Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Indian ant in the Afghan flood



by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 6th Oct 09





India needs to remember that even the most industrious ants are swept away in a flood! Even as New Delhi logs up success after success in development projects in Afghanistan, the storm clouds of the Taliban are gathering across that country.

In only the latest dramatic example of how AfPak is going the Taliban way, 8 American soldiers were killed on Saturday when the Taliban stormed a US outpost near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The attackers’ rifles and rocket launchers were pitted against American mortars, guns, and air strikes, but numerical superiority made up for that, with jehadis pouring across from hideouts in Pakistan. The locals supported the Taliban because an American air strike the week before had killed over a dozen villagers.

Today, the spectre of 1992 looms over Afghanistan, when Soviet-style communism collapsed and the civil war began, leading to the victory of the Taliban in 1996. It would not be rash to predict that US forces will pull out from Afghanistan by end-2011, a year before the next US elections. Two years after that, i.e. by 2013, the Taliban could well control Kabul.

But India’s Afghanistan policy appears paralysed, an aid policy substituting for a realistic political strategy. All India’s development projects --- those roads, electrical transmission lines, irrigation projects, schools and democratic institutions --- will cease to matter around 2013, when, like in 1996, New Delhi will have to pull down the shutters and exit from Kabul, ahead of the Taliban’s troopers. After that, as it did from 1996 to 2001, India will live on in Afghan hearts, while Pakistan-sponsored fundamentalists live in Afghan government buildings.

“What can we do?” shrug senior Indian officials philosophically; “If we have to pull out, we’ll pull out”.

This time, though, India could remain out of Afghanistan indefinitely. There is no Ahmed Shah Masood to keep the Taliban at bay, even if in just a sliver of Afghanistan. And the chances of another 9/11 --- which swept India back into Kabul, piggybacking on American power --- can be safely discounted.

The one way of preventing this disaster is by working with the US to split the Taliban, winning over fighters who are not ideologically committed. Instead of silently acquiescing in the blunt US and NATO strategy of defeating the Taliban militarily, India must point the way towards a more nuanced strategy: understanding the Taliban; identifying each of its components; stepping up military pressure on the irreconcilable ideologues; then winning or buying over the opportunists.

The prospect of “Talking to the Taliban” evokes strong reactions, mostly: “You can’t talk to those jehadis! Just crush them underfoot.”

That line of talk comes from those who don’t understand the nature of warfare in Afghanistan and its shifting system of alliances. After three decades of warfare and turbulence, Afghans see no glory in dying in battle. Fighters expect their leaders to switch allegiance in time, to avoid unnecessary casualties and to remain on the winning side. Building a winning image is half the battle won, because half the opposition will cross over.

A handful will never change sides, being ideologically committed. That is why, a strategy of talking to the Taliban excludes dialogue with Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura. They are beyond the pale and New Delhi must ensure that Washington understands that. Islamabad’s recent offer to initiate talks with Mullah Omar merely invents a role for Pakistan. Instead, the Taliban Emir must feel the heat of US arms, even sitting in Quetta.

But most fighters wearing Taliban turbans today consist of ideologically uncommitted village militias who believe the Taliban is headed for a win. Most began their fighting careers in the 1980s as US-funded mujahideen, fighting the Soviet occupation; in the 1990s, when the communists sank and the Pakistan-aided Taliban was resurgent, they switched sides and grew their beards. After the Taliban were routed in 2001, the beards went off again. Scores of militias waited to see whether Karzai was worth joining; apparently he wasn’t, because shaving went back out of fashion and the Taliban ranks swelled again.

Karzai already discredited, is now untouchable after rigging the recent general elections. His lack of legitimacy has also put paid to America’s exit option, which involved training Afghan soldiers and policemen and handing over the country to a popular Afghan leader. New Delhi must point out to the US that a victory in Afghanistan, in the short time available, can only come by winning over large sections of the Taliban. Indiscriminate battlefield confrontation must make way for a carrot and stick policy, where Taliban commanders are lured over by a share of local power (even at the cost of Karzai’s officials) as well as dollops of money to ease their transition.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

ajay - a relevant view point. india does need to reconsider its "no talking/negotiation with the taliban" attitude. but given that pretty much all taliban is pushtu as regards ethnicity, wouldn't it be a whole lot harder for india to create a space for itself? courting a largely tajik component of the NA was in a way easier as that ethic outfit was largely beyond the grasp of pakistani designs. but given that pakistan has alsways had kinship ties with pashtuns, wouldn't creating alliances/ having understandings with any taliban faction be a whole lot more challenging?
- humble farmer

Jumbo said...

