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23 October 2011

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FB Ali

Of course, Karzai’s statements need to be taken with a pinch of salt. He is often quite erratic in what he says (something to do with his meds, or lack thereof).

Nevertheless, if there should be conflict in that area between Pakistan and the US, the vast majority of Pashtuns would stand with Pakistan against the US. As would many other Afghans.

As Col Lang says, the plight of the ignoramuses and ideologues who launched these enterprises based on stupid pipe dreams would indeed be comical, had so many innocent people not paid for their folly with their lives.

RLKirtley

It must be true that Karzai does drugs. He must be dreaming that he really is in charge of something there.Or is this one of his CIA mind tricks? As the col. said,you have to laugh....or cry.

turcopolier

RL Kirtley

No. No. You don't understand. Like Maliki he is not our servant. pl

turcopolier

FB Ali et al

His meds don't really matter. He is not America's "Ally." pl

RLKirtley

Yes sir,I do realize that he is just expressing what the Afghan people would do.I know he has got off the rez several times.It's just something to have him come out so up front like this and not dance around it.

FB Ali

The meds etc probably cause him to come out with such blunt talk. Not one of them is America's "ally", not even the ones who swear undying fealty day and night -- they're just there so long as the dollars keep flowing. Watch them fly off as soon as the s--t hits the fan.

Even the Northerners, who fear the Pashtuns and, especially, the Taliban, are hedging their bets; they don't think the US is going to stick around too long.

The trouble with drones is, they can't hold ground!

William R. Cumming

Is US involvment in any way connected to Karzai's statements or based on what he does?

Could an argument be mounted that the US involvement in Afghanistan is a Pakistan wished it or planned it?

toto

You have to admire the balancing act between overtly accusing Pakistan of aiding and abetting insurgents one day, then claiming you're their allies the next.

That being said, what else could he do? He's the leader of a small country (in population), trying to deal with a massive country determined to subjugate his own, with 60+% of his ethnic base on the other side of the border.

Anyone wants to take a guess at how it will all end up? My bet: Pakistan takes over, Syria-Lebanon-pre-2000 style, and large parts of Afghanistan become havens for terrorist activity once again under more or less official toleration of the Pakistani Army.

bth

Karzai knows we are leaving and Pakistan isn't.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

An alliance implies common goals or at least a common enemy.

In this area, the notion of alliance does not make any sense to me; who is whose enemy here?

And I do not beleive that there are any common goals among US, Pakistan, and the various factions in Afghanistan.

Even in principle there cannot be any "alliance" there among any of the protogonists.

Am I missing something?

wondook

US and other OEF allies are in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaida. We did not come here to make war on Pakistan. or Iran for that matter. We did not attack Afghanistan. The Taliban and later the mansur network and the Haqqanis and Hizb-i Islami or the Kunar/Nuristan Salafis got targeted as they leaped to the defense of AQ. So may in future other networks in the region. But not the nations!

The whole interview is about Afghanistan and Pakistan as nations. Threatened by al-Qaida terrorism 'nurtured in Afghanistan and Pakistan'. Threatening both of them (he calls it the 'Frank Einstein theory'! See full transcript in English (http://president.gov.af/en/news/4210)

The Afghan president started this interview with a firm desire to reach out to Pakistan, this much has been explained by his advisors and by himself. But if you read it, it's quite tough on them. But he did not go simply overboard in making the comments.

Afghanistan cannot (even with US backing) sustain a 'long war' with Pakistan-backed insurgents. One of the Pakistani reasons for not decisively turning against the Taliban is the fear that a stable Afghanistan would become a rival, sucking up any US aid, and even give to US forces a regional springboard to attack their nukes, which are the only defense Pakistan has against an overwhelming Indian conventional superiority. In order to work against this perception, President Karzai needs to assure his neighbours (including the Iranians) that a stabilising Afghanistan will not turn into a threat for its neighbours. It should even be in the US' and other TCCs' interest to have Karzai give such credible assurances, because that is the only way Iranian and Pakistani politicians can 'sell' a stabilising Afghanistan with some modest international support presence to their national constituencies. Will it work? I cannot say, but to try he had.

confusedponderer

Irrespective of whether the US are actually fighting Al Qaeda or the Taleban - what counts for Pakistan's response is the reality they experience. They act in their own interest.

I don't think you are clear about what the 'strategy' you refer to entails - fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and later the Mansur network and the Haqqanis and Hizb-i Islami or the Kunar/Nuristan Salafis or future other networks in the region that get targeted as the US perceive or define them to be Al Qaeda-ish.

Them but not the nations? When the Taleban are a covert arm of the Pakistani ISI, the US are already fighting a nation.

The problem the US faces is in a nutshell that it has a political vision for the tribal region and Afghanistan that isn't shared by Afghanistan's neighbour Pakistan. They see Afghanistan as their strategic depth against India, and see US policies endangering that. That must be to them a vital strategic interest. It is unlikely that Pakistan will abandon it because the US prefers them to.

It is questionable whether the US policy vision for the region is feasible in light of that or whether it has to be re-adjusted to address that reality.

IMO Pakistan's financial dependence compels them to concede to US demands but their interests dictate that they simultaneously subvert US efforts. The US rightly find that duplicitous, but seriously, what do they expect?

Being upset about the Pakistanis having their own will is like being upset about the cat eating the fish. That's what cats do when left unattended. If you wanted to eat the fish yourself it's your own damn fault for not having locked it away. If you cannot lock the fish away, well, I guess you just have to share. That, or kill the cat. Now Pakistan isn't that small of a cat that it is easily killed (and think of that, 9 lives!).

The bad thing for the US is that they pursue goals in Afghanistan that they can only pursue with Pakistani support. The US Pakistani alliance is one of necessity - the US need the supply line and the Pakistanis need money.

If the US don't like that dependence they can scale back their effort so they don't need Pakistan any longer to keep their troops supplied (which will likely, quelle horreur, bring the US in dependence from Russia).

Or the US can meet Pakistani concerns and share their strategic goals and make it a real alliance (which is unlikely considering warming US relations to India, which is far more important economically and strategically).

J

Colonel,

More voodoo into the mix -- China's seeking miltary bases in Pakistan.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MJ26Df03.html

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