Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Afghan Update: Can the US Win?

Thomas Riggins

The following speculations are based on logical deductions from the report found in the NYT of 6-25-10 ["Pakistan Is Said to Pursue An Afghanistan Foothold] by Jane Petlez, Eric Schmitt and Carlotta Gall. I assume that the empirical descriptions and claims are factual but do not rely on any of the conclusions and opinions expressed by the authors.

This was the lead article on the front page of the Times for that day. It has a very revealing subtitle: "Exploiting Troubled U.S. Military Effort in Selling Itself as New Karzai Partner." This subtitle indicates several things: 1. Pakistan is not a true US ally but it is only using the US to further its own interests in the region (allies don't "exploit" each other. 2. President Karzai is in the market for a new ally since the US military effort is messed up. 3. "Troubled U.S. Military Effort" is code for "losing military effort" since after nine years of war in an undeveloped peasant country the US seems to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off not knowing what to do or when to do it.

The article reports that the actions of Pakistan will increase its influence in Afghanistan "but is likely to undermine United States interests, Pakistani and American officials said." That's great: both our "ally" and we agree they are out to undermine us (and the US will pay for the bill due to the hugh amounts of military aid and money we give to Pakistan).

But our INTERESTS are supposed to be to get rid of al-Qaeda and strengthen the Afghan government. Well Karzai doesn't want to be weaker so that's not why he is listening to the sales pitch. Therefore Pakistan is trying to help out al-Qaeda. OR our INTERESTS are not what we say they are. Fighting al-Qaeda (and the Taliban) are just pretexts given to the American people to keep them ignorant and uniformed.

Here is what Pakistan is offering to Karzai. The warlord SIRAJUDDIN HAQQANI is a major ally of Al-Quaeda and he "runs a major part of the insurgency in Afghanistan." The head of the Pakistani army Gen. ASHFAQ PARVEZ (our ally?) is telling Karzai that he can bring the warlord (the General's friend?) over to Karzai in a "power-sharing" agreement. The General has also offered to "personally" get "the Taliban leadership" (also his buddies?) to sign on, along with some "proxies" (whose "proxies"?).

Well, Sirajuddin Haqqani, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban (and proxies) are just the groups the US is fighting. Wouldn't it be nice if, instead of trying to get them and Karzai set up as a new Afghani government, Pakistan and Gen. Parvez would clue us in on how to defeat them or at least how better protect our troops. Perhaps Karzai, Parvez and company see the US as "dead man walking"-- they know we are through: it will just take us a few billion more dollars, thousands of more dead people, double digit unemployment and the complete deterioration of what's left of the economy (for regular people) before we get the hint.

Enter another player: Lt. Gen. AHMAD SHUJA PASHA (the "spy chief"). It is well known that Pakistan walks both sides of street-- getting funding from the US and passing it along to elements in the insurgency that work as its agents. The Times reports that both Parvez and Pasha are in agreement with President Karzai that the US isn't getting anywhere in Afghanistan and that after the war he should incorporate the Haqqani forces into a new government. The Times refers to Haqqani's forces as "a longtime Pakistani asset." These forces are a major part of the "insurgent" forces killing our troops. Pakistan is ally to die for!

When the war is finally over, and the US pulls out, the final deal-- brokered by Pakistan and the new Karzai government may not "guarantee Washington's prime objective in the war: denying Al Qaeda a haven." If this is the best news from the front that our "newspaper of record" is bringing us after nine years of slaughter, what reason is there for one more US soldier to be killed over there?

Pakistan keeps the Haqqani forces around to use against INDIA. What Pakistan wants is to get India out of Kashmir, the American sideshow in Afghanistan is just a diversion from that ultimate goal. The Times reports that Indian targets in Afghanistan are hit by the Haqqani forces and some times they attack US troops: "a possible signal from the Pakistanis to the Americans that it is in their interests too, to embrace a deal."

Excuse me! But if Pakistan's proxies are killing US troops isn't that a causus belli? Why are we giving a billion dollars to the Pakistani military when it is ordering attacks on US troops? Well it's not a causus belli but it is a causus for whining. General Petraeus informed Congress recently that both Kabul and Bagram Air base suffered major attacks from the Haqqani forces. He informed Gen. Kayani (as if he didn't know already). "Your guys are killing my guys." "I'm shocked! I'll look into it at once. Don't forget the rest of the money you are supposed to send us." "Oh, it's coming. We always pay our allies."

The special envoy, Richard C. Holbrooke, was asked about melding Haqqani into the Afghan government. He didn't think it possible but said "Who knows?" Now there is a long range plan.

Meanwhile Inter-Sevices-Intellegence, Lt. Gen. Pasha's spy agency, is busy convincing Karsai that the US can't win. The American plan for Afghanistan "will not succeed" the ISI said. I expect the CIA told Karsai, "Who knows?"

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas (Pakistani Army) said: "The American timetable for getting out makes it easier for Pakistan to play a more visible role." What does Pakistan want? It wants "hard core Taliban fighters" included in the final settlement. Those are the people we say we are fighting[ we may deal with "moderate" Taliban] because of their support of Al Qaeda and 9/11. In other words, Pakistan is working to help defeat the US. I'm beginning to think McChrystal gave that interview to Rolling Stone so that he would be fired. He didn't want to be around for the grand finale.

To give cover to its plans Pakistan says that the Haqqanis are willing to dump Al Qaeda (many experts think this is just to make the Americans feel better or a "tactical move" to fool Pakistan). But Gen. Kayani wants to broker a deal with two other leaders of the "insurgents" to fit into Karzai's post war government: the Taliban leader MULLAH MUHAMMAD OMAR and GULBUDDIN HEKMATYAR an insurgent warlord and ally of Pakistan.

[Hekmatyar is a former "freedom fighter" when he fought the Soviets, now of course he is fighting us so he is a "terrorist." This is the level of seriousness of our government and the press when explaining the reality of the war to the American people-tr]

Will Karsai even have a postwar government? Who Knows?