The Americans mostly remain confident of winning the War in Afghanistan. When they withdraw from Iraq completely there will be less pressure back home.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/opinion/27brooks.html

The U.S will win the War. What is 8 soldiers for a country that has given the lives of thousands of men and women in places like Vietnam and Europe. ?

Anonymous said...

Well, the democratic leadership in the US is thinking about "fundamentally changing US strategy" in Afghanistan, again!
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hLmFq_bIeJvBi8Qfr2BxUEi8qfNA

"“What can we do?”"

Maybe, satyagraha will change Taliban's mind.

Anonymous said...

The U.S must enter into Pakistan without being concerned about Pakistan's territorial integrity stuff. If the Pakistanis do complain in that manner, then the U.S has every right to claim that the Pakistanis attacked them from across the border and the response will be a war with Pakistan. The U.S is acting very timid in Afghanistan. Without crossing the border and eliminating the terrorists in Pakistan, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won. So it's either the U.S fights and win or withdraws accepting defeat.

VK said...

I might be naive, but here is my analysis about the afghan flood aftermath:

It should be a win win situation for India in either case. If USA wins, we should be doin fine. If they loose, given USA nature, they will blame somebody(read Pak) for the failure. This will further cement the already fledgling Indo-US relationship. An alternative to Taliban consisting of Tajiks, Uzbeks and others will appear and we will have to support that.

Spetsnaz101 said...

Ajai,

Although your strategy about engaging the 'uncommitted' Taliban is quite thought provoking, this same clan has turned its back on its patrons. So where is the guarantee that they shall not do so, if India were to lure/tame them?

And even more scary is the fact that these guys always come out stronger at the end of every invasion and the also the fact that they're perennially susceptible to the beard growers.

Anonymous said...

This is a workable solution but do we have the intelligence infrastructure in Afghanistan to make it work on the ground????
Hope we do....

Tejaswy said...

Ajai, America will not give up afghan so easily...yes it is having some troubles as of now, but afghan was the start of WoT.It is the epicenter of terrorism (according to america, me personally thinks its Pakistan).

All this means is a increased number of drone attacks in pakistan borders and more unrest in those areas.

India in the equation....Can't really say...India is in as long as America is in I guess

Vincent the Great said...

With all respect you know not what you're talking about. With the Obama adminstration dithering, it is expected of the jihadis to launch full out assaults to sway public opinion. However, there is a reason why the Taliban do not usually do this - huge losses expected and sustained by the attacking force against an entrenched modern platoon with crew-served weapons and air support. Losing 8 men in defending an all out attack by hundreds of enemy and killing dozens if not hundreds, is an American victory, not a loss.

The fact that in a war of any kind where it is noteworthy that one particular loses 8 soldiers, means how lopsided the rate of killing is. By some accounts the kill rate of American soldiers to jihadis is 100-1. How many men did India lose in Kargil?

As usual, the blogosphere is populated by people who have never served in any military before, and possibly never even fired a gun.

May I point out the fact that the Americans have never lost a base or outpost in Afghanistan, has won every battle at platoon level and up.

(Here is the perfect time for India to help the Afghan government properly, instead it dithers a favorable strategic position away because its government is not used to sustained diplomatic and military efforts but couches laziness in words of neutrality.)

Adivasi said...

Well there are shrill voices of US abandoning Afghanistan, but chances of US withdrawing from AfPak is rather wishful thinking. Uncle Sam knows consequences of such an act would recoil just like USSR. However There could be major change in strategy though, by conducting ground operations inside Pakistan. As Pak is badly in debt and buried in layers of insurgencies all over pak it would would naive to think that pak army would start dangerous game of confronting Uncle sam. I believe it would be one more round of turnaround by Pak regime to co-operate with US or else we could see shining yellow flame of cloud over karachi, peshawar, Rawalpindi.

Anonymous said...

I think that Afghanistan is without the numerous Indian consulates. Let India first provide free and fair elections in Kashmir. Talk to China and Pakistan without repeating superpower status which is hardly acceptable after the fizzles. Besidesa that, India is that much in survival (Maoist, Kashmir, Bihar, Tamil etc etc) that it should invest in India. Whether Pakistan is good or not... It does not matter cause the posters here hate it anyway. The past it had to stop Russia (survival and USA) and now it has to clean up the probems without decent weapons being provided. Every time it buys something the Indian side starts talking about imballance. Well, if even after billions invested in Indian and foreign programs does not provide security then why use the title superpower?

