Exclusive: The Obama administration is weighing options to leave 6,000 to 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. But the prospect for even modest success is undercut by the country’s ethnic divisions and Pashtun hostility to foreign occupiers, says Bruce P. Cameron.
By Bruce P. Cameron
Regarding the Afghan War, the American people are being deceived; they believe they are fighting a political faction of the Afghan people, but there is no “Afghan people.” There is no Afghan language.
There is just an amalgam of ethnic groups in a deeply divided land that has been fought over by big powers for centuries.
The Tajiks, the Uzbeks, the Hazaris and the Turkmen make up about 50 percent of the country’s population, with the Pashtun, concentrated in the south and east, accounting for about 42 percent. It is this Pashtun population, dominated by the Taliban, that represents the chief resistance to the U.S.-led war effort.
The Pashtun people speak Pashto and live by a code that promotes their unity, especially when confronted by an invader, which often has been the case in the history of this landlocked land that sits along a strategic pathway of mountain passes that connect the West and the East. The Pashtun code, Pashtunwali, promotes defensive ferociousness in battle and incredible hospitality at home.
The modern term “Afghanistan” dates from the late 19th Century when two British cartographers drew the so-called Durand Line, which had the effect of dividing the Pakistani Pashtuns from the Afghan Pashtuns, with about two-thirds of the Pashtun population falling within what is now Pakistan.
That division created an inherently unstable political situation, with the Afghan Pashtun benefiting from their cultural ties to the Pakistani Pashtun, especially during the anti-Soviet war on the 1980s when the CIA was funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in aid through Pakistan to Afghan rebels fighting the communist government in Kabul and its Soviet backers. The Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, delivered nearly all the aid to Pashtun fighters, including many who were Islamic fundamentalists.
After the collapse of the communist government in 1992, a coalition of Afghan warlords took control of Kabul, under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Massoud, an Islamist but not a fanatic. A member of the Tajik minority, he was not favored by Pakistan. Infighting among the warlords also continued, while, the ISI trained a new force of Pashtun fighters recruited from refugee camps inside Pakistan, a group which became known as the Taliban.
Promising to restore order, the Taliban seized power in 1996, driving Massoud and other non-Pashtun warlords to the north and imposing a rigid form of Islam in Kabul and across much of the country. The Taliban also hosted Saudi Islamic extremist Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization, giving them safe haven from which to plot attacks against the West. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Why Afghanistan Really Fell Apart.”]
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush ordered an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda its Afghan sanctuary. Though the invasion succeeded in removing the Taliban from power and driving most of al-Qaeda out of the country, Bush soon shifted his attention to an invasion of Iraq, leaving the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan to make do with limited resources and enabling a Taliban comeback in the Pashtun region.
That was the predicament that President Barack Obama inherited in 2009, a growing Taliban threat to the security of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. Though Obama expressed interest in seeking a gradual exit strategy, he left in place key Bush holdovers, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, who maneuvered Obama into accepting their plan for an escalation of the war and a new concentration on counterinsurgency.
In effect, the strategy amounted to an unrealistic plan in which a foreign military would make “good citizens” out of the Pashtun. I understand the motivation, since an individual Pashtun or even a group or a village can demonstrate Pashtun generosity and kindness. However, their cultural resistance to outside domination is such that it justifies truly awful human rights violations.
Although Pashtunwali as a governing lifestyle exists mainly in rural areas, its precepts are learned by almost every Pashtun, both the generous and cruel impulses. When there are so-called “green-on-blue” attacks in which Afghan government soldiers kill their U.S. or European military advisers, it’s a safe bet that the perpetrators are Pashtun. Yet, when military or political officials publicly talk about “inside threats,” they never mention the ethnic dimension.
I heard one U.S. senator ask the commanding general of all NATO forces in Afghanistan about the ethnic tensions within the Afghan National Army. He replied to the question, but did so without ever mentioning “ethnic,” “Pashtun” or “Tajik.”
So, it’s obvious that the United States has a mess in Afghanistan that was not improved by the Gates-Petraeus-originated “surge” of U.S. combat forces. The counterinsurgency strategy has been largely a failure amid continuing loss of life.
It seems timely to get out which is the direction that President Obama is now favoring, especially after the removal from office of both Gates and Petraeus. But I think there are still ways to leave behind a more stable Afghanistan.
In recruitment of officers for the Afghan National Army, the U.S. target numbers have been between 40 to 45 percent Pashtun and 30 to 35 percent Tajik. Yet, I fear that in trying to achieve some ethnic parity in the ANA, the United States could instead achieve military dominance by a combined force of Pashtun in the ANA and the Pashtun in the Taliban.
