Show down in Afghanistan: The big gap between thinking, saying and acting
|Subject||Show down in Afghanistan: The big gap between thinking, saying and acting|
Whoever insider you are talking to in Kabul in private is thinking that the Karzai Government is finished and will sooner or later implode due to its weakness after NATO and US Forces have stopped combat operations in Afghanistan. But don’t quote me, they say. They believe the Taliban in the south and east at least will not have to fight very much; they just walk in and take over. May be civil war between Northern and Southern Afghanistan will follow.
But nobody dares to say in public that the collapse of the current Afghan Government is inevitable and will certainly happen. Officials say: Transition of power from NATO/ISAF happens as planned, Afghan Security Forces can deliver and civil Afghan administration will manage the smooth transition. May be there are some minor problems, they admit, but they really don’t matter.
A key part of US strategy, it is said, is to increase military pressure on the Taliban to persuade them to join peace talks and to win them for integration into the present Afghan power setup in Kabul. But reality on the ground is telling something different: NATO and the US have lost the war in Afghanistan, therefore they stop fighting in mid 2013 to stop the bleeding and will shift next year to a supporting role, training and advising Afghan troops to prepare for the final withdrawal by the end of 2014 - the faster the better. And the Taliban are looking and waiting well organized and prepared by Pakistan for the show down and they keep on fighting. They feel already now as the winners and the Afghan people know it. They stay – foreign troops split.
Pakistan is more or less in full control over the opposition fighting elements of Hekmatyar, Haqqani and Mullah Omar. No chance to split the Taliban (aka: insurgents, opposition forces, moderates and extremists). For Pakistan to have the most important three Taliban groups under the wings is a must: You can play with one group against the other group to make all of them follow your orders. The really important insurgents have their families and houses in Pakistan. Some even are doing business there. Also some of the former mujahedin leaders have houses and relatives in Pakistan. They are hostages and bargaining chips in the hands of Pakistan military.
The US is not stupid either. They are working to open an office of the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to come in Doha, Qatar to try at least to play a role in the new Taliban regime after the Kabul breakdown and to have a foot in the door when the Taliban will take over which will certainly happen. All Afghan negotiators and representatives working in the Taliban mission in Doha are more or less US or Pakistan remote controlled front men.
President Hamid Karzai and his Government are sidelined, because they are redundant for the development of power transfer to the Taliban, which will be negotiated by the American stooges with Pakistan’s stooges. Now Karzai and his gang are trying desperately but in vain to be also a player in the great game. And Karzai’s criminal supporters are busy to use the limited time to loot the country and bag as much money as possible because time is running out for them. We will watch more corruption and even worst governance.
What will follow after Taliban takeover? India’s influence in Afghanistan will be reduced or even stopped. Transit trade with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will be lured via Afghanistan to Pakistan’s harbors at the Arabian Sea coastline. Pakistan’s military will have the strategic depths it always wanted in case of a war with India. Pakistan and Taliban controlled Afghanistan will invite China to explore the afghan mineral wealth and the role of the western countries will be reduced to apolitical humanitarian assistance.
A faster end to NATO/US combat in Afghanistan could give President Barack Obama an election-year lift. It may also demoralize Afghans who fear a return to the austere rule of the Taliban and hope that reconciliation between all parties would deliver a better alternative. And the Taliban … Hello - Kabul we are coming! … Or are they already there?