Anonymous said...

If Pakistan claims NWFP is a lawless country that it cannot control, then why do maps around the world still show NWFP as part of Pakistan??


Maybe this could form the basis of discussion with elements who agree to fight against Taliban.

Broadsword said...

Vincent, your ignorance about matters military shines out of every word you have written.

Your argument that "the Americans have never lost a base or outpost in Afghanistan, has won every battle at platoon level and up", is precisely the argument that advocates for Vietnam used to make. Practically verbatim.

What you need to know, with your obviously limited military experience, and all of it at very junior rank, is that it is possible to win every tactical engagement and still lose the war. Just like in Vietnam. Just like it might happen in Afghanistan.

Your argument that the US forces have a favourable kill ratio of 100-1 (highly exaggerated) is irrelevant. It doesn't matter how many of the enemy you kill if the public opinion in your country cannot hold fast in the face of the smaller casualties that you sustain. 100 dead is something the Taliban can bear; 8 dead is a big deal for the US public.

The Centre of Gravity of the battles in Afghanistan lies amongst the US public back stateside!

Anonymous said...

as regards a budding geostrategist's take on india, pak, china and "survival", i must admit nothing made sense. as regards india needing to look after its own affairs without bandying its super power status...well a whole lot of inaccuracies here.
1. yup, india has issues internally - namely kashmir and the naxal problem. but bihar and tamil(sic)??? pray, enlighten us, o great chastiser! and anyways, india does not have to go begging and borrowing from the international community to set its house in order. it makes for a sorry sight to see pak officials warning the international community that unless it was given money, it would go down . i reckon on that count india has enough dignity. to my knowledge, no one has used the term "international migraine" when it comes to idna as comapred to...you know whom ;-)
2. india is not a super power. if you want to attribute the term to it, be my guest!
3. nwfp is as much a part of pak as parts of somaila are. heck, mogadishu is not in govt. control but then it features on the somalian map. so much for maps!
4. how about improving your english a little so that we can all better appreciate the illogic of your arguments??
- humble farmer.

Anonymous said...

Good analysis, Ajai. This reminds me how the Britishers, during their times in the sub-continent, bought the local Pashtuns and pitted one tribe against other to secure their territory.

Pakistan has cleverly hemmed in the US by opening the logistical routes for the NATO supplies that go in to Afghanistan. The US can wean off its dependence on Pakistan by reconciling, at least in part, with Iran, Russia and the 'Stans'. If it happens, India has a resonable chance to keep the Taliban-Pakistan combine at bay in Afghanistan after the US draws its troops down.

-Nikhil

Vincent the Great said...

>>>Vincent, your ignorance about matters military shines out of every word you have written.

Please address me by my full name henceforth. The Great is an unmistakable part of my personality.


>>>Your argument that "the Americans have never lost a base or outpost in Afghanistan, has won every battle at platoon level and up", is precisely the argument that advocates for Vietnam used to make. Practically verbatim.

No, not really, shows how much you know. American platoons and companies in Vietnam were ambushed under the canopy and wiped out often. The American military is also generations in capability ahead of that time. Their losses are miniscule even in counter-insurgency. The only verbatim part is the brand of floppy disks you still use in your outmoded world.


>>>What you need to know, with your obviously limited military experience, and all of it at very junior rank, is that it is possible to win every tactical engagement and still lose the war. Just like in Vietnam. Just like it might happen in Afghanistan.

I was an army commando officer, which is like three times (army, commando, officer) better than you. Of course it is possible etc to say as you do, but in what way are ISAF losing the war, especially in the metrics of failed attacks by Taliban? Are the area controlled by Taliban increasing or falling (falling), is the country of Afghanistan getting richer or poorer (richer), is opium production up or down (down), etc.

The Americans talk about winning or losing in terms of success in achieving a specific desired situation, not in terms of getting overrun and wiped out. Shows how much you know about strategic calculations with tactical inputs.


>>>Your argument that the US forces have a favourable kill ratio of 100-1 (highly exaggerated) is irrelevant.

Only in your mind. If you care to access military white papers on Afghanistan, this kill ratio is highly credible. Only ISAF does not publish this anymore because it does not want to look like Vietnam habits.

>>>It doesn't matter how many of the enemy you kill if the public opinion in your country cannot hold fast in the face of the smaller casualties that you sustain.

