Recently in Afghanistan War Category

Afghanistan’s Neighbors Making Post U.S. Plans

Recommended: Vanderbilt University doctoral student Jaideep Prabhu’s August 28, 2013, post in  India’s Daily News & Analysis headlined “A tangled web of diplomacy - India, Iran, US and Afghanistan.” According to Mr. Prabhu:
As the United States winds down its role in Afghanistan, its neighbors are busy with plans to deal with the blow back and shore up their interests. India and China have taken the lead in Afghanistan's infrastructural and economic development, and Kabul has been promised military support too. However, prosperity may be denied the resource-rich Central Asian country just yet.
Mr. Prabhu noted that, “Normalization needs stability, which is premised upon economic development, which in turn is affected by Kabul's success against the Taliban. For all the assurances given, that may be easier said than done.”

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U.S and Pakistan’s Secret Afghan Diplomacy

“While the opening of the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar, has captured headlines across the world, wide-ranging interviews with highly-placed diplomatic, military and foreign office sources reveal that this office is but one of the many elements of a USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_Croppedcomplex process, the ultimate aim of which is for all stakeholders in Afghanistan to share power through an inclusive election process under a possibly modified Afghanistan constitution,” writes Syed Talat Hussain in the June 20, 2013, edition of The Express Tribune of Pakistan. See “Afghan Revelations: Pakistan-U.S. Diplomacy Created Doha Roadmap.”

According to Mr. Hussain, writing from Islamabad, Pakistan, “Months-long painstaking and secret negotiations involving Islamabad and Washington have yielded a detailed roadmap for steering negotiations with the Afghan Taliban which will start to unfold with the release of five Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay and the return of the captured US soldier PFC Bowe Bergdahl, (in photo above) at present in Taliban custody.” See “Afghan revelations: Pakistan-US secret diplomacy created Doha roadmap.”

Mr. Hussain offers a plausible analysis, which I highly recommended to anyone interested in diplomacy and the role of various players in the United States’ impending exist from Afghanistan.

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An Associated Press (AP) report in the March 18, 2013, edition of the Guardian of London claims that, “Afghan political parties united against the president, Hamid Karzai, are in talks with the Taliban and Islamist groups, hoping to broker peace before next year's exit of international combat troops and a presidential race that will determine Karzai's successor, leaders of the factions have said.”

“This is the first confirmation that the opposition has opened its own, new channel of discussions to try to find a political resolution to the war, now in its 12th year,” the AP Flag_of_Afghanistan.svgreport noted, adding: “And the Taliban too seem to want to move things forward, even contemplating replacing their top negotiator, two senior Taliban officials told the Associated Press.”

They should be holding talks with each other to resolve the conflict rather than negotiating with outsiders whose presence in the name of fighting terrorism has resulted in thousands of Afghan deaths and widespread destruction since 2001. After all, the various groups are Afghans who obviously see the need to solve their differences before the U.S. and European nations install another leader in Afghanistan in the manner that Mr. Karzai was imposed.

For more perspective on the negotiations, please see “Afghanistan opposition parties in talks with Taliban, claim leaders.

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Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador to Afghanistan from 2007 to 2009, writes in a March 16, 2013, post in The Spectator: “History doesn’t show us only mistakes to avoid. It also gives us examples of success to be emulated. We would do well to study the way in which the Soviet Union left Afghanistan.”

The author of “Ever the Diplomat: Confessions of a Foreign Office Mandarin said, “Like Barack Obama in 2009, in 1985 the new Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev was faced with the challenge of how most elegantly to extract his country from Afghanistan. He notes:

Unlike Obama, Gorbachev was being told by his military advisers — who had mostly been doubtful about the whole campaign from the start — that the war was unwinnable.

Mr. Cowper-Coles said "Unlike Obama, he decided that the right course was to follow the playbook for countering insurgencies. The first task was to ensure that an essentially tactical military campaign was enfolded in a coherent political strategy." 

I found his analysis quite informative and highly recommend it. To read more, please see, “Afghanistan Withdrawal: Sherard Cowper-Coles on what the Soviets did right

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The U.S. Role in Afghanistan After 2014

Professor Juan Cole writing at Informed Comment on February 13, 2013:

President Obama announced Tuesday that he would pull some 34,000 US troops out of Afghanistan over the next year, about half of the force that is in the country now. US forces are going into a support role this spring, but one suspects they will be doing more than that till they leave, given the sad shape of the Afghanistan National Army.

I totally agree. For more, please see: “America at Peace? Obama Halving US force in Afghanistan, winds down War.”

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Karzai: ‘I’ll Remain in Afghanistan After Term Ends’

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is quoted in the February 3, 2013, edition of the Guardian of London as saying he will not leave Afghanistan after his third and final term as president concludes in 2014.

"I don't feel any danger at all, none. I am in my country, and safe and sound," he said. See Hamid Karzai: 'I have to be at the frontline of hardship and hard work .

Sticking around after his term ends may not be a good idea given the number of people in his family who have been killed over the years, and the assassination attempts he has survived.

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