Why would they come together? Simply put, the power of Pashtunwali and ethnicity. In my view, a more sensible U.S. strategy would be to accept a division of Afghanistan along the existing ethnic boundaries, with a separate state in the Afghan north made up of Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Turkmen and a withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the Pashtun strongholds in the east and south.
The Taliban increasingly controls the east and the south anyway, despite several years of escalated activity by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Forces. But separation could accomplish two major goals: 1) the proposed northern state would have defensible borders and 2) it could facilitate the end of the reign of terror against non-Pashtuns by Pashtuns.
It also is fair to say that President Obama by letting himself be manipulated by Bush holdovers in 2009 is responsible for the failed counterinsurgency strategy that has achieved little at great expense in blood and treasure. After all, he is commander-in-chief.
Obama’s three-pronged goal was to defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and neutralize its key leadership in Pakistan; create a functioning bureaucracy in Kabul and the Afghan countryside; and end Pakistan’s pernicious and lethal influence in Afghanistan. He succeeded in the first goal, most notably with the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, but failed miserably in the second and third.
His stated goal now is to have all combat troops out of Afghanistan by 2014. However, he intends to extend the presence of non-combat personnel, civilian contractors and some Special Forces until 2024. Yet, the size of that force is unknown, and the mission is unclear beyond what is called “counter-terror.”
[The New York Times reported on Thursday that Gen. John R. Allen, senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has suggested three options for troop levels, ranging from 6,000 to 20,000, after 2014. Allen says the smaller the force the greater the likelihood of failure, the Times wrote, citing unnamed defense officials.]
To avert a possible bloodbath against some Pashtun who have been resisting the Taliban in Pashtun enclaves in the east and south, U.S. airpower and reaction teams of Special Operations may be needed to protect those anti-Taliban Pashtun or they could be relocated to the north if the threat from the Taliban is too formidable.
While similarities exist between what I’m suggesting and Obama’s plan after all both foresee a continued U.S. military role beyond 2014 my emphasis would be on creating a state that would be a safe haven for the northern tribesmen and protect some southern enclaves against Taliban attacks. I think we owe both the American people and the Afghan people something tangible for their 11 years of sacrifice and dying.
Yet, to salvage something, there needs to be a separation of the non-Pashtun tribes from the Pashtun with the reasons clearly explained to the American people. After this separation has allowed passions to cool down, the United States could approach the Pashtun again with the goal of achieving a relationship of mutual respect.
Bruce P. Cameron has served as a Washington lobbyist for various governments over the past several decades, including Nicaragua, Mozambique, Portugal and East Timor. He is one of four people who caused the collapse of South Vietnam, one of the authors of the Central American Peace Plan, and currently the author of a partial withdrawal from Afghanistan. He wrote My Life in the Time of the Contras.
America and Americans get ready to be added in our graveyard … U guys are also destroyed in Afghanistan.. You guys go and look after your own country simply leave us alone we don’t need Mcdonald burger big fat people to help us. We know and our countrg go and suggesst some solution to school killing in ur states.. We Afghans destroyed anyone who ever think of dividing us, dont know where they go that other ethinicities formed 50% of Afghanistan…! Americans will also take this dream to their grave to divide Afghanistan… Also tell the black man in the white house, eat bananas and get your troops out of Afghanistan.. Also think of your exit policy, there is a shameful exit waiting for USA..
Habib Balkhi on January 4,
“Division the way to go;
The sooner the west understands that Pashtoons are fanaticswho do not believe in co-existing with the rest of the civilized world, the better for all.”
Is this Habib Balkhi a hasbara agent as above seems to be a direct PNAC hasbara divide and rule(control) promotion ?
Part of the PNAC project to divide , dominate and control the “world”?
Is this comment section under a “hasbara attack” in the war for public opinion.
The Authorâ€™s information is very low. It is good to read and get more information about Afghanistan and the Pashtuns.
The Authorâ€™s information is very low. It is good to read and get more information about Afghanistan and the Pashtuns.
The Authorâ€™s information is very low. It is good to read and get more information about Afghanistan and the Pashtuns.
The Authorâ€™s information is very low. It is good to read and get more information about Afghanistan and the Pashtuns.
Pashtun and Pashtonwali is not the problem of Afghanistan. Pashtuns are no violence in their past history. The Afghan history shows that the Pashtuns have never given up violence, but the powerful world powers and neighbors have tried to make violent in Pashtonistan, such Pakistan, Iran, India, USA, UK, Russia and other countries.
