By Yasser Latif Hamdani
The article below from Examiner epitomizes bad analysis that some in the US insist on carrying out which is damaging to the much flaunted “common objective”. God forbid if the author is right, it just means that the US is pursuing a perilous path by ignoring advice from Pakistan’s hardened policy hands. The author is absolutely wrong when she says the Pakistan Army “has never been excited” about US aid and intervention. The Pakistani military has always been very close to the Pentagon. What Obama needs is a sustainable strategy which brings on board every key player including Pakistan’s civilian federal government and the Pakistan Army.
This means that the US will have to address Pakistan’s concerns vis a vis Indian involvement in Afghanistan. All of India’s so called interests in Afghanistan are Pakistan specific. Furthermore, the US needs to come out clearly and distance itself from the horrendous and ridiculous Col Peters’ Plan which finds an increasingly audience amongst the new great gamers. How would US do that? Well for one – US has no business dealing directly with the NWFP and ANP. US should make it very clear that its channel of communication is with Pakistan’s Supreme Commander President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The US Administration should stop making direct contacts with either Asfandyar Wali Khan, Amir Haider Hoti etc and treating them as the founding father and prime minister of a new state. They should be treated on merit as a provincial party and a provincial government. ( I wonder if there are people in the current administration naive enough to flirt with this idea of an independent Pakhtunistan. If there are indeed such geniuses, they should know that their new found favorites will be swept away in a flood.)
Here is the article I was talking about:
It is not possible for President Obama to declare a surge against Pakistan. After all, we are allies, and we are not supposed to be fighting on their soil. Why did it take so long to finally endorse the troops requested by General McChrystal?
The excuse came in the form of waiting for Afghan election results, despite the fact that the US knew well in advance that Karzai had no serious competitor. And, as reported earlier, the only possible man who could have had a chance at winning was pressured by the US to withdraw. See U.S. pressured Abdullah Abdullah to withdraw from presidential race
This afternoon, we heard Richard Holbrooke say: ‘no country is more important to our success than Pakistan‘, during an interview with Fareed Zakaria. He also spoke of the hostility faced by Secretary of State Clinton during her recent visit to Pakistan. We wondered about the same animus in our report: Pakistan: ‘Kerry-Lugar bill is unacceptable’ – who is the real enemy?
According to all indications, al-Qaeda is no longer operating in Afghanistan. And the number of ‘dangerous’ Taliban has been reduced to less than one hundred men. The question has already been posed: do we need another 30,000 men to take out 100 men?
During another interview this Sunday on State of the Union, National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones was pressed hard about this surge, its meaning and its purpose. A single sentence stood out amid all of the rhetoric: the troops will be concentrated on the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan where the fighting has been heaviest.
Another fact which has recently emerged on Democracy Now! was the quiet work being done by the CIA in Pakistan, supported by private mercenaries (i.e. Blackwater) who are conducting a war so secret that it was indicated that the current administration may not have known about it. This is inclusive of the drone attacks which have killed many Pakistanis, including civilians.
And we have reason to worry about Pakistan now more than ever: President Zardari has been forced to relinquish some powers, as he has been accused of corruption. The Pakistani Army has never been expecially excited about American presence or assistance to the country. And then, there are those nuclear arms that need to be secured.
So as everyone continues the conversation about President Obama’s war in Afghanistan, we may want to pause and read between the lines.