I am concerned about Afghans when NATO withdraws in 2014. Pakis feel that theirs will be a win win situation. Americans wont bother after they cross the Atlantic and are safe back home. Europe does not wish to be in picture. India under the present weak leadership is written off as a force; civil or military. Russians have already burnt their fingers badly in Afghanistan not long ago.
China is the only country that has both financial and military strength to merit the label of a super power. The Chinese are friendly with Pakistan but wont like a pro-Taliban Islamic State become stronger and tacitly support the Uighur rebels of Xinjiang.
As of now, Russia is the only country that can motivate China, countries in the region, prepare a strong guerilla force of North Afghans and contain Pakis so that they are halted in their tracks.
Who will control Afghanistan on departure of the most powerful nation from the battle zone is a million dollar question. It is being debated in the War Rooms of many belligerent nations who have some stake in Afghanistan. If the land of Afghans is left to Afghans alone and no power beyond the international boundary is permitted to influence the decision making in capital Kabul, the worrisome situation will disappear on its own. No nation, weak or strong, white, brown or black need lose its sleep over what is cooking in Kabul. But that is not to be.
VILLAIN OF THE PIECE
Generally speaking, countries located to the North and the South of Afghanistan are likely to be meddlesome once there is vacuum of power. The most powerful nation to the immediate South is Pakistan, a nuclear nation. To the North are a number of small States that were a part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic governed from Moscow but became independent after the disintegration of USSR. Nevertheless Russia, a successor state of USSR exercises remote control over these small States from Moscow. However, as stated earlier, the Red Army had failed to subdue the Afghan rebels and their Islamic supporters called Mujahideens. Indeed the rebel forces had the full support of the United States of America and the rest of the free world in the form of a weapon system, cash in hard currency, Intelligence inputs and what have you. The religious fervor with which the rebels fought was to be seen to have belief that it was a real battle. SWo after trying their luck for ten years, the Soviet Army was ordered by the Gorbachev regime to withdraw.
After the Soviets, the deluge. No one knew who was incharge. The Soviets had handed over the administration to the Communist Party in Kabul but their tottering regime did not last long. The Taliban and the Al Qaida trained by the Pakistan Army swept across Afghanistan and set up their regime in the name of Islam. The Paki generals were their friend, philosopher and guide. Pakistan thus got the control of Afghanistan and it gave them defence in depth, as they announced from house tops. The military situation was never happier for Pakistan govt and the Army than this one. Islamabad became the de facto capital of both the countries thereafter.
The military strategists fear that unless counter measures were taken, the same situation might recur. India does not want the History to repeat itself as that would go against its basic interests.
The forces of the United States , under the political cover of the NATO, that went into Afghanistan after bizarre bombings of twin towers in New York, USA had met with no resistance as the Islamist forces had just melted away and merged with the civil population. It has been ten years or so that the NATO did their best to beat Taliban but military success eluded them. Hence the proposed withdrawal of the military to silence the American people and voters who chant “ Bring the Boys Home.” Anyway when Americans return to the Continental United States, some other country that has the capability to deliver the goods will be called upon by the international community to run the show and let the Afghan men and women breathe free and fresh air untainted by the Taliban.
EMERGING SUPER POWER
Only a strong country that has made a mark as a successful country financially and militarily will be able to bell the cat. Above all the chosen nation must have the will to act and keep the Taliban supported by Pakistan at bay.
Does India make the grade to become the Saviour of Afghanistan? Well Hamid Karzai has made as many as twelve trips to New Delhi to ask for and receive help to thwart the sinister designs of the Taliban. Apparently Karzai has not achieved the aim and his missions to India have failed so far. India’s leadership is so weak that it cannot venture in the direction of helping Afghanistan, not even with just selling some weapons. There is a pro-Pakistan lobby in India and right in the Ministry of External Affairs that is averse to annoying Pakistan by selling effective weapons to the Karzai forces. How weak the Indian top leadership is was crystal clear in talks and joint statement issued by Manmohan Singh and Li Kqiang in New Delhi. The Chinese troops had intruded into Ladakh 19 Km in April 2013 and stayed put for weeks but the Indian Prime Minister did not call it “Incursion” as the Chinese had objected to this word. The Indian side bent backwards and called the 19 Km intrusion as just an “Incident”
One wonders if a weak country that cannot defend its own territorial interests against Chinese frown will be able to go to the rescue of Afghanistan? No, not in the near future. India succumbs to the Chinese political pressure and allows them to have their way without even firing a shot. It does not augur well for the future of India and the Indian people.
So we are back to square one, not knowing where to go from there. Well, we were looking for a super power that would be able to take on both Afghanistan under the Taliban regime and Pakistan, free from the clutches of Pentagon or debtors who ask for return of the loan amount. There is a lacuna here. We should not club Taliban with Pakistan because the latter knows what the Americans mean when they wish to have their money back while discussing the cost of training, wear and tear of a training machine and emoluments of a training officer. In a court case, they produce documents to prove that both parties, countries of trainer and the trainee will have to straighten out accounts first before being permitted to return home. In view of this background, the free world may count on America to straighten out the matter and ask the man doing infringement to pay damages lock stock and barrel.
In my opinion the free world will have to fall in the lap of the Chinese government and request them to maintain status quo ante. In other words let Afghanistan be administered by Afghans only, the Uzbegs of the North and Pushtuns of the South forming an alliance to chase the Taliban away and restore peace. Corruption will have to be driven beyond borders so that the real value of the currency is restored. Thus the common man will be happy and smile will return to children’s faces.
With the effective cease fire being promulgated and maintained, granary full with grains, cattle munch what they eat, Peace and Tranquility cannot but return to entire Afghanistan.
By: Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
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