Nato and US troops are bombed Pashtuns, but the real terrorists are living and training in Punjab, Karachi (Pakistan) and in Tehran or Zahedan of Iran. We want friendship with the world, but do not take anyone’s control, and governance. The 9, 11 was not pashtons plan. We have not supported the al-Qaeda, America and its Western allies are the makers of Al-Qaida and Taliban.
The Al-Qaida and Taliban are the others product, our community cannot accept them.
For people who don’t know what kind of people the pashton are well what can i say they are nasty, they look nasty, they cut their wife nose, they hide explosive in they ass . are you willing to live with them in one country.
If 47 nation countries with their military might cannot win a primitive Taliban movement in Afghanistan.
Then what will happen when the entire 40 million Pashtuns in the Pashtun Belt rise as the word of disintegration of Afghanistan reverberates in their villages?
Apparently the author didnâ€™t do his homework when he wrote his bogus article!
The author entirely lacks information about Afghanistan. The term “Afghanistan” is not newly coined, its history goes centuries back and the country was officially named by Ahmad Shah Durrani in1947. It was not Massoud who was leading the coalition, but it was Rubbani. The idea of disintegration is just utopia, how bluntly you imagine that anti-Taliban Pashtuns should be relocated. How is it possible? As you ‘the author’ mentioned that it was Britain who decided Pashtuns and you know who and how much is being paid the price, so you further decided ?! Why should not be a plan develop where, on the one hand, Taliban ll join and on the other hand, US ll save a half face.
Afghanistan is mother of all Afghans. Only Harramies (mother fuckers) are thinking about partions. Let us live in peace and love as one.
Now you show how a real pashton think they are alway nasty and think like a mother fuckers that is way we want ceprate from them if you go to pashton village in Afghanistan it look the same as it was 300 years ago no change even sometimes look like Jesus time
Mr. Cameron doesn’t know anything about Afghanistan, its people and history. Now I know why the US is declining, its because of having analysts such as Cameron.
All ethnicities in Afghanistan have lived as brothers during the history, the current so called tension is a product of foriegn interference, it doesnt count for the real Afghan society. This problem will be over the day the interference of Paksitan and Iran is stopped. The US should have concentrated on the external aspect of the Afghan problem instead of bombing Afghan villages.
Not possible, as there was a study already conducted during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1987. A partition of Afghanistan is partition of Pakistan, and that will leave Northern Afghanistan ethnic minorities further in extremity and isolation. The emergence of diminutive territories in the North cannot be defended by them against the overwhelming emergence of new breakaway states in South Asia. The North will be unable to defend itself militarily, politically, socially and financially.
In addition, there is no cohesive alliance amongst the Northern ethnic factions and the breakaways will trend further in chaotic circumstances.
Those who are currently living in Afghanistan and support the partition should leave Afghanistan immediately. Their new home will either be Iran or Pakistan and not Afghanistan.
Division the way to go;
The sooner the west understands that Pashtoons are fanaticswho do not believe in co-existing with the rest of the civilized world, the better for all.
Say it in Afghanistan in front of the people Balkhi. It seems that you and your mom and dad survived the Pashtuns. Why don’t you kiss the hands of your sick Ayatollahs in Iran. If you can’t “co-exist” with Pashtuns, the door of Afghanistan are open, leave Afghanistan and live where you belong to, according to your own wishes. Afghanistan will stay, and its internal enemies, the dogs of Iran and Pakistan, will be left without a nation. Sadqe Name walai wa por eftekhar Afghanistan shawed shoma harami hai namak haram!!!
Good job AfghanWarrior!!!
I am not going to go in to abusive/vulgar languge to prove anything,I leave that to your Talib/Pashtun neighbours (Southern Afghanistan) to do.
Let me ask you a question;
Do you deny that Pashtun/Taliban philosephy of life is different?
Do you not accept that Taliban are a 100% Pashtun orgnisation/force?
Talibs are Pashtun & Pashtuns are Talib, I am yet to comprehend the difference. please explain the differences??
btw: Balkh is/has been the centre of civilization. Today it lives in peace because there is no Pashtun Talib there.
Balkhi — Belives strongly in the division of Afghanistan whereby Tajiks can live in peace and harmony.
Afghan Warrior: As long as there is one afghan ON THE FACE OF THIS PLANET there will be Afghanistan.
Do not blame Mr. Cameron. He is making a living on such garbage articles. I think it would be best for him to work in McDonalds and earn honest money.
