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  Asia-Pacific
Possible Consequences of America's New Afghan Policy
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Taliban forces in Afghanistan

Just after the 9/11, President George Bush attacked Afghanistan and thrown the Taliban out of power. At that time, the Taliban were apparently permanently "crushed" by the NATO forces along with the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan. But their roots were so deep and they were so determined that they again started raising their heads within two years of their overthrow. While they continued their struggle against the US led NATO forces, the victimisation of the Afghan civilians during the occupation also gave them strength. The relations of the Taliban chief Mullah Umar with the Al Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden are well known. Based on this relationship, the Taliban continuously got the support of the Al Qaeda.

The Taliban have recovered to such a great extent that the US and the NATO are concerned about the future of their forces in Afghanistan. Even at the time of the US occupation of Afghanistan, there were fears of Afghanistan becoming another Vietnam for the US. Today it seems that such fears are becoming true. Even though there might be a huge difference between the political and strategic conditions of Vietnam and Afghanistan, the consequences are appearing to be similar. The way the US had to call back its forces from Vietnam, similarly it is considering a quick withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

After 9/11, though the world came with America out of sympathy, but the decisions taken by the Bush administration at that time were ill conceived and lacked political and diplomatic vision, the consequences of which we are experiencing today. Now, even most of the allies of the US are no more supportive of the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. In Britain, the situation is different. The government is compelled to tell the citizens in what circumstances, the British forces were sent to Afghanistan. One thing should be clear here that neither the US allies are facing any problem in showing their military powers nor they are lacking military equipment. They don’t have any shame or accountability for the deaths of innocent civilians. The only problem faced by them is the repeated extension of the operation in Afghanistan and killings of American, British and other NATO soldiers by the Taliban from time to time. Though the US doesn’t care about the number of innocent deaths in its deadly attacks, but the American people take seriously the killing of every single US soldier. Every killing of a soldier raises the question- why they are in Afghanistan and Iraq? When will they return?

Certainly, today’s USA is different from the US of George Bush. While the Bush led US used to setup new military bases, illegal detention centres, unnecessarily attack or occupy any country, on the other hand Obama led USA is apparently following the policy of ‘Live and Let Live’. Just after holding the office, Barack Obama ordered the quick closure of the notorious Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba. During the reign of Bush, the entire world was fearful about the concept of ‘Clash of Civilisations’ between the Christianity and the Islam. But when Mr. Obama addressed the Muslim world in Cairo by saying- Assalaam Walaikum, it ended all the misconceptions of Bush era.

Now Obama is trying to make an easy and early exit from Afghanistan. The objective of the US of eradicating terrorism from Afghanistan has met little success. Now, it is working on a new strategy to achieve this objective. The plan is to divide the Taliban into ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’ and bring the Good Taliban in ‘democratic’ process of Afghanistan, and withdraw after handing over Afghanistan to the people. There is possibility that a large number of Taliban fighters may leave violence and join the political mainstream. But would this plan supported by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai be able to meet its objective in the fullest.

Undoubtedly, military action, violence and disturbance nowhere stand in front of human values. But when confrontation is with such people for whom solution to every problem is violence, torture, fundamentalism and extremism ideology, and such people should be dealt with an iron hand. If this policy of identifying and bringing into mainstream the ‘Good Taliban’ succeeds, it would really be a relief for both Afghanistan and the US. And if this strategy also gets failed like the earlier ones, then there is no doubt the Taliban would again be able to strengthen their hold in Afghanistan.

While America needs to be alert about its new policy, India too needs to have an independent, clear and optimistic outlook of it because whatever happens in Afghanistan has an effect on India.



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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