Monday, October 31, 2011

CAN WASHINGTON ALLOW AFGHAN TALIBAN BACK, MINUS AL QAEDA?

Can Washington Allow Afghan Taliban Back, Minus Al Qaeda? To be certain, America is confused, baffled and may be even disoriented. Richard Holbrooke, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has reportedly opened up his channels with Gulbadin Hekmatyar. Remember, in 2002, CIA-controlled MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile on Gulbuddin's vehicle but missed. Then on February 19, 2003, US Department of Treasury designated Gulbuddin a 'global terrorist'. And now, the special representative is negotiating with a 'global terrorist'.

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By Dr. Farrukh Saleem
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The News International.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—General David Howell Petraeus, the 10th Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), has negotiated, bargained and networked with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. General Petraeus, in his desperate search for an alternative supply route, went as far as Latvia.

The top graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College — class of 1983 — and the winner of the General George C Marshall Award hasn't met with much success lately.

Yes, there have been minor — strategically inconsequential — delights. General Petraeus did manage a deal with Kazakhstan for oil and another one with Latvia for 100 containers a day on a 4,000 km journey to the Kandahar Air Base. On May 11, President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan announced that his country has begun "shipping non-military supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan through its airport in the city of Navoi." Yes, there have also been major — strategically consequential — disappointments. Kyrgyzstan took a hefty $2 billion from Russia and in return put General Petraeus on notice to vacate the Manas Air Base (Uzbekistan had told the US to vacate the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base some four years ago).

What is General Petraeus now left with? Four things: one, Pakistan's National Highway N-5. From Karachi, Hyderabad, Moro and Khairpur a total of 671 km all of which is safe from outside attacks. N-5 then enters Multan on to Sahiwal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi, a total of 1,021 km all of which is safe. N-5 then crosses the Indus River into Nowshera, Peshawar and then Torkham, a total of 127 km almost all of which is extremely vulnerable. Two, Pakistan's Indus Highway or N-55. From Karachi to Peshawar via Kotri, Dadu, Shikarpur, Kashmor, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Kohat and into Peshawar. Three, Pakistan's RCD Highway or N-25. From Karachi to Chaman via Hub, Bela, Khuzdar, Quetta to Chamman and then into Kandahar; a total of 813 km almost all of it is secure except for when it crosses the border into Afghanistan (there has been a recent connection to Gwadar). Four, Pakistani refineries producing most of the jet fuel for NATO forces.

What is America doing in Afghanistan? Operation Enduring Freedom was launched on October 7, 2001. The stated casus belli, or reasons for war, were: one, to remove the Taliban regime from power (because the Taliban had provided a safe sanctuary to Al Qaeda). Two, to capture Osama bin Laden. Three, to destroy Al Qaeda. Where does America stand now? The Taliban regime is no more but Osama continues to be on the loose and Al Qaeda is still ticking and kicking.

To be certainAmerica is confused, baffled and may be even disoriented. Richard Holbrooke, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has reportedly opened up his channels with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Remember, in 2002, CIA-controlled MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile on Gulbuddin's vehicle but missed. Then on February 19, 2003, US Department of Treasury designated Gulbuddin a 'global terrorist'. And now, the special representative is negotiating with a 'global terrorist'.
Is America really puzzled? Over the past year, there have been a handful of reviews of America's Afghan policy — one after another. On June 3, 2008, the Department of Defence ordered General David McKiernan to take over the command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). On May 11, McKiernan having served for less than a year was asked by Defence Secretary Robert Gates to resign.
General Petraeus, beaming from his success in Iraq, is adamant on replicating his Iraq experience. President Obama, on the other hand, does not want to make Afghanistan as the centerpiece of his presidency. There is evidence that Obama and Robert Gates are both at odds with Petraeus. Where does America go from here? Would America let the Taliban back to power in exchange for throwing Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan? Where would America go from here?

PS: The president of Pakistan was at Elysee Palace. The president of Pakistan should have been in Takht Bhai at the Jalala Camp. The president of Pakistan was at Number 10 Downing Street inside the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury. The president of Pakistan should have been in Sheikh Yasin Town inside the Sheikh Yasin Camp. The president of Pakistan is all over but not where he should be. The president of Pakistan is where he is not needed and not where he is really needed.


This article was published by The News International. The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email: farrukh15AThotmail.com

© 2007-2009. All rights reserved. AhmedQuraishi.com PakNationalists

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Shahzad Shameem

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1 comments:

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