The West already understood that you are not to interfere with afghans, just as the British learned and just as the USSR left. if it wasn’t for pashtun you would be living under the USSR just like your forefather accepted their rule in Tajikistan/uzbekistan or whereever you came from. No one is holding you back, you can live anywhere you want but dont talk about spliting afghanistan because that will not happen.
Brilliant article! This is the exact solution needed to put an end to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
It is a fact that the entire Taliban force is made up of Pashtuns. Moreover, almost all the war is concentrated in the South and Eastern province of Afghanistan (Pashtun territory). In Taliban leadership, there is not even one Non Pashtun figure. All the defections from ANA (Afghan National Army) has been Pashtuns, there is no reports of Non-Pashtun defection from ANA ever. The Pashtuns within the government rank sympathise with their Talib counterparts on ethnic basis, while the non-Pashtuns view any type of co-operation with the Taliban as a betrayal to their people. President Karzai (himself a Pashtun) on many occasions has called the Taliban (â€œbrothersâ€), while the opposition leaders (non Pashtun) steadfastly pronounce negotiation with the Taliban as a futile exercise. Therefore, the division within Pashtuns and Non Pashtuns is surfacing every day, whereby division along ethnic lines may be the ONLY solution to end this conflict.
Go home Parwani: You have a country called Tajikistan. Your grand daddy couldn’t stand against the Russian invasions, the Pashtuns gave you shelter and now you freaks want their lands too. Isn’t it time for you to go home where you feel belonging? Boro Tajikistan agar Tajik hasti!!!
Oh Parwani, the current government of afghanistan is controlled by you, and you still want to divide afghanistan. what a Benamoos you are to want to divide. Even Ahmad Shah Masood your saint, didn’t want a divided afghanista.
same goe for Balkhi, you too bring a shame to your names.
We want to reside in peace with the rest of the civilized world. Unfortuntely Pashtuns lack this essance. The current social strucuture that Afghanistan has is the direct result of Pashtun way of live.
you are more than welcome to live as a “civilized” person, then move to Tajikistan/Iran/Pakistan/USA anywhere you would like but don’t talk about spliting afghanistan, Even your leaders in Panjsher are not talking about spliting the motherland. You Dishonorable peice of Sh$T.
Go back to Samarqand, my priend. This is the land of afghans and not samarqandis.
Spin master Bruce P. Cameron says
” But I think there are still ways to leave behind a more stable Afghanistan.”
Like in Iraq , Lybia & Syria etc etc … I suppose.
Go home America your Country needs you.
Bruce P. Cameron is a professional lobbyist(spin merchant)and as harry shade said
“God help Americans if their only sources of world history are paid lobbyists”
sad but Americans only sources of world history are paid lobbyists.
“He is one of four people who caused the collapse of South Vietnam”. Hmmm strange accomplishment to put on one’s credit; but utter hogwash. Anyone, not in denial, who lived through that war knows that: 1. It was a civil war, no the N. Vietnamese did not INVADE S. Vietnam, they are all Vietnamese and the country was supposed to be reunified in 1954; but Eisenhower stopped that and installed a corrupt puppet in Saigon. 2. The South Vietnamese government collapsed because of its brutal corrupt nature and fielding an disinterested army, which deserted or avoided conflict whenever they got a chance, leaving the US – an occupier – to take the brunt of the action. 3. Even the might of the US military was not sufficient to save them from themselves and their people.
Consortium should elaborate on other aspects of his highly suspicious background such when he lobbied for those governments and his role in the Contra War. Wikepedia describes him as one of the “Gang of four” policy analysts who supported Congressional funding the the Contras- Reagan’s Nicaraguan terrorists.
I think it is a good idea if Afghanistan become two separate country because for the pashton killing and being killed is a way of life like Italian mafia imagine a city of full Italian mafia what if 40% of a country act and lives like mafia for sure there is no future for the other 60% of population.
Mir, you have been listening to too much propaganda about pashtuns and obviously you do not have the capacity to independently think for yourself. Dostum killed many pashtuns during the civil war, Tajiks killed pashtuns, Hazaras killed pashtuns, the pashtuns killed others, that’s why it was called a civil war. If you go and ask Tajiks, Hazaras, pashtuns and uzbeks how they feel about a partitioned afghanistan, they will spit at your face. Then I will ask you who are you to decide for afghans what’s good for them. The British divided the pashtuns and we still have a 100+ year dispute. If the foreign powers leave the afghans alone, they can figure out how to live in harmony.
