Afghanistan, Neighbors React to the Obama Plan

Radio Azadi reports in Dari Persian that the government of President Hamid Karzai has greeted the Obama plan for that country “warmly”. Kabul interprets the plan as a pledge to build up the Afghan military and then turn over security duties to it, a sequence that many Afghans find appealing.

As expected, the Taliban rejected the plan as a form of imperialism. They dismissed Hamid Karzai as a Western puppet. But they also pledged that their organization has no international dimensions and they do not seek to commit terrorism in the West. The Taliban are pulling away from the wounded al-Qaeda.

Indians are miffed that their country was not mentioned in the speech. But the Indian government expressed satisfaction with the plan. Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharur said that India was “very pleased that pressure on the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border will not be eased.”

Russia was “largely positive” regarding the new American policy. Russia is afraid of Afghanistan’s heroin production, which is addicting Russian youths and, VP Putin holds, interfering with them having children, adding to the Russian population decline. Russia is also afraid of the spread of Afghan religious radicalism to Russian Muslims (15% of the population).

The Pakistani foreign ministry expressed concern on Thursday morning that if US military forces did not coordinate closely with Pakistan, and if they operated close to the Pakistan border, their operations might well push Taliban and other Pashtun religious militants into Pakistan.

Aljazeera English has a video report on this issue

The last time a foreign military staged a ‘surge,’ i.e. the Soviets in the early 1980s, it produced so much violence that 3 million Afghans were forced to flee to northern Pakistan. Islamabad is wary lest that pattern be repeated.

The split between India and Pakistan here is potentially damaging for the future. Afghanistan is an arena of contention between Islamabad and New Delhi. In the 1980s and 190s, various armed groups were backed by one country or the other. The Taliban were supported by Pakistan, the Northern Alliance by India. If we go back to that kind of proxy war inside Afghanistan, it will be ruinous.

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6 Responses

  1. Professor Cole,

    During President Obama's speech about Afghanistan he turned to the camera and talked to the people of Afghanistan.(how many of them have access to the media) He told them that the U.S. was not there to occupy their country. He also encouraged Taliban members to SURRENDER. When 2000 or more Taliban members who had surrendered in the fall of 2001 were allowed to suffocate under our watch as they were being transported in convoys. (The Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death (Documentary) Not only has there not been any accountability for this horrible tragedy our leaders, our MSM have completely ignored this crime and tragedy. The only journalist in the states who reported anything about this tragedy was Amy Goodman who I believe is one of the best journalist in the world. Keith Olbermann etc have never even whispered anything about these murders of SURRENDERE Taliban.

    Why would Taliban members SURRENDER to foroces who allowed such a crime to take place and then swept it under the rug?

  2. They (Taliban) dismissed Hamid Karzai as a Western puppet.

    The Hamid Karzai puppet– that's a hoot. Mortimer Snerd made a better puppet. I can only speculate that the puppeteer is somewhat disappointed.

  3. If Russia wants to get rid of the opium problem, they should be supporting an end to the war. The Taliban banned it before and will likely do so again after the war is over.

    link to watchinghistory.com

  4. ref : “Indians are miffed that their country was not mentioned in the speech… Afghanistan is an arena of contention between Islamabad and New Delhi. In the 1980s and 90s, various armed groups were backed by one country or the other. The Taliban were supported by Pakistan, the Northern Alliance by India. This dynamic is rarely mentioned by American media, and not well-known by the American public (which is, of course another example of why we tune in to Informed Comment, n'est-ce pas? :) I think propagation of this knowledge will be a revelation to many, Juan. If we go back to that kind of ‘proxy war’ inside Afghanistan, it will be ruinous. This is imho the greatest risk of General Petraeus' strategy, (not, "the re-establishment of al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan" ~ bases being in the minds of most Americans that media loop of al Qaeda guerrillas working out on monkey bars and firing ranges ~ the appearance of which at any scale larger than a license plate would be instantly vaporized by ‘Death From Above’ satellite and drone-driven air power: whether NATO-American ground troops were occupying the country, or not, fwiw). The Generals' COIN strategy, already showing signs of fracturing the tapestry of Afghan society along age-old ethnic and/or tribal rifts, by design pits one set of Afghan peoples, "legitimate forces," against another set, "illegitimate forces" — with the unintended consequence of one set or the other having geopolitical appeal to one Super or Regional Power or another. iow, Generals Petraeus and McChrystal appear (to this writer) for all intents and purposes to be striving to establish Civil Law & Order through some mechanism of "controlled and contained" Civil War… with fingers crossed that history will not repeat itself.

  5. link to tomdispatch.com

    December 3, 2009

    Victory at Last! Monty Python in Afghanistan
    By Tom Engelhardt

    Let others deal with the details of President Obama’s Afghan speech, with the on-ramps and off-ramps, those 30,000 U.S. troops going in and just where they will be deployed, the benchmarks for what’s called “good governance” in Afghanistan, the corruption of the Karzai regime, the viability of counterinsurgency warfare, the reliability of NATO allies, and so on. Let’s just skip to the most essential point which, in a nutshell, is this: Victory at Last!

    It’s been a long time coming, but finally American war commanders have effectively marshaled their forces, netcentrically outmaneuvering and outflanking the enemy. They have shocked-and-awed their opponents, won the necessary hearts-and-minds, and so, for the first time in at least two decades, stand at the heights of success, triumphant at last.

    And no, I’m not talking about post-surge Iraq and certainly not about devolving Afghanistan. I’m talking about what’s happening in Washington.

    A Symbolic Surrender of Civilian Authority

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