their own people and not doing a favour to the other party. They will need wisdom of Solomon, patience of Job and mercy of Jesus to change the trajectory of history from violence to peaceful co-existence and need to reflect on Liddell Hart’s definition of success, “Victory in the true sense implies that the state of peace, and of one’s people, is better after the war than before”.
    ‘It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.’ General Robert F. Lee
    davidbfpo

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