Why not give up Kashmir then. How many have you killed and Paki piglets are still squeezing across the border. I would say the only problem here is Obama's will, he is a socialist empty suit whose only purpose is to cement right wing politics in America for another generation, just like Jimmy Carter did.



>>>100 dead is something the Taliban can bear; 8 dead is a big deal for the US public.

Not really. Tell me which organization can lose 14 out of 20 leaders, lose dozens to hundreds of men dead in every setpiece battle and claim to be soldiers blessed by god. The fact shows clearly that the fighters are now brainwashed jihadis from Pakistan who are led to believe the Taliban are winning and that ISAF are raping and torturing muslims.

The majority of the Afghan population is NOT on the Taliban side, do you think ISAF with 150K men can hold down a population 6 times that of Kashmir and 20 times Kashmir size if it is generally restive? How many troops does India have in tiny Kashmir again, 300 thousand?


>>The Centre of Gravity of the battles in Afghanistan lies amongst the US public back stateside!


No American president or party can withdraw from Afghanistan and survive the next election. This is the country that lost 50k in Vietnam, 3k on the Normandy beaches alone (3 times deaths in Afghanistan in 8 years), and 12k dead on one island of Okinawa.

As usual, you like the jihadis underestimate the determination and bloodlust of the first world American fighting man. He is every bit as resolute as you, and far better equipped and supported than your troops.

How many jihadi piglets have the American soldier killed in 8 years? Enough to give the world a breather for at least 1 generation, I reckon.

Manu said...

Ajai,

Another thought-provoking article.

It is hard to imagine US pulling out of Afghanistan altogether. There is general agreement in Washington that it was a mistake to leave Afghanistan to its fate back when USSR was 'defeated'.

What could happen though, especially if Obama doesn't agree to put more troops on the ground, is that it may withdraw its forces into the cities, leaving Taliban to reclaim the countryside.
They would hope to slowly train the Afghan army and for the latter to flush the Taliban out of the countryside.

Now, I personally believe that such a strategy would be a mistake. And given the outspoken comments of General McChrystal ( backed by most of the top officers of Pentagon), and the success of the surge strategy in Iraq, it would be very difficult for Obama to disregard the army advice for more troops. But if it did, and the American troops withdraw to the cities, what does that mean for India? I believe that is the more pertinent question to ask.

Most of India's development projects traverse the countryside. This means that India may have to significantly increase the size of ITBP detachments to safeguard its workers and equipment. It may also have to send in some mechanized infantry (I can hear Pakistan screaming already). Alternately, India may choose to take up only urban projects and concentrate on building schools, hospitals, libraries, etc.

Either way, India's involvement in Afghanistan will not end. It may only shift gears and direction.

Anonymous said...

In continuation to the US public support debate (Ajai Vs. Vincent), an irony:
One can surmise that Obama's heart lies in sustained engagement with a 'boots on the ground' strategy. However, with US public opinion increasingly sceptical of committing troops, he is having to rely increasingly on the Republican electorate which has always favored an aggressive strategy. Peter Galbraith's outburst does not help Obama at all. To that extent while 8 dead US soldiers might seem high today, 4 dead in 2 months time (given growing scepticism within the US electorate) might prove intolerable.
Also, keep in mind that attacks on US soldiers have increased steeply in the last year - hardly any indication that US+NATO are winning by any stretch of the imagination.
- humble farmer

Anonymous said...

please watch video at
http://edition.cnn.com/video/#

The video about Danger in Nuristan is very good one.
It here where 8 soldier died.
Hope u will get the answer.

krishna kumar . k said...

Afghanistan always interests many groups which are interested in capturing power in Afghanistan, the solution may lie in proposing to split Afghanistan into two or three different countries, if international community propose to divide Afghanistan then may be solution would come are at least it may unite the people, and i think solution lies in true international corporation and that is allowing Russian, Chinese and Indian army into Afghanistan to work along with NATO and American forces if present alliance is interested in permanent peace in the region.

krishna kumar . k said...

Afghanistan always interests many groups which are interested in capturing power in Afghanistan, the solution may lie in proposing to split Afghanistan into two or three different countries, if international community propose to divide Afghanistan then may be solution would come are at least it may unite the people, and i think solution lies in true international corporation and that is allowing Russian, Chinese and Indian army into Afghanistan to work along with NATO and American forces if present alliance is interested in permanent peace in the region.

P Mukherjee said...

Anonymous @06 October 2009 18:44

I am not sure what brand of weed you are currently patronising but it must be very potent stuff indeed to cause such wide spread delusion.

