a Someone should care, maybe not you....: A Karzai suggestion .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

12 September 2005

A Karzai suggestion

Well, leaving the turgid waters of American politics I will return to another area of passion for me, Afghanistan.  President Karzai of Afghanistan has suggested that the US and other coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan need to refocus their efforts.  He questions the current strategy saying "We and the international community and the coalition must sit down and reconsider and rethink whether the approach to the defeat of terrorism that we have taken is the right one."
Now, all you folks eager for the US to take their ball and go home don’t get too excited.  He is not questioning that part of the strategy.  What he suggests is "I believe we have to go to the sources of it, where terrorists are trained, where terrorists are prompted up."
Guess where that is.  Pakistan.  Of course for political reasons Karzai cannot just up and suggest that the US send forces into Pakistan.  (or that he would like to send forces into Pakistan).  Pakistan would have kittens.  But despite official denials, that is EXACTLY what he is suggesting.  And he makes that suggestion with good reason.  
The Taliban has been staging out of  the tribal territories in Pakistan ever since we kicked their butts out of power.  Everyone in Afghanistan knows this.  Everyone in Pakistan knows it too.  The problem is that there are A LOT of people in Pakistan that still think the Taliban are the good guys.   These are the same people that are pushing the Pakistani insurgency in the Kashmir.  They are the hard line fundamentalist Moslems who really would prefer to live in a 16th century world.  (Maybe with cell phones though and AK-47s)  Now I have to give the government of Pakistan some credit here.  When 9/11 came down and the whole Al Queda/Taliban mess came out in the open bright light of day they backed us up.  They had been the primary supporters of the Taliban ever since the group was organized and the ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence Service) had deep ties with them.  Despite this the government dropped the support (officially) and went to war.  Unfortunately, they were somewhat limited in how far they could push that war right at first for several reasons.  The first being that not every one in the ISI or the Army thought this was a great idea.  And in a country where governments have been overthrown by the military many times (guess how the current president of Pakistan got the job) you just can’t tick off groups like that without the serious threat of coups and civil war.  The second reason is the rather bizarre political situation along the Afghan Pakistan border. These are the autonomous tribal regions.  Technically they are part of Pakistan but the central government has very little actual control over what goes on there.  AS it says, the tribes pretty much rules themselves.  And these tribes are all Pashtuns, just like the ones across the border in Afghanistan.  Just like the Taliban.  And these tribes really don’t care that much about what is happening on the other side of the planet.  But they do get pretty passionate about their fellow tribal types, their religion, their ethnic codes, and their independence.  They are also armed to the teeth.  Despite these problems Pakistan has captured or killed many Al Queda operatives and a few Taliban ones.  Not bad all things considered.  
Pakistan has offered to build a fence along the border to help cut down on the infiltration.  This would be a purely symbolic gesture.  The terrain along the border is such that a fence wouldn’t last a week.  That and to be perfectly honest, the Afghans really wouldn’t be happy about that either.  Afghanistan has never accepted the Durrand line(Note:  This link give a nice history of the situation but it is VERY biased, and hence makes my point) as the border.  In fact Afghanistan has traditionally claimed all of northwest Pakistan as part of Afghanistan.  (to the point of nearly going to war with Pakistan over it back in the 50’s.)*   So despite US pressure on the Afghan Government to accept the current boundaries, I doubt Karzai is willing to accept a permanent fence marking this line.

An interesting side line to this.  When I was in Afghanistan doing interrogations I would always ask the subjects “Who is the enemy of Afghanistan?”  100% of the people I asked that question answered “Pakistan”.   They blame Pakistan for all of the troubles since the departure of the Russians.  I’ll go into further reason for that in some later post.

*  Back in the 50’s when the Afghan king was threatening war with Pakistan over the Pashtun lands he went to the US for help in modernizing his army.  He wanted weapons, training the whole deal.  The US said no.  The world being as it was at the time, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union promptly stepped up and offered to help.  This was the beginning of the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan that reached it’s acme with the invasion and the subsequent Najibullah regime, and it’s nadir with the Soviet’s precipitous departure in the late 80s.  Which involvement of course laid the foundation for the rise of the Taliban and all the subsequent problems.  Ain’t it wonderful to see things come back and bite you 50 years later?

7 Comments:

Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Very informative. I didn't know a lot of that, for I never studied that area of the world.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another political map mess the British Empire left behind? Were they really that clueless about the local populations, or did they just not care?

And why is the US supposed to clean them all up?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

A GREAT post ExMI!

I could read stuff like this all day long!

Youre right- it is funny how political decisions come back to haunt us later on in life...

12:16 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

They didn't care. They were British and the wogs were wogs.....

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP »

5:13 PM  
Blogger opit said...

It is a mistake to attribute to stupidity that which can be explained by cupidity. http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/10478-us-position-hasnt-changed-on-durand-line
You can bet that this would not be the US position unless it served US interests.

10:58 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Dropping back into my past here Opit. (but ti is good to see you are still around)YOu link is a pretty simple statement of facts. The US has no interest in redrawing the boarders in the 'Stans (at this time at least). that boat sailed a long time ao.

2:47 PM  

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