As a Mongol, i would say that partitioning is a great benefit for my Mongol hazaras who suffer under pashtun dogs. Haazaras like to be separate, and no they’re not anti-us, they like u.s. Also Inner Mongolia, And siberia will be partitioned from China and Russia. Hazarajat, Inner Mongolia and Siberia will once again be part of the True Mongol identity.
Mr Cameron, now wonder why USA is failing. The Obama Administration has advisors like you. I don’t know what your source of information is, but you have posted alot of wrong data. The percentage you have given is totally wrong, there is the Afghan People. What would be your reply if I tell you there is no American People. It is a mix of Latinos, Anglo-Saxon, Continental Teutonic, Celtic, Latinos, Indians, Germans etc. You people never think of uniting others but rather dividing occupied countries.
Mr. Bruce Cameron, please stick with your expertise on Latin america and do something so that they will not hate the US as much as they do now. But for Afghanistan, and all the problems in the world, there is a short cut solution. I offer this solution and it is 100% effective and do so out of total sympathy and respect for the American people where I spent a decade of my youth. The American people have to end their miseries and the miseries of the world by didviding the Dis-United States into 50+ states, whereby every state will tend to the wounds and miseries of its people inflicted upon them by the Federal Military Industtrial Complex. Destroy the FMIC and do not allow it to wave false flags and invade countries as it has done throughout the American history. Read Howard Zinn, a war hero, or listen to General Eisenhower when he bid you farewell, and don’t listen to pundits who are only good at distorting facts to serve hidden agendas.
History repeats itself Foreigners are deafeated once again in Afghanistan. Shame on you people thinking about Afghanistan partition. Hee hee hee!!!
Why is that a shame if people who want and love peace don’t wanna be ruled by people like mulla omar and sherzai type gang star
Mir: Whom do you want to be ruled by? Who said that you are going to be ruled by Mollah Omar?
Someone who does not make killing of ethnic minority and suppressing the women his national sport or call them dear brother, by the way the corrupt government of Afghanistan already want that Taliban join the election with their candidate.
Imagine that you have two candidate for presentational election mulla omar vs let say a afghan who has a Harvard degree who gonna choice the pashton ofcourse mulla omar.
Dear writer, I stopped reading ur piece the very moment I saw “hazaris” its “hazaras”. This error serves as testimony of your lack of minimal knowledge about Afghanistan. I will take this opportunity to enlighten you that there is such a thing as “Afghan” its synonym for Pashtun. You pick, just don’t refute it.
“AfghanPeace”: I’m not sure if you are referring to me, but yes I meant Hazaris in Iran. Hazaras belong to Afghanistan, even if there is a large Hazara refugee community in Iran. NO: Afghan is every single inhabitant of Afghanistan, all those who live Afghanistan, which was created by Pashtuns, Balochis and Hazaras, according to world history books. Read the history of Afghanistan 1700-1750. The real name of Afghanistan is ARIANA.
Mr. Cameron: You know very well, by now, that Afghanistan is the graveyard of Empires. The barbaric and savage British along with their Russian bandits were humiliated and disintegrated. You know why? Because they wanted the same thing as you do, namely, the partition of Afghanistan along ethnic lines. The uncivilized Brits succeeded to some limited extent by dividing the Pashtuns and creating a cancer not only for the liberated India and Afghanistan but the entire world. It seems that you haven’t learned anything from history and want America to face the same fate as their barbaric predecessors.
Let me remind you and your like minded anti-Afghanistan parasites: Before you succeed with your evil intentions of dividing Afghanistan, you will be partitioned in 52 pieces of land based on religion, culture and race. And if I ever see you in Afghanistan, you will never see America again.
By the way: Since you are a lobbyist (world destroyer), how much and from which country (Pakistan or Iran) have you received for writing this article. Afghanitan will live and will one of the strongest and richest country on the planet, with or without America. Last but not least, don’t you ever enter Afghanistan and please try to avoid a man by the name of AfghanWarrior wherever you go!!! Death to the enemies of Afghanistan!!!!
AfghanWarrior, great words and i love you for that. this Author is an idiot and should be laughed at, no one will divide afghanistan, we are all brothers.