Firstly. Just what is it that gives the Pakistanis the belief that Afghanistan is their birth right and that they enjoy special privileges in Afghanistan which India cant claim?? Whether India has five consulates there or 500 is India's business and not Pakistan's. There is not an awful lot you can do about it despite your usual moaning and groaning.

Secondly. Are those consulates supporting anti-Pakistan elements? I surely hope like hell they are. As that is the only language Pakistan understands. It is time Pakistan got a taste of what it has been meting out to India for the last 60 years.

Stop minding about Kashmir and ensure justice and humanity in Baluchistan. While, despite its best efforts, Pakistan can achieve nothing in Kashmir, at the same time, Pakistan stands the very real threat of losing Baluchistan.

India may not have a proven H bomb capability but it has repeatedly proved its fission arsenal which are enough deterrent for Pakistan. This is the first time I heard any one say that super power status of a nation is linked to its H bomb capabilities.

What survival mode do you claim India is in? Maoists are a law and order issue created with the support of your Chinese friends. They are for the police to sort out. The day the civil police and the state governments make up their minds to resolve the issue instead of playing politics, the Maoists will be gone. And what exactly is happening in Bihar or Tamil Nadu?? You tell me??

Stop listening to the likes of Zaid Hamid and his crap on Hinduism-Zionism. You will be better informed.

Daanish said...

Ajay Ji why wast precious breath on an idiot like vincent. your argument is wonderfully structured and absolutely correct with regards to historical depth and the perceptions of the times.Afghanistan has always been too lawless and tribal for anyone to control effectively. The situation basically is that the golden opportunity of 2002-2003 was lost in which Afghanistan could have been built-up properly but given the kind of moral fiber of the current government that is unlikely. The root cause is that afghans have a loose national identity which has to veil albeit ineffectively the deep divisions that permeate the land. Anyone who can manipulate those divisions can play puppeteer of that country it is a question of just how effectively a power exploits its degree of influence.

Anonymous said...

The war in Afghanistan cannot be won till a clear line is drawn between the Military and Civilian leadership of Pakistan. US has to draw out a box in the sand and order the Pakistani Army to function within it. The Taliban is too important an ally to be put in harms way of NATO. The crafty devils that they are, Pakistan will not, in all likelihood sacrifice the "whole lot" in return of aid, aid and more aid. ISI poses the greatest threat to world peace and Pakistan takes pride in being the "Aamir" of the Muslim World. The responsibility of tomorrows woes in the subcontinent and the entire world will squarely rest on the shoulders of United States and EU for pandering to Pakistan and pussyfooting when it came to tackling homegrown Jihadis.
As far as an American exit goes, noway in the world are they going to pack their bags and leave. A resurgent Taliban armed will unleash more mayhem in the World than it did during its previous regime. Understandable that USA and NATO cannot stay here for ever, only time will tell. Aside, this is not Somalia where a dozen odd soldiers KIA will prompt the President to order an immediate withdrawal. Remember, the Americans wouldn't be here if there was no 9/11.

Vincent the Great said...

The debate has certainly improved in recent times, both in original posts by Ajai and the responses. However I would like to discuss this comment:

>>The war in Afghanistan cannot be won till a clear line is drawn between the Military and Civilian leadership of Pakistan. US has to draw out a box in the sand and order the Pakistani Army to function within it.

the problem is that many Indians believe that the Paki military is a ripe fruit ready to be plucked by the US and therefore any miscreant action supported by the Paki military must be inferentially blamed on America. nothing is further from the truth. the fact is that the Paki military is politically savvy and has a good handle that resistance to US influence in Pakistan is very high, thanks to islamic brainwashing, a subcontinental arrogance also found in Hindu Indians, and the attitude that somehow somewhere someone is to blame for their over the top and violent reactions. to deal with such a military, incremental influence must be pursued. Just because you give them weapons don't mean that you can immediately wield effective influence over them. you do it over time and hope that things fall in place to aid you (taliban backlash in pakistan, natural propensity of muslims to slaughter each other). Just look at how far america influence in pakistan has come over 8 years - from a rogue, nuclear weapons selling, chinese dominated, mujahideen culture to a semblance of pragmatic sensibility, western reapproachment, doctrinal change into counterinsurgency and now fighting and killing their own pashtuns, whom they once regarded as their auxiliary footsoldiers.

>>The Taliban is too important an ally to be put in harms way of NATO. The crafty devils that they are, Pakistan will not, in all likelihood sacrifice the "whole lot" in return of aid, aid and more aid.

