Nothing is going right for USA in final phase in Afghanistan


By Asif Haroon Raja

Washington and Kabul were marching in step till end 2009. As the final phase in Afghanistan drew nearer, the two fell out of steps and so far they have been unable to get back in steps. Major reason for this is Washington ’s unhappiness over Karzai’s performance and latter’s conflicting views on solving Afghan imbroglio. Obama’s straight talk with him advising him to improve and produce results caused heart burns to Karzai. He got miffed at the role of USA and UK in last presidential election and feels convinced that it had been purposely made controversial to weaken his position. He has become aggressive and has been off and on giving anti-US statements and even threatening to join the ranks of Taliban.

Karzai is not in favor of Kandahar operation and wants reconciliation with all without making a wedge between reconcilable and irreconcilable. In this respect he has been making repeated overtures to Pakistan which has been resented by several segments in Washington , India , Northern Alliance leaders and Israel . He suspects that rocket attack on the jirga he hosted at Kabul on 2 June was conducted either by intelligence chief Amrullah whom he subsequently sacked or Blackwater at the behest of USA . Sacking of Amrullah and interior minister by him was a major blow to USA in the given troubled times since the two were their loyalists. Seething with rage that he has been unseated at the behest of Pakistan , anti-Pakistan Amrullah organized an attack on an isolated post in Mohmand Agency held by paramilitary troops to cause embarrassment to Pakistan.

According to US Congressional subcommittee investigations led by John Tierney D-Mass, US military is paying millions of dollars to insurgents, Afghan warlords and corrupt government officials to ensure safe passage of supply of convoys. It is part of Pentagon’s $2.1 billion transport contract for food, water, fuel and ammunition to US troops serving at 200 forward bases. Reportedly Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors and then dishing out the booty to warlords and Taliban. Watan Risk Management Security firm under scrutiny contends it has to pay $1000 to $10000 in monthly bribes to every Afghan governor, police chief, local military unit whose territory is trespassed. Trucking companies maintain that for safe passage payments have to be made to local security firms with ties to Taliban, or warlords who control the roads. Such undesirable activities are undermining larger US objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan . Interestingly, in Pakistan instead of extorting money, militants torch supply convoys.

Another problem area is the flourishing drug trade which has doubled since 2005 and has helped finance insurgents and encouraged corruption. In Marjah , US troops stopped Afghan officials from destroying poppy fields. Read more of this post

Light at the End of the Afghan Tunnel?

Is it finally light at the end of the Afghan tunnel, or an oncoming express train?

Total confusion erupted last week as the US, NATO, the UN and the Kabul government all issued differing views on new plans to end the nine year Afghan war by bombarding Taliban with tens of millions in cash instead of precision bombs.

One thing is clear: the US and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan in spite of their fearsome arsenal of high-tech weapons and war chests of billions of dollars.

Lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen are living up to their legendary reputation of making Afghanistan the graveyard of empires.

So Washington and London, both in dire financial straits, say they are now ready for a possible peace deal with the Pashtun Taliban and its nationalist allies. But, in spite of a $1.4 trillion deficit, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for an additional $33 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

If you can’t bomb them into submission, then try buying them off.

A conference was held in London last Thursday to raise tens of millions of dollars to try to bribe lower-level Taliban to cooperate with the western occupation and/or lay down its arms.

Bribery is a time-honored tool of war. But it’s not the answer in Afghanistan. The bloody Afghan conflict can only be ended by genuine peace negotiations and withdrawal of all foreign troops.

US commanders in Afghanistan admit they have lost the military initiative. The resistance is steadily gaining ground. Obama’s increasing US and allied troops to 150,000 won’t be enough to defeat Taliban. By year end, US and NATO forces will only equal the number of Soviet forces committed to Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, without whose cooperation the US cannot wage war in Afghanistan, is in turmoil. The US is infiltrating Xe (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp mercenaries into Pakistan to protect US military supply routes north from Karachi to Afghanistan, and to operate or defend US air bases in Pakistan.

US mercenaries are also reportedly being used to assassinate militants and enemies of Pakistan’s US-installed government, and to target Pakistan’s nuclear installations for future US action. This, and increasing attacks by US killer drones, have sparked outrage across Pakistan and brought warnings of creeping US occupation.

US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are like a man trying to fix a chimney on the roof of a burning house. Read more of this post

Kayani urges Nato to understand Pak strategy

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

BRUSSELS (Agencies) – Top officers from Pakistan, Nato and Russia gave unanimous backing on Wednesday to the new international strategy in Afghanistan, the head of the alliance’s Military Committee said.

“There was a feeling in the room that we are getting it right,” Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters after talks in Brussels with chiefs of military staff from more than 60 countries.

Di Paola said Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov and his Pakistan counterpart Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had underlined that Nato’s success in defeating the insurgency would have important repercussions for their nations.

“We have a greater interest than you that you succeed, that’s what he said,” Makarov had told the meeting of top brass at Nato headquarters, Di Paola said.

Gen Kayani “said much the same thing as Nikolai: we have an even greater interest than you to have a peaceful, stable Afghanistan,” he said.

Di Paola said Gen Kayani was “incredibly in tune” with the approach of US Gen Stanley McChrystal, who also attended, to put the protection of Afghan civilians at the heart of the international strategy.

Gen Kayani also spoke of “the same comprehensive approach to the problem of the northwest tribal area,” where Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters have rear bases across the border in Pakistan, Di Paola said.

“That made me believe that the tide is turning, and so we will see at the end of this year the light on the horizon,” the Italian admiral said.

Addressing the two-day meeting, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged on Nato to realise Pakistan’s strategy and perspective on region’s security situation and called for enhancement of Pakistan’s role in finding a solution to the Afghanistan problem.

He said in order to win war on terror the confidence between Nato and Pakistani forces is needed along with cooperation in intelligence sectors.

Nato and Pakistan can only defeat their common enemy if both sides have confidence on each other, he said, adding that sharing of intelligence can play a vital role. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: