Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
Afghan people must have a realization that NATO and U.S have no love with them. In fact, their own strategic objectives compel them to remain stuck to Afghanistan and Pakistan for promoting a regional instability by promoting terrorism and internally destabilizing both countries as an excuse to continue their mission.
The final Communiqué of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan-2011 supported the covert US plan for staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Earlier, during the Lisbon Summit-November 2011, the forty-eight member coalition agreed for a troop’s drawdown by December 2014. Pentagon had a reservation to this deadline, as expressed by its representative immediately after the Lisbon Summit. President Obama however had a different framework for the withdrawal of US troops, starting from July 2011. Nevertheless, his powerful Pentagon lobby resented his plan. The Pentagon indeed is the B team of the neoconservatives, aiming for a global domination and capturing the important natural sources worldwide.
The Bonn Communiqué says, both sides “solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024.” The Lisbon Summit of November 20, November 2010 has approved withdrawal of ISAF forces from Afghanistan by 2014, in the wordings, “The Alliance approved to end its combat mission in Afghanistan and hand over full sovereignty and security responsibility to Afghan forces.” Indeed, it has been seen since 2001, that US always lobby for keeping leverages for the further extension of any mission where it has long-term objectives fixed, until their attainment.
In Iraq, US has gained maximum through bilateral arrangement for a control on its hydrocarbons, therefore, decided to pull out its combat troops by December 31, 2011, as a ‘mission accomplished’, announced by President Obama. Besides, there is a substantial presence of US combat forces in other Middle Eastern countries to take care of its future interests. Furthermore, it has overthrown some of the anti-US regimes like Libyan leader Qadafi and indeed, looking for toppling many others likes Syria. U.S is carefully crafting a methodology for dealing with Iran, another anti US country in the region, in the garb of its nuclearization plan.
In Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary, Leon E. Panetta said in a press conference along with President Hamid Karazai that, it is a reality that, US has not completely won and there is need to complete its mission. He however, claimed that, ISAF and Afghan forces “have been able to seize the momentum from the Taliban militancy and establish security in critical areas, such as the Taliban’s heartland in the south. We are moving towards a stronger Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself for the future.” The ground realities are indeed, contrary to Mr Panetta’s statement. The insurgency has in fact increased, rather reduced. As noted in last few months, even heavily secured areas like Kabul were not free from Taliban attacks. The areas that have been handed over to Afghan National Army (ANA) are now very vulnerable to militants’ attacks. Thus, as believed by most of security analysts, Panetta’s assessment is nothing more than a mere encouragement for ISAF and Kabul regime too. Otherwise, being a former spying head, Panetta knows the reality on Afghan horizon.
The statement following the Bonn Conference that, after transformation “In 2024 Afghanistan should not be a country in need of donors but also a donor country,” may be too ambitious and indeed far from reality. Continuous presence of foreign troops for the security needs and foreign economic assistance would make Afghanistan heavily dependent on others. It would require another two to three decades for restoring a self-dependency among the Afghans with such an approach. Have Iraqi security forces and Government there attained its self-dependency? Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussain was overthrown later than the Taliban overthrown, if time is a factor.
The fundamental question is, whether U.S really desire to leave Afghanistan. Furthermore, would it be possible for the Karazai led Kabul Administration to sustain without US. The capacity of Afghan Government and ANA to sustain against the militant’s pressure is quite evident from some of the incidents occurred during 2011. These events took place while there is a huge presence of ISAF troops. Then how ANA or ANP could compete their opposites who still hold most of the Afghan territory. It is felt that, this interdependence has compelled Karazai to request the participants of Bonn Confrence-2011 that, “Together we have spent blood and treasure in fighting terrorism. Your continued solidarity, your commitment and support will be crucial so that we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain.”
The request indeed, a US directive interpreted as such serves the mutual interests of the US and its puppet regime in Kabul. It would bring neither stability nor peace in Afghanistan. Indeed, it is not meant for that, interests and national pride of Afghans have neither been catered for nor will there be such a consideration in the future. Had US been purusing its basic objective of invading Afghanistan then it “should have used the death of Osama bin Laden in May as an excuse to immediately pull troops out of Afghanistan.” Nevertheless, perhaps, it was not the real objective.
For the US, the real objectives are more global and strategic in nature. Indeed, these are more important than Afghan peace and stability. In fact, an unstable Afghanistan is instrumental to all those. If there were stability in that country, then US would have no excuse to stay there, thus would miss its real objectives to counter the challenges, facing it. US challenges are indeed, a threat to its global status of being the sole super power in the coming decades. Therefore, U.S is here in the region to take timely counter measures against those strategic threats. In fact, these extensions through either Lisbon Summit or now Bonn Conference until 2024 are for the pursuasion of those real objectives.
On one hand, it is facing the economic might of rising China, whereas on the other, there is a resurgent Russia. Otherwise, U.S is in a state of cold war with either of these since last almost one decade. It is countering Chinese economic investments and expansions worldwide by destabilizing those countries and regions where China has made investment in the recent past. Its promised strategic and regional security architecture for East European countries and East Asian countries are aimed against both these countries, to whom it considers a real threat and challenge. Countering Iranian nuclear programmee, possession of regional hydrocarbons and denuclearization of Pakistan are other strategic objectives of United States in the region.
Afghan people must have a realization that NATO and U.S have no love with them. In fact, their own strategic objectives compel them to remain stick to Afghanistan and Pakistan for promoting a regional instability by promoting terrorism and internally destabilizing both countries as an excuse to continue their mission. It is to the people and well-wishers of Afghanistan and Pakistan to analyze the real objectives of US and counter these without fighting a physical war. Therefore, this Transition to Transformation is another trap for Afghanistan in particular and Pakistan in general.