Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal in 2014

November 27, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Afghanistan troop withdrawal was discussed during the NATO press conference last week i.e. 11/20/10 indicating the timeline in 2014.

Again, this topic has been extensively covered under various articles on this site.

The military decision was presented as the evaluation on the ground defining the persistent threat from Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, preparing the Afghan security personnel and armed forces and ensuring political stability across the nation…in semblance to Iraq.

With respect to Al-Qaeda – the CIA accounted for a meager 100 militants in Afghanistan and the northwestern Pakistan combined together against over 120,000 formidable U.S. and NATO coalition.

As for the Taliban containment, the Pakistan ISI and military intervention to prevent peace talks between Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government is common knowledge.

Even the U.S. leading press reported the Pakistan intelligence having misused the U.S. agents in tracking down the Afghan Taliban chief only to foster the Taliban and Afghan government standoff by holding the captive in a secret location unbeknown to U.S. intelligence.

Amid such activities, the foreign power still maintains Pakistan – an ally in the war on terror providing $2 billion military funding rather than channeling the aid towards desperately required social and economic development.

Pakistan ISI and military have long profited from the militancy within and across the borders with Afghanistan and India predominantly due to the U.S. military aid further distributed in lucrative arms sales to Al-Qaeda and militants including the Afghanistan and Pakistan based Taliban.

The carefully configured operation has contributed to cyclical violence in armed conflict, suicide bombings in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as terrorism against India and Iran.

Today on November 26, 2010 the Mumbai terror victims’ families mourn their relatives’ deaths from the brutal attack in public square two years ago.

The perpetrators like David Headley from the U.S. and terror masterminds in Pakistan are granted impunity despite evidence confirming the charges.

The Pakistani military, intelligence and the political establishment’s evasion to bring the Mumbai terrorists to justice is no different from U.S. and NATO avoiding questions about Osama Bin Laden in the 9/11 terrorism.

Afghanistan was invaded to eliminate Al-Qaeda and capture Osama Bin Laden dead or alive.

Now a decade later, the most sophisticated military might – the U.S. and NATO are still in Afghanistan with the war spilled over to Pakistan and Yemen.

Al-Qaeda and Taliban continue to be the reason for the prolonged occupation in Afghanistan.

U.S and NATO ambiguous timetable for troop withdrawal set in 2014 is suggestive of two possibilities.

It is ambiguous because of the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen underscoring the statement that the withdrawal commitment will not be “calendar driven.” Otherwise it could be beyond 2014 and not any sooner.

Per U.S. and NATO accounts – Given the inferior ammunition and significantly lower combatants Al-Qaeda and Taliban are essentially winning the war on terror in Afghanistan depriving the nation the long overdue political stability which in turn is contradictory to the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s position that:

“U.S. policy in Afghanistan is working” implying that NATO and U.S. choice of political leadership – President Hamid Karzai has the situation under control through efficient governance.

Then why is the troop withdrawal scheduled for 2014 and not 2011?

Alternatively ‘truth’ being the first casualty in war and politics, the U.S. and NATO leadership with the U.N. chief are not being forthright to the people in Afghanistan, the U.S. and ally taxpayers notwithstanding the increasingly frustrated press as the voice for democracy.

Afghanistan political woes persist with the central power challenging the latest election results while the Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly acknowledged the cash flow from Iranian regime and U.S. officials to his administration.

It is imperative to highlight the Iranian influence in two war zones – Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran alliance with the U.S. appointees – Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki is not without a reason.

Afghanistan and Iraq being the strategic location for military strike against Iran – the impending U.S. war policy with an unequivocal worldwide catastrophe is being maneuvered by Iran through financial assistance to Afghanistan and political ties with Iraq.

U.S. overtures to Afghanistan and Iraqi leaders in spite of their performance track record and against respective population dissent is the bedrock for insurgency, militancy and incessant warfare in both nations.

The Taliban is emboldened with the local population forced to accept the corrupt and inefficient political system or become a recruit for the militant group.

Afghan population plight exacerbated with the deteriorating social, economic and political conditions. The report on Afghan women self-immolation attributed to atrocities and social injustice towards them is a major credibility factor for the U.S. backed Afghan administration.

Besides President Hamid Karzai as the U.S. and NATO appointee is complacent to foreign occupation whereas resisted by Taliban.

To a large extent the Afghan population find themselves between the rock and a hard place.

Hence raising the relevant questions:

What is the real purpose behind the ten year old Afghan war?

With Osama Bin Laden being no longer the intended target and skeletal Al-Qaeda operatives relocated to Somalia,

Why is the troop withdrawal set in 2014 instead of 2011?

Why the pullout in 2014 is explicitly stated as not ‘calendar driven’?

What is the precise strategy to reverse Afghanistan status quo in particular with women, children and youth population?

With the existing corruption scandals, what transformation has transpired under the present Afghan administration?

If the U.S. policy is working in Afghanistan as claimed by the U.S. Secretary of State, then,

What is the explanation for the social crimes against women?

When will Afghanistan be truly independent and recognized as a sovereign nation?

Finally, what is so auspicious about 2014 that cannot be carried out sooner to save life?

Peace to the grieving families in Mumbai, India and distressed Afghan society.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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