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Sun. July 14, 2024
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Afghanistan 2014: is retreat of Western soldiers feasible?
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By Michael Orfanos The removal of Bin Laden from the internationasl scene concentrates all spotlights to the NATO deadline of 2014, when it is agreed that all NATO forces will retreat from the country leaving the enforcement of Law and Order to the newly created Afghanistan army (70.000 strong). But how feasible is that prospect? General James Bucknall, Commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, stated yesterday to Guardian, that «…now is not the time to blink…» and «..long -term commitment is important for short term success». General Bucknall’s statement is becoming increasingly popular in Afghanistan these days -especially by foreign diplomats and NATO analysts. NATO and the Western Countries need to define the post-2014 relationship with Afghanistan and set forth contigency measures that will provide reassurances to the Afghan nation, that they will not be abandoned after 2014 by Western powers. Simon Gass, NATO representative in the area told Guardian that: «we need to give Afghans the assurances that they are after. We need to create a framework and confidence that they are not being abandoned». Indeed, the current world conditions seem not to favor a NATO withdrawal in 2014, for a number of reasons: First of all, the death of Bin Landen is expected to increase the Taliban attacks in Afghanistan in the near future. The Talibans will most probably looking to set the record straight and attempt a major offensive against President Karzais’ ill-fated & corrupted regime. Aghan President Hamid Karzai -also known as ’The Mayor of Kabul’, because his actual authority as a President, does not exist outside the city walls of Kaboul-is in no position to maintain order over his country or impose central government policies. If the NATO forces were to adandon the country today, President Karzai would have to hurry to Kabul’s airport in order to flee from his country. He depends completely on the NATO forces to govern his country. Second, the newly-formed Afghan national army does not inspire confidence that is capable to deal with the Taliban regime and promote stability within the country. Reports from both NATO analysts and foreign diplomats are very critical towards the army leaders & officers, the army’s discipline and combat capabilities. Some Western analysts state that the afghan army is not going to survive contact with the enemy. Talibans are determined, they share a vision and a clear strategy. Talibans also have capable leaders, great combat experience, and have demonstrated endurance to NATO offensives against them. In addition, they know the Afghan region better than anyone – knowledge of terrain is precondition for any successful battle campaign. If the Afghan national army would ever decide to go to the countryside to find the Talibans, it is expected that only fractions of that army would eventually return untouched & unmolested, home to Kabul. Moreover, the personality of President Karzai does not inspire or unite his people. Mr. Karzai’s critics have often accused him for being an American puppet. President Karzai was born in 1957, in Kandahar and after obtaining his Master’s degree in India, moved to Pakistan during the early 1980’s to work as a fundraiser for the anti-communist mujahideen war in Afghanistan. At this point in his life most probably entered the CIA. Some indications point to that: his personal wealth increased substantially-at a time where the US was heavily funding the war against the Russians, and moreover his family was given permission to immigrate to the USA. In addition, in November 2001, US send special forces in the region and flew Karzai out of Afghanistan in order to protect his life, and in December of the same year they appointed him as Interim President of Afghanistan. Moreover, President’s Karzai government is highly corrupted. All foreign representatives in Kabul admit that there is widespread corruption. During his first term in Presidency, public discontent grew about corruption, and turned into a riot in Kabul which left 7 dead and more than 45 wounded. In 2007, reporters found-out that Karzai was secretly receiving millions of dollars by the Iranian government, and Karzai had to admit to it. However, he failed to state why the money was not send to his government but directly to his office. Finally, on January 2010, the Afghan Parliament rejected 17 out of Karzai’s 24 cabinet nominees, due to having been picked for reasons other than their competency. Indeed, a closer look at the CV’s of these cabinet nominees show that they do not have any ability, education, proven experience or any other credentials of that kind. The only thing they all had is that they were either Karzai’s relatives or were rich people. Members of the Parliament stated that these nominees were selected and proposed from Presedent Karzai based on ethnicity or bribery reasons. It is obvious that NATO wants to minimize their troop casualties and they don’t want to get stuck in, to another long-term war effort. The answer to this puzzle is quite simple: the key factor to an independent Afghanistan without the existence of Taliban, is to win public support - the people. The President of Afghanistan must demonstrate leadership and ethical virtues- which are desperately needed- to unite the nation. It is now obvious to everybody that Karzai flunked as President Thus, if a new government, is able to push for democratic reforms –meaning: equal social privileges, economic prosperity for all, public education, job opportunities, a stable socio-economic environment, the advantages will be multiple: first, the government will became “legitimate” in the eyes of the people-in contradiction to Karzai’s government which is considered by the majority of the people as an American puppet and extremely corrupted, using his authority to promote his self interests. Second, if the people of Afghanistan are satisfied with the socio-economic environment they live in, it is doubtful that they will enlist in the services of the Taliban, since now if you oppose the corrupted Karzai regime, there is only one way to oppose him: enlist in the ranks of the Taliban. A stable and democratic government will reduce to a minimum the flow of Afghan volunteers to Taliban ranks. Sooner or later, and without public support, the Taliban will start to sense isolated, and will most likely to withdraw from Afghanistan to other “greener pastures” where they will enjoy public support. Will the US, finally realize that Karzai has served his purpose and now has turned into a barrier to stability of Afghanistan? “The fault dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves, if we are underlings” (W. Shakespeare)

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