The anti-Iranian current fashion hits a new low. An American lobbyist claims expert knowledge of Afghanistan and manages to write over a thousand words without mentioning Iran. The very word “Afghanistan” is Persian (which is called “Dari” in Afghanistan), and means the Land of Afghans. More than half the population speaks Dari, which is also called Tajik by the tribes further north. An Iranian (who calls his own language “Farsi”,which the Greeks called Persian) can easily converse with Tajiks, Hazaras and other Afghans. Besides, Afghanistan was part of Iran since the Persian Empire stretched to the river Sindh )now in Pakistan) as long ago as 2500 BC. In fact, in the 19th century when the British invaded Afghanistan from India, they had to fight Iranian troops defending Herat. God help Americans if their only sources of world history are paid lobbyists.
Mr. Harry Shade:
While the world is reading this peice of ****, could you please point out the specific time when Afghanistan was part of Iran? When was Afghanistan part of Iran?
Last time, during the 1700-century, Iran was part of Afghanistan. Its coward Savavid king abdicated before the brave Afghan king and warrior Mahmud Hotaki, who refused to put the crown of Savavid on his head, saying the Savavid king was a coward man and he won’t wear the crown of a coward man on his head.
If you are an Iranian by origin, it wouldn’t surprise me if you believe in the theory of Afghanistan being a part of Iran, because your history (the history of Iran) is pure lies. What about the Kurds, Azaris, Arabs, Baluchis and Turkmen in Iran. Don’t worry: You will be partitioned in 10 peices at least.
Now, be a man of honor and respond to my question: When was Afghanistan a part of Iran. Talk with facts or improve your knowledge by never stating such stupid things again.
Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbeks are our brother who during different times fled Russian invasions and atrocities in Central Asia. They all have a country called after their ethnic groups, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan.
The black robed and turbaned fighters famous for ruthlessness, brutality and intrepidity in battle are by no means a “recent” development. They were around when Rudyard Kipling wrote these closing lines in 1865:
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!
They were called “Taliban” then too, and nothing has changed. We should wise up, or take Kipling’s advice.
Pardon me if I have misread this article, but it seems to me that this is very much in keeping with the policy, program and pattern of balkanization and blockhouses the US and NATO have pursued for two decades or more, and would be an end run or Hail Mary to finesse our failure to subdue Afghanistan. (What would this be? Another â€˜Peace with Honorâ€™?) After invading the country under false pretenses, and doing our best to control its national government, warlords and tribal leaders, and failing miserably, we now look to a de jure balkanization of the nation state, purportedly to make its people safe and save it from itself, but in fact to make our own people safe to be able to exploit its resources and develop alternative transit for the regionâ€™s oil and gas. What have we really done? Screwed the country and its people and then proposed a solution that destroys once and for all any chance for them to rebuild their nation or to cure the mess we created. How nice. So there are different competing tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan. So what, thatâ€™s everywhere, including here. Iâ€™m waiting with bated breath for our State Department through Mr. Cameron or someone else (after all, it seems for the time being that Susan Rice is damaged goods and Hillary is recuperating and preparing for the time she and Leon will be limping out the door) to propose the same for Libya and Syria. In the end, it would be another end-run around a U.N. Charter and body of international law that designed to protect the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of its members. Whoâ€™s next, Pakistan? After all, weâ€™ve been doing our best to stir the pot in Balochistan. (Maybe, as a sop to Afghanistan, we could also promise to redraw the Durand line and return its disputed area with Pakistan back to it, or create some new state that could be federated with it. Oh, I forgot, Afghanistan would have disappeared as we knew it…….to further the best interests of its people.)
This sounds like the vision of some neocon graduate of Yale or Princeton (or Stanford) who cut his (or her) teeth on midnight games of Diplomacy in the student union.
Reading the transcripts of the Kissinger-Chou Enlai meetings, one can observe two chess grandmasters speaking more or less openly, about Taiwan, Vietnam, and Chinaâ€™s unnamed neighbor to the North, but where the greatest clarity of thought is with Chou, since even there where everything could be discussed logically, Kissinger (pursuant to his boss) was bound insist that any terms of peace with Vietnam, including those they were offering, be conditioned on saving national face- (though in his and his bossâ€™s execution of the withdrawal from Vietnam we fell flat on it)- while, to paraphrase Chou, it was: â€˜why not just leave, itâ€™s their country, they donâ€™t want you there, and you werenâ€™t supposed to be there.â€™ (For the memoranda or transcripts, see, for example, that of the July 9, 1971 meeting at:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB66/ch-34.pdf ) Itâ€™s fascinating reading.
