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Domestic political, International political, Terrorism

US, Afghanistan, Russia, India, UN


Khabrain, 4 July, p 8
Pakistan: Former Chief Sees US Leaving Afghanistan After McChrystal
Article by Gen [ret] Mirza Aslam Baig: "Objection Of Gen McChrystal" -- All Words In Double
Quotation Marks, As Published.
A soldier has full right to show his difference with the high civilian and military leadership, but
it has a proper and a well defined procedure. The way Gen McChrystal expressed his differences
cannot be expected from a high-level officer. Perhaps the bitterness of circumstances has played
havoc with his nerves, and he was deprived of his decision making power. One of his colleagues
has commented in these words, "He has no capability of taking along everyone in such tough
circumstances. He used to work with a specific group and excessive drinking must have affected
his nerves badly." However, several other facts lying behind this incident needs analysis.
President Obama made two promises during his presidential campaign. The first, he will
withdraw troops from Afghanistan to end this ongoing purposeless and savage war. Second, he
will find just solution of Kashmir issue. However, he backed out of these promises when he
reached the White House. He adopted another course to resolve Afghanistan issue through
military supremacy under the pressure of military top brass and arms manufacturing lobby. He
could have easily said, "President Bush has accomplished mission in Afghanistan. Therefore,
now I have decided to recall troops." Certainly, the NATO and the US public would have liked
his decision. On the other side, the Indian lobby pressed upon him so much so regarding the
resolution of Kashmir issue that he cut short the responsibilities of Richard Holbrook to only
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Undoubtedly, Gen McChrystal was disheartened over his failures, for he could not come up to
expectations that were about him like that fulfilled by Gen David Patreaus in Iraq, though there
is a hell of difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. Gen Patreaus fanned sectarianism by
fueling differences between Shia and Sunni population through ethnic and religious differences.
This led to a spree of ethnic and religious violence and target killing. He weakened the resistance
by bribing Sunni resistant leaders and succeeded in installing the government of his own liking.
Contrary to this, there are no ethnic or religious differences in Afghanistan. Here a majority of
Pashtuns is fighting against the foreign invaders. The minority Northern Alliance captured
Afghanistan on the US tanks, and now it is on the run with the invading forces. The Afghan
jihadists have won this war. Therefore, this facet is necessary to be kept in mind while deciding
the terms of peace. David Miliband has righty said, "the rightful tribes with and ethnic outfits
should be given key role in the political process, and it is necessary to include dominating victors
in the power regarding peace."

The admission of the failure of McChrystal is, in fact, victory of Obama, for he gave open field
to the US generals to show their prowess. However, they have lost their mettle. They have been
forced to withdraw their forces. They should admit this reality that Afghanistan cannot be
dominated through military power. The United States should start political process to end this
eight years long, barbaric and purposeless war in a peaceful manner. It should take appropriate
and timely actions for this purpose. The first course of action should be the start of talks with the
Taliban so that the mutual mistrust should be removed and fundamental issues should be
resolved through consensus for example determining the timeframe of the withdrawal of
occupational forces from Afghanistan, announcement of truce, end to the sanctions imposed on
the freedom movement of the Taliban and to pave the way for political compromise for a new
system with renewed determination. These are the measures that if not handled in an appropriate
manner may lead to dire consequences.
Karzai Government can play an important role in talks with the Taliban. They can agree upon the
constitution of a national government and a new constitution for political structure of the future
by agreeing to summon grand jirga [assembly of elders]. Some other important and crucial issues
in this connection are as under:

 What will be the nature of US-Afghan ties after the independence of Afghanistan?

 Future Afghan Government should have complete independence in forging diplomatic,


economic, social and cultural ties with all countries.

 Guarantee of non-use of Afghan soil against other countries.

 Promise of appropriate planning for compensation of war ravages and reconstruction


from the UN, the United States, the NATO and Russia.
Afghanistan had very good ties with Pakistan in the decade of 80's. However, the trust of the
Afghanistan was marred when Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] of Pakistan was separated in 1990
from the Afghan issues due to US pressure. In the second phase, the ISI officials having good ties
with the jihadists were removed. The greatest threat to Pakistan's integrity was felt when Gen
Musharraf stopped the ISI and other agencies from working in Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Federally
Administered Tribal Areas [FATA], Balochistan and other border areas in 2001 and handed over
these areas to the US agency CIA. The Indian spy agencies active in Afghanistan utilized this
opportunity and joined it. The result was that all our border areas became a hub of foreign
intelligence agencies. The conspiracies of these foreign intelligence agencies spread anarchy in
the country so much so that Peshawar and Islamabad also faced threats. A regular insurgency
emerged in Balochistan too.
These circumstances posed serious threats to the solidarity of Pakistan. The new government
coming into power in 2008 decided military operations through military force in Swat, Dir,
Bajaur and South Waziristan to restore government writ after clearing these areas from terrorists
and militants. The success of the actions of Pakistan Army depended on the coordination and
complete cooperation of the intelligence agencies, and it was only possible until all areas were
cleared from influence of the US agency CIA, Research and Analysis Wing [RAW] and Mosaad.
Now our intelligence agencies have full control over these areas. This was necessary for the
success of military operation. That is the reason that agencies are being accused of links with the
militants. I am not sure despite these successes that they have helped in bridging the trust gap
existed between Afghan Taliban and our intelligence agencies. Taliban are united under the
leadership of Mullah Umar, and Mullah Umar has a soft corner for Pakistan despite Pakistan's
breaking of promises. However, the young Taliban under his banner do not think so. Therefore, it
is necessary to see which avenue for Pakistan is open to bring the United States and the Taliban
on a table for talks, and how it will be possible to play its crucial role that it is to play for peace
in case of the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan.
It is regrettable that Pakistan has taken the same position over the change in government and
peace in Afghanistan as is held by the United States that is "Afghanistan should have a
government without complete dominance of the Taliban, and it should have support of all
neighboring countries." This is a weak and unrealistic position. The Taliban have won, and they
have right to form a government. They were ditched in the past ,and they were kept away from
power after the Russian rout. When a new government was formed in 2001, they were kept at
bay from the power again. Now the conspiracies to ditch them third time are underway, but they
will not be deceived. Therefore, Pakistani Government must decide after much deliberation,
otherwise, all efforts of establishing peace in Afghanistan will end in smoke and difficulties for
Pakistan will further increase.
Gen McChrystal, thank you for facilitating the withdrawal process of the US troops from
Afghanistan and now "stones have started rolling down from the rocks of the mountains of
Afghanistan." If my memory is all right, perhaps you said it a few years earlier, "Everything in
Afghanistan is tough including mountains, people or their stiff resistance." You were right.