‘That’s the pattern we’re now seeing. Obama has stopped going through the motions of caring what happens in Afghanistan. Before his term is over, he wants us out of Afghanistan, he wants terrorist detainees out of our custody, he wants to wash his hands of the last vestiges of American intervention overseas.
This is his declaration that he’s just not interested in the War on Terrorism any more. Unfortunately, I suspect we’re going to find in the years to come that the war is still interested in us’
It’s tough to imagine how the Haqqani network and the Taliban are people we can do business with. They’re generally Islamic purists and reactionaries who’ve treated th[eir] own people badly enough. In taking territory, they often kidnap and kill civilians who get in the way, clearing out villages and halting all economic activity during the fighting. When in charge they are usually brutal (unsurprising in a land run previously by tribal and ethnic warlords).
So why are our troops there? Well, even though we supported some of these same guys during the Russian invasion, the Taliban most recently ran Afghanistan from 1996-2001 and still run parts of the tribal, non-government controlled Pakistani border regions (Pakistan is a big draw for terrorist activity all around). They have their own local concerns and ambitions, but acting as Islamic guerrilla fighters, they were natural allies to bin Laden and Al Qaeda leadership whom they harbored; that pan-Arab group of Islamist radicals and guerrilla fighters with global ambitions and briefly, terrible reach.
We have objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they are mainly are to ensure there aren’t further attacks on our soil, nor that this area again becomes a place that harbors the kinds of people who can pose a direct security threat to make attacks on our soil or interests. More broadly, they can threaten not only us, but the West and beyond, and arguably even global stability and order. There are pockets of sympathetic groups throughout the Muslim world, and some even living in the West. But this is the region where pound for pound, it’s most likely you’ll find folks like A.Q. Khan running around, people with nuclear know-how and perhaps the willingness to use it so that it might fall into questionable hands.
This blog welcomes any criticism, or new thinking as how to best address these objectives, and protect our interests, and maybe even redefine or challenge those objectives and interests.
Simply aiming to close Guantanamo Bay where many enemy combatants are being held, or expecting to withdraw troops and announce the end of the conflict in Afghanistan with political timing in mind strikes this blog as naively optimistic, and quite possibly very dangerous without proper consideration of those objectives.Let me know what I’ve got wrong. I don’t know what I don’t know, and I’m trying to figure out what I do know.
There’s Susan Rice again, staying on message.
At what cost?
Related On This Site: From Michael Yon: ‘General Petraeus Letter’…Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”…From Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?
Related On This Site: 18 million people and growing: Via Youtube Via Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘VICE Guide To Karachi’