I have blogged about Obama and the situation in Afghanistan many times in the past
My opinion of Obama has always been that he is a man of principles who also likes to avoid causing offence. A man who likes to please as many people as possible.
Obama has now announced a surge of up to 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has also set an 18 month deadline for the troops to return home.
How many people has Obama tried to please with his decision, which was so long in arriving at?
The citizens of America, who have long since lost the appetite for war in Afghanistan. However, many Americans would like to win before they leave.
Obama most probably feels the military will be happy. Enough soldiers while in Afghanistan and a definite deadline for coming back.
What about the Afghans themselves. They know that they will be left to the tender mercies of the Taliban in 18 months time. Of course, if the surge is so successful in wiping out the Taliban, they needn’t worry, but will it? And more to the point, considering the US track record in Afghanistan, will Afghans start cooperating even now in the hope that the US will be successful before they leave.
I am sure that the Taliban and the ISI will be happy. They only need to lie low and let the Americans think they have won and they will be free to take over the country in the summer of 2011. Will the Taliban and the ISI be able to work together once more, considering the campaign being waged against the Pakistani Taliban? Well, politics makes strange bedfellows and Islamic fundamentalists are no exception to this rule. There is no reason why the ISI and the Taliban can’t work together again.
The Soviet experience in Afghanistan shows that a powerful Afghan ruler with sufficient backing can hold Afghanistan and keep the Mujahideen at bay. The Soviets retreated from Afghanistan in early 1989. However, they kept up the flow of weapons and money to Afghanistan. Until 2001, Najibullah managed to hold off the Mujahideen. The siege of Jalalabad in the fall of 1989 was defeated. It was only after the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991 that supplies to Kabul stopped and Najibullah had to throw in the towel. Can Karzai do what Najib did two decades ago? I hope so.
I had once blogged that Obama will interfere in Kashmir very soon.
Here’s an interesting article by Ishaan Tharoor in the Time on the same point. Tharoor however, doesn’t mention the K word.