As in all things, a tipping point will most likely be reached. This is for example in the case of drone attacks, where the ubiquity of it plus the successful take out of Baitullah Mehsud even means that the rabid Pakistani press, who out tabloid the best in the world out there with their frantic conspiracy theories in Urdu, are mostly keeping quiet. If South Waziristan is embroiled in a heavy battle (records of some 20k jihadists there), American presence might actually be tolerated to some degree, and the slaughter will start.

What happens now is that by engendering a conflict between Punjabis and Pushtuns, which was coming anyway thanks to the violent islamism in its society, america has transformed the whole of pakistan into a giant kashmir, needing troops and heavy policing action throughout the country. Its like a water balloon used to squirt on everybody, now someone has plugged the exit and squeezed it where it hurts, and the 'strategic space' has now begun to bulge out in other areas.


>>>ISI poses the greatest threat to world peace and Pakistan takes pride in being the "Aamir" of the Muslim World.

Absolutely. That's why making Pakistan do America's bidding takes time and incremental steps. The problem is not what America is doing, but what India is failing to do in Afghanistan.

>>The responsibility of tomorrows woes in the subcontinent and the entire world will squarely rest on the shoulders of United States and EU for pandering to Pakistan and pussyfooting when it came to tackling homegrown Jihadis.


More EU than USA. There will be a civil war in Europe before 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Vincent Duh Great,

"No American president or party can withdraw from Afghanistan and survive the next election."

I don't think the above statement is true.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Afghanistan/afghanistan-war-faces-battle-congress-democrats-pushing-withdrawal/story?id=8547211

American policy makers have grown soft. Who do you think will blink first in a Cuban style nuclear crisis between US and China?

Broadsword said...

Wow, Vincent, which army were you a commando officer in? Why did you leave??

Dantzig said...

Hii Ajai..
More to your story,,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/opinion/07kaplan.html

Anonymous said...

Ajay-ji,

I have seen you on NDTV today ....
wow !! what a change ....
Please update your photo here as well ....

Anonymous said...

Ajay-ji,

I have seen you on NDTV today ....
wow !! what a change ....
Please update your photo here as well ....

Anonymous said...

No one has ever won a war by paying the actual adversary and deluding oneself that he is not an adversary. That's what US is doing right now.
As long as they respect the "sovereignity" of land of the pure, US is not getting anything worthwhile for sure.

chandrabhan said...

Col Shukla,
I am somehow skeptical of the view you have published regarding good taliban & Bad taliban( In a way toeing US line). I favor a support based on Ethnic Lines for Pashtoons - Durranis Vs Ghilzais. We must hedge our bets with Durranis.
They are Royal blood and they have legitimacy to rule for majority of Afghans. One more important thing is that they have been rentiers, can be bought over by money , share in power etc. We must use the fault lines in Pashtoons along with groups of Uzbeks and hazaras sided with Durranis.

It suits us to keep the Americans bogged down in Afghanistan.

Last but not the least, I had not read this article while posted on the Afghanistan strategy earlier.

chandrabhan said...

Just to mention, Large proportion of newly trained & formed Afghan national army officer corp is of erstwhile northern alliance ethinicity . We must continue to cultivate this group, by way of training courses and also taking up cadets from Afghanistan in NDA/IMA also.
The best foreign policy initiatives that our wonks have taken have been in afghanistan and we should not loose the initiative.I have not read much on Fahim but he seems to be busy making money through Drugs & other stuff. Can we cultivate Dostum? Overall we should not dump Karzai.

Use bollywood, Ekta kapoor serials, Kabuliwala, Khuda gawah or anything that comes to mind for the soft power.

For hard power (near long term), can't we put couple of divisions (Sikh & Jat) in Central/North Afghanistan (keeping the sensibilities of TSP in mind), providing security. Off course for that to happen we must have

1. American guarantee that they will keep the Chinese at bay

2. We must get a land access to supply( Through our northern areas under pak occupation) around 100 Km wide corridor. After all we are helping US.

3. We must raise another 3/4 divisions quickly, Get the artillery quick along with induction of Abhay or Stryker(whatever can be done quick).
Sorry if it looks like a rant but we are entering very interesting times and we must seize the opportunity. Negotiate with America hard and seize the initiative. In case we are helping them to get out.

This is Indic land and Only Bharat can provide stability here. We need imagination, foresight and off course courage to take hard decisions. we can really sandwich the Talibs and use them for our advantage. Let NATO and us troops manage the south of Afghanistan along the Durand line.

Our long term objective should be erasing the Durand line.