United States Dilemma
in Af-Pak Talibanization Quagmire
The United States today is mired in a strategic quagmire in the AF-PAK Region which is neither the making of the United States nor of Afghanistan. The United States strategic quagmire has been inflicted on the Americans by the policies and lack of policies of Pakistan right from the 1990s. Pakistan engineered the Talibanization of Afghanistan in the 1990s. This was prompted by Pakistan Army’s strategy of creating strategic depth against its perceived threat from India. Along with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan facilitated the ensconcing of the Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and later assisted the installation of the Taliban Government headed by Mullah Omar. The combined setup of these groups and nations facilitated the inflicting of the horrendous Islamic Jihadi attacks on USA of 9/11. The global terrorism headquarters with Saudi finance and Pakistani ISI officering, training and providing the logistics was established here whose main targets were USA, the West, Israel and India.
The events of 9/11 forced the United States to take cognizance of this diabolical setup and the evil designs that lay behind such a creation after having adopted an
obliviousness which was to cost it heavily. The United States was thus forced to undertake its military intervention in Afghanistan to displace the Taliban regime from Kabul and destroy the Islamic Jihadi terrorism setup created by Pakistan there to escape accountability.
The United States achieved its military aims in Afghanistan but it repeated history of outsourcing to Pakistan the capture of the Jihadi hierarchies of the Al Qaeda and the Taliban Eight years down the line Pakistan has yet to deliver results to the United States despite billions of dollars given for thus purpose.
And it is here that the strategic dilemma begins for the United States now. The United States under President Obama has been forced to go in for a military surge in Afghanistan as Pakistan in the last eight years was double-timing the United States over Pakistan. The military situation in Afghanistan was being aggravated by Pakistan by using the Afghan Taliban and its cohorts. It resorted to a sequential handing over in driblets low level Al Qaeda functionaries to the United States so as not to arouse US suspicions while at the same time Pakistan was subsidizing a renewed takeover of Afghanistan by using both the Afghan Taliban and the so-called Pakistan Taliban till lately.
The Pakistan Taliban has now turned viciously on its benefactors, the Pakistan Army, realizing that they were double-timing them by exposing them to US drone attacks based on intelligence provided by the Pakistan Army and conducting military operations against them under US pressure.
Unfortunately, the United States has failed to recognize that the Pakistan Army’s ongoing military operations are not against the Afghan Taliban and the Al Qaeda but against the Pakistan Taliban which are now challenging the Pakistan Army on its turf right down to the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi.
The United States cruel strategic dilemma in the AF-PAK Region revolves around a basic strategic reality that stares in the face of United States in that Afghanistan cannot be stabilized by the United States unless the Americans come down heavily on the Pakistan Army. This means de-fanging the Pakistan Army of its nuclear weapons arsenal on the strength of which it proceeds merrily in its imperial pretensions in Afghanistan and uses it as a shield against any punitive strikes by India for events like Mumbai 9/11.
It also needs a strategic realization dawning on the Americans that China is not a responsible stakeholder in AF-PAK Region and would be reluctant to discipline its protégé, the Pakistan Army, nor would it be a party to any de-nuclearizing of Pakistan.
Should the United States continue to dither and hesitate in reining the Pakistan Army, the United States faces the distinct possibility of a Taliban re-takeover of Afghanistan and also the Talibanization of Pakistan itself with its nuclear weapons arsenal falling into the hands of the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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