Afghanistan: A Hurried Military Withdrawal Dissolves its Own Purpose

Post date: Jun 23, 2011 7:35:39 AM

(SACRIR Desk: Geopolitics)

By A Chattopadhyay and Jonathan Baker For SACRIR

Democrats argue, initial drawdown of 10,000 troops from Afghanistan is not adequate on Obama's presidential promises. We all want our troops back home. But if Obama pays heed to Democrat pressure and accelerates US withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan it will defeat the whole purpose of having our troops there for so long.

A retreat of forces, however phase-wise it can be, will see a return of Taliban with the same graduation. Needless to say, remnants of military presence of UK, Australia and NATO partners will soon follow US footsteps. But is Afghanistan ready for being unshielded? People's government headed by Hamid Karzai often itches with decision of delayed withdrawal of troops. But the government does not know what they are heading to. Karzai is clueless what to do next.

Afghan state military has known pro-Taliban lobbies. There are scattered instances of resurrection of Taliban in the southern and southeastern stretches, between Herat and Kandahar. Amrullah Saleh, the former Director of Afghan National Security foresaw this danger and had the right plan to deal with them. But he was, surprisingly, made to quit by Karzai. With this, tensions between the anti-Taliban Massoud faction of United Front and Karzai have grown too. Karzai seems not very fond of combative strategies of United Front, but again does not have his own concrete plans too. A devil like Taliban can hardly be won with a humane-faced government alone. The bordering country Pakistan which had sheltered Osama bin Laden for about a decade has its own ambitions with Afghan territory. Pakistan is not controlled by its elected ministers but by a pro-jihad hardliner Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Who can deny, the regular secret meetings between ISI and Taliban. Who can not suspect what ex-ISI chief Ashfaq Kayani's agenda was. Saleh of Afghan National Security was well aware of Pakistani design to destabilize Karzai government. But did he pay for it? Was his forced resignation a Karzaite tribute to Pakistan? Taliban is waiting on increasing absence of US and NATO troops. A tripartite assault by Taliban, ISI and pro-Taliban lobby within Aghan Army along with lack of realism and decisiveness is poised to bring Afghanistan back to where it was needful of NATO assistance.

At least 1,500 US military members have died and at least 12,000 have been wounded in Afghanistan since 2001. Whom did they fight for? What was this huge sacrifice and gigantic expense for? For a battle won to be lost again?

Obama administration must withdraw troops but it must be calculated, as gradual as it requires, with risks mitigated. It also has to influence Afghan government to engage the other democracy India, as democracy heals. Not Jihad. India has already been involved in massive reconstruction and restoration projects on infrastructure, education and health in Afghanistan. They must have military presence too. Any prospect of chaos in Afghanistan salivates Pakistan and endangers security of India.

US must cut down this burden on its tax-payers. But, US must not lose. Taliban must not resurface. We can not afford the rise of Osama II.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Common