Alternatively, I’d take a look at William R. Polk’s 2010 article on Afghanistan at: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/08/impressions-of-afghanistan/62236/
If there’s anyone in that group of U.S. diplomats or former diplomats with extensive foreign policy experience and expertise in the U.S. who know what they is doing, it is a person like Polk
Just leaving, or accommodating rather than coercing the people, may be a hard pill to swallow for the neocons, but thatâ€™s the reality we face, and itâ€™s not as if we couldnâ€™t cut real deals like the Chinese have been doing, and, as a result, do much, much better in the long run.
(To: Alchemist, sorry if this may sound like an apologia for the Chinese, but for all of their difficulties with their Uyghur population in Xinjiang, their policies have been more realistic and they seem to have been doing something right in Central Asia, and elsewhere.)
There almost always seems to be a nugget of wisdom in Consortium articles if not a mother lode. A valuable history lesson, first of all, that ALL Americans desperately should know about. We also know that isn’t likely to happen. The comments too, are enlightening. Thank you Rehmat, especially (except for the part about Ed Koch being gay-irrelevant). And Hillary and Rosemerry. Jym Allyn-sorry, but you sound like a lobbyist for the Chinese government! Parts of your comment were thought-provoking, to say the least but nah!
To Sharryl Rose: you need to contact the Dept. of Defense or your local legislators. Good luck with that! Your story is probably repeated (with other families) too, too many times to be reasonable. So sorry for you and them.
Cameron’s analysis doesn’t make much sense. Here are 3 selected paragraphs (emphases mine): 1) “That was the predicament that President Barack Obama inherited in 2009, a growing Taliban threat to the security of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. Though Obama expressed interest in seeking a gradual exit strategy, he left in place key Bush holdovers, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, who MANEUVERED Obama into accepting their plan for an escalation of the war and a new concentration on counterinsurgency.”; 2) “It seems timely to get out â€“ which is the direction that President Obama is now favoring, especially after the REMOVAL from office of both Gates and Petraeus.”; 3) “It also is fair to say that President Obama â€“ by letting himself be MANIPULATED by Bush holdovers in 2009 â€“ is responsible for the failed counterinsurgency strategy that has achieved little at great expense in blood and treasure. After all, he is commander-in-chief.”
While conceivably possible, this account appears to be a “just so” fairy tale. American Presidents today (although occasionally as stupid as some kings), are not directed by one or two courtiers. Obama, unlike his predecessor, is not stupid.
i am very upset my fieance has been honorable to our country for twenty years now ,he planned on retireing in october 2012, and comming home to his 5 year old daughter who has already lost her mother, to marry me. I cannot say his name publically due to the fact he is at war in Afganistan. I want to know why he has been held back? this action has taken a toll on us both he is desperately ill at this time being bitten by a poisonous ant! i feel he has served our country well and needs to come home now ! sincerily sharryl rose doris owens. 951-924-7590
please contact me if you can help get my soldier home!
Obama’s only success mentioned in the article was ObL and AlQaida, already said to be dead and inactive. Not much return for the lives/billions/destruction and years wasted.
Jym Allyn on January 3, 2013 says ” cesspool for international terror and drugs, which financially go hand-in-hand.”
Sounds like un-subtle propaganda for the other “War on Drugs” and D.E.A. which any sane person knows does not and will never work and causes more and more misery and wastes an incredibly enormous amount of money.
Just lets do the sensible thing and get the hell out of that once beautiful country where we have no place being in in the first place anyway.
Oh sorry — I forgot that “they attacked us on 9/11” fairy story.
Amazingly causing results as seen in these pictures
Please be assured I am in agreement with your sentiments.
The “cesspool for international terror and drugs” is a further justification for the abuses of our CIA.
Part of the reason for wanting China to take over “pacification” (chuckle, chuckle) of Afghanistan is that then it will become THEIR problem and not ours.
And Nature and the CIA hate vacuums. Getting China to take over will make it easier for us to leave without a sense of abandonment.
Of course Afghanistan is a fiction, but not the only one in the area. Pakistan is just as fictional. “Afghanistan” cannot be partitioned unless Pashtunistan is unified–and that means yet another partitioning of “Pakistan.” South-Central Asia needs at least five, not three states: Bactria, Pashtunistan, a rump “Pakistan,” Kashmir, and India. Which is only slightly more likely than Chinese colonization of “Afghanistan.”
You do not seem to know your history.
Pakistan is anything from fiction. If you actually took a history class on this region of the world you would have learned that the people of what is modern day Pakistan were trading with other empires like Mesopotamia and Egypt for well over the past 10,000 years. The oldest recorded name for the territory (found in Mesopotamian texts) was Meluha and their ancestry over the years covered and still live across all of what is modern day Pakistan. However, unlike their neighbours Pakistanis actually chose their nations name while Afghanistan and India live with titles ascribed to them by foreign powers.
