Sunday, February 19, 2012

Changing equations in Afghanistan: Is America going to stay after all?

February 16, 2012:

The Americans are now sending confusing signals on their withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan and their “dialogue” with the Taliban. Their NATO allies would like to pack up and leave immediately.

The Russians appear concerned regarding the American bases in Central Asia, even while keeping their Northern Supply Route open for American forces in Afghanistan. Accusing the Americans of involvement in espionage and destabilisation from Afghan soil, Iran is now making common cause with the Taliban, earlier regarded by it as an enemy.

Pakistan, America's “major non-NATO ally” in the “War on Terror,” now belatedly labelled a supporter of global terrorism, would love to see the Americans pack up and leave. India is working on a gas pipeline through the Af-Pak corridor for gas from Turkmenistan and is ready to invest billions of dollars in Afghanistan's coal, iron ore, copper and gold deposits.

With Vice-President Joe Biden proclaiming that the Taliban shouldn't be regarded as a global terrorist group like the Al-Qaeda, the Americans have commenced a “dialogue” with the Taliban, which has left President Hamid Karzai dumbfounded, and the Pakistanis mystified. The Obama Administration has let it be known that Mullah Omar sent a message last summer indicating a readiness for dialogue. The earlier American conditions that the Taliban should renounce violence and accept the Afghans' Constitution have been dropped. Moreover, eyebrows have been raised at their readiness to remove hardcore Taliban leaders from the list of international terrorists. Read More