Maybe We’re Okay After All

by Joshua Foust on 3/4/2011 · 10 comments

Myra MacDonald, reminding us to keep it real over Raymond Davis:

In a speech last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a step closer towards meeting Pakistan’s own call for a political settlement in Afghanistan through negotiations with Taliban insurgents which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. It was time, she said, “to get serious about a responsible reconciliation process, led by Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy and strong U.S.-backing.” …

Western officials also say they believe Pakistan, which once looked to use Afghanistan for “strategic depth” against India, has scaled back its ambitions into seeing stability there as an end itself. Pakistani officials have been saying for a while they would settle for a “stable” rather than “friendly” Afghanistan.

At a senior level, Pakistan and the United States have also built good working relations among their top officials — U.S. commanders met Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Oman last week in the latest of a series of meetings to build understanding between the two militaries.


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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Tim Haggerty March 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Really? Does not seem to ring true. Meeting in Oman more about an Egypt style revolt management?

UmairJ March 5, 2011 at 3:38 am

I dont know why, but I keep thinking of Lebanon, with the Taliban in a coalition government similar to Hezbollah…

If its actually true that Pakistan would settle for a ‘stable’ Afghanistan, then the insurgency in the North must really be getting to them. I doubt it though since Pakistan will want more insurances over India.

Beenie March 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

Most ominous in this SVR report, though, is Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents” they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to reestablish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse.

Not known to the masses of the American people is that the $20 Trillion they have spent on their longest wars in history has bankrupted their Nation to such an extent that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called yesterday for replacement of the US Dollar as the World’s reserve currency.

anan March 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Beenie, please take your meds. Everyone wants a strong and successful Pakistan. Everyone wants a strong Pakistani economy and civil society. Pakistan doesn’t have any real external enemies except for extremists in the Gulf who have a global agenda.

The largest cause of Pakistan’s problems are what many Pakistanis call the “deep state.” These are Pakistani traitors who are supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani people and against the world as a whole.

America cannot lead negotiations with the Taliban because the ANA and Afghans [not to mention Russians, Indians, Iranians] don’t trust America enough to allow it. There is too much fear that America will try to hand Afghanistan over to the extremist faction of the ISI. Any negotiations need to be lead by President Karzai . . . as has been the case since 2001.

Don Bacon, what is your sense of Marjah right now? The new Marjah election and the 180 girl student school that just opened up? Several new articles quote Marjah residents saying that they are cooperating with ISAF to fight Pakistan [by which I think they mean extremist parts of the ISI rather than the Pakistani people.]

Looks like central Helmand valley will transition from the Brits to Sherin Shah, 3-215 commanding, soon.

It has been some time since the QST has had the courage to fight 3-215. Rather they seem to have pulled back to Northern Helmand, Pakistan, Kandahar and Uruzgan. Will they test 3-215? Or will they search for easier enemy to fight?

Don Bacon March 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Jeez, how would I know about Marjah. Mr. Foust has said recently: “It’s become increasingly difficult to really figure out how things are going in the area.” And if he doesn’t know, . . .

So instead I’ll direct you to a couple things I wrote on “Why We Fight” and ask for your (or anyone’s) thoughts.

Dishonesty? March 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Marjah election=Progres

For Marjah, the DCC election was the district’s second election under Afghanistan’s new government. In September, Marjah citizens made history by participating in the Helmand province parliamentary election for the first time.

Results from the DCC elections were slightly better than the parliamentary election. Fewer than 1,000 citizens voted in September, whereas this month’s election tallied more than 1,100 votes. The election-day turnout of registered voters also increased; 75 percent of registered voters participated March 1, up from 72 percent in September.

Don Bacon March 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

There’s no need to negotiate because military “success is in the very near future.”
Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, March 03, 2011:
“As I wrap up a year here [Afghanistan], I can report back to you that I believe that the progress has been steady, has been consistent. And if we remain on the glide path that General Petraeus has laid down for us, I believe that the success is in the very near future.”

Dishonesty? March 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

The test will come in the spring, when the weather warms and foliage returns to give the Taliban cover.

In January 2011, there were 1,344 bombs discovered or detonated in Afghanistan. That’s essentially the same number of explosives as there were seven months earlier, in June of 2010. Yet wintertime is ordinarily when there’s a lull in Afghanistan’s fighting. (For perspective, in all of 2005, there were only 465 homemade insurgent bombs discovered country-wide.)
The Marines have received reports of new insurgents coming into Sangin, and several new white Taliban flags have gone up in the district. The level of small-arms fire has also picked up.

“They are right now in their reconnaissance phase and are waiting for an opportunity to kick off their attacks,” said Morris, 40, the battalion commander from Oceanside, California.

Montreal SEO March 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm

The russians had it right, get the beep out of there because your fighting a losing battle. They are people who have been in war for centuries and will continue to be in war after the states is gone.

Don Bacon March 7, 2011 at 12:13 am

Gates just landed, and Karzai is real pissed over those nine dead boys, as he should be.

Reminds me of Los Niños Héroes — six teenagers at a Mexican military academy that jumped to their deaths in 1847 rather than be captured by invading gringos. They’re still celebrated all over Mexico, by monuments, street names, etc. The US better not even think of sending troops to Mexico.

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