Pushtunistan never existed and evidence of that comes from our knowledge of the ancient villages of Mehrgarh and Taxila (not to mention everything we know about Meluha and what is later termed the Indus Valley Civilization) both of which were formed by Meluhan ancestry (i.e. people of modern day Pakistan). The groups that currently occupy modern day Afghanistan are most likely the progeny of invaders and nomads that entered into what is a desolate wasteland later used by the USSR and British as a buffer zone between their respective empires. It will also never exist when you take into account strong Pakistani nationalism and the fact that generals from the territories you ascribe to this fictional Pushtunistan (ex. Ayub Khan) have actually fought off invasions from Afghanistan with Pakistan superior military force.
When Durrand drew up the borders, aside from the fact that the people of the various provinces overwhelmingly approved the union, Pakistan is almost a perfect duplicate of the same territory Pakistani ancestry have lived on for millenniums and their peoples history older than recorded history itself. Furthermore, Kashmir shares the same ancestry as Pakistan since it was part of what some commonly refer to as the Indus Valley Civilization which are the Meluhans that Mesopotamia referred to earlier.
My belief is that nothing is going to change in Afghanistan and you will most likely see a continuation of the same civil war that has been ongoing for 30 years with almost routine talks between opposing factions that solve nothing. Truth be told Afghanistan had already undergone a de facto partition. I personally will not be surprised if the foreign business consortiums wishing to do business in Afghanistan wind up paying off fighters opposed to the current inept and corrupt government in Kabul who would be powerless to oppose any such dealings considering the fact they need any kind of revenue they can get.
Pakistan came into existance only after 1948. maybe you should touch of the history of the region yourself. Afghans have at least a 5000 years history and have been a nation since 1700s while pakistanis were serving the British as slaves, Afghanistan was an Independent kingdom. Nice try though.
This Author is an not well informed. He talks about the pushtun as having their own state and the other ethnicity will live harmoniously in another to the North. the Author should study the recent history of afghanistan. during the civil war in 1992-1996. there were hazara vs pashtuns–Tajik VS Hazara—Uzbeck VS Tajik Hazara VS Uzbeck Uzbeck VS pashtun and the list goes on. what makes this author think that the minority will not fight each other once they have their own partitioned side. Especially that some minority group like the hazaras are very close to Iran and therefore naturally Anti-US. Also the pashtuns in the south will want to unite with pashtuns from pakistan. It will make a huge mess. The best solution is for foreign interference to STOP so that afghans can sort out their differences on their own. This Author is clueless.
The ethnic division of Afghanistan will not stop the tribal corruption inherent in the Afghan culture. That tribal culture teaches children to steal from each other and that all outsiders are enemies. The ethnic labels and geography are irrelevant to the commonality of that tribalism.
However, without either sealing the border to the outside world or totally destroying that tribal culture, Afghanistan will continue to be a cesspool for international terror and drugs, which financially go hand-in-hand. Ironically, and tragically, the biggest customer for Afghan heroin is Russia where the profits to their Mob has resulted in heroin addiction being a greater problem in Russia than alcoholism. Our CIA’s history of treating heroin as a political and financial tool fits quite nicely with allowing the Russian Mob to handicap Russia despite the increase in Russian orphans and the decrease in Russian productivity.
The solution to ending current Afghanistan culture being a threat to the rest of the world necessitates destroying the heroin crop in SW Afghanistan, sealing the border from weapons transfer, building roads and infrastructure, developing the three trillion dollars of rare earth mining in NE Afghanistan, and having about 250,000 soldiers provide the security to destroy the insurgency.
Such efforts are beyond are cultural, logistical, and financial abilities.
However, there is a country that has the finances, the military resources, the cultural ability to deal with insurgencies, the engineering ability to develop the mineral resources, and the logistical proximity.
That country is Afghanistan’s next door neighbor China.
China has the money, the manpower, the need for the minerals, and the need for demonstrating to the rest of the world a sense of leadership for world peace. And world peace will provide an increase in the consumption of goods which will further benefit the Chinese economy. Development in Afghanistan would also spur development in Western China which is also one of their goals.
Besides, China won the war in Vietnam.
It’s time they won a war for us.
Interesting suggestions, showing the stupidity of the US intervention and reminding us that China tends to work with countries rather than invade them, and yet the US policy now is to make China an enemy and work agaist it at every level.
This article is garbage and so are you