Tuesday, May 01, 2012

We Lose, We Win?

Here's an interesting idea.   The best and quickest way to restore peace to Afghanistan is for Western forces to pack up and get out.

"Most insurgent fighters are not interested in a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan or in Deobandi creeds, let alone in the geopolitical goals of the Pakistani generals that support them. They fight to rid their districts of foreign occupiers, and after a long and convoluted and misunderstood war, the Western forces are set to oblige them. Many will see the withdrawal as a victory; their mission accomplished, many will go home.

"Insurgent forces will face desertions that might make ANA desertions seem light. Such was the case when the Russian army pulled out of Afghanistan in the late eighties, leaving district after district in the hands of the Afghan army to face the experienced and seemingly invincible mujahideen bands.

"The results were not disastrous for the Russian allies, as was widely assumed. Mujahideen commanders quarreled and fighting broke out between many of them, leading many to seek protection from the Afghan army and to ally with the Russian-backed and previously reviled Kabul government. 

"It would appear that the Taliban are too unified to follow the same destructive path of their mujahideen predecessors, but unity based on a common enemy can be short-lived. Within the Taliban forces ranging across the country are many older leaders tired of war and eager to settle. But there are many younger and more ambitious commanders who were rapidly promoted after their predecessors were killed in drone strikes or night raids."

It's an interesting scenario, Western forces are themselves fueling the insurgency they cannot defeat.  Insurgents defecting upon our departure.   Negotiated settlements between the Afghan National Army and the insurgencies to follow.   Yet the theory seems to overlook the malignant, long-term impacts of warlordism that itself fuels suspicion and treachery.  It also seems to underestimate the role that other regional players from the bordering states from Pakistan to Iran as well as Russia, India and, particularly, China.  It's somehow difficult to believe they all would see a stablizied, peaceful Afghanistan as in their interests.

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