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General Petraeus’ premise
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08 Jul 2010
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On formally taking over the command in Kabul over the weekend, General David Petraeus showed a tremendous skill in the choice of words. Being a very learned man, he appears to be doing much better than George Bush, who remained a Texan cowboy even in the White House.

In addition, General Petraeus can boast of how he exploited the Shia-Sunni divide to contrive a breather in the killings in Iraq at a crucial stage. What goes on now appears to be nobody’s business as only the Iraqis are suffering. In the interest of world peace, one would wish him Godspeed in handling his new mission directly. However, what he said last Sunday to the ISAF troops appears to be no better than old wine in new bottles.

The war has, so far, been conducted on the model of Iraq. Perhaps, as the number of the US casualties is nominal, the local history, traditions and ground realities appear to be put on the backburner.

Though one cannot ignore attempts by ex-Generals David D. Mckiernan and Stanley McChrystal to try and woo the local communities whose near and dear ones were killed in the US/NATO operations – by way of collateral damage – through offers of sympathy but no formal apology for the wrong done.

General Petraeus defined the current war as a “contest of wills.” As a commander he felt obliged to raise the depressed morale of the soldiers by the use of language which remains futuristic. He claimed; “Things will get worse before they improve on the ground.” However, he asserted: “We are in it to win.”

Of late, “win” has been missing in the statements of most of the US top hierarchy. This approach was dictated by the worsening situation in Afghanistan for the foreign troops.

June proved to be the deadliest mon-th wherein 102 soldiers lost their lives, besides a bigger number of non-fatal victims. This by itself demoralised the troops generally but the McCh-rystal drams only aggravated their anger and anguish. Quite naturally the situation remains enigmatic for the US troops. This is more so as Karzai is trying his peace jirga, while the US command predicts a horrible fight. By becoming the longest war the US has fought, it is in a real Catch-22.

Despite the brilliance of President Barack Obama, the prospects are rather daunting for the foreign troops for the following reasons. First, as the war is, almost, nine-year old, the Afghan public opinion is losing faith in the US which automatically helps the Taliban.

Second, the Taliban are fighting as the aggrieved party and their claim is helped by the presence of the foreign troops on their soil. Throughout the known history, the Afghans have always resented any kind of military presence of foreign origin in their country. Unfortunately, scepticism is growing about the US policy which is, apparently supported by the ‘on-again, off-again’ NATO presence.

Third, the initial attack by the US in October 2001, in collaboration with Russia and the northern warlords, is known to have led to many atrocities on the part of the invading troops. This may have been caused by malice or arrogance of power. As per their traditions, the Afghans never forget the killings of their own people on whatever pretext it may be undertaken; more so by a foreign power.

Fourth, such criminal misuse of power remained a regular feature of the tactics adopted by the occupation forces, while the neocons ruled the US. However, it continues now at a much lower rate. All the aggrieved are sworn to take revenge for the killing of their kith and kin.

This provides a regular supply line to the Taliban. General McChyrstal, as commander of ISAF, started to express sympathy with such victims and also started distributing money among the aggrieved parties. Hence, there was some lull in the killing of foreign troops till May this year.

In the light of objective realities, it appears that a military victory is a far cry. This is more so as the Afghans have no security, no employment and very poor access to justice. All this gets further dogged by corruption not only among the local people but now manifestly among foreigners which erodes USA’s credibility and image.

The status quo is devastating for the Afghans and the worst thing is the dismal prospects for the future as the public opinion turns against Obama’s war. As more civilians perish under the US control or lack of it, it will incur more and more hostility.

Unfortunately, the US wasted about eight years, while defining its role in the reconstruction of a country which has been destroyed by its so-called war on terror and, by proxy, the anti-Soviet war. As it has woefully lagged behind in that vital sector of its responsibility, thin-gs appear to be rather dismal for all concerned.

A successful COIN operation is not possible, while the Afghans long for even the basic needs and also as all money ‘spent’ in their country goes to the US troops practically. Only a very small percentage goes to the benefit of the terribly impoverished population. A certain known website estimates that the US is spending one million dollars on every living soldier per year.

If this was known to an average Afghan, the situation could become awfully explosive to the delight of the Taliban. However, misery among the local people is proliferating fast rendering them generally hostile to the foreign troops which helps the Taliban directly and indirectly.

General Petraeus is a scholarly soldier. Surely, he can appreciate what he is up against but he is using his talent with the language to bide his time.

The US politics is also causing tremendous confusion at home and abroad. President Obama had the bad luck of taking over a quagmire from Bush, who probably never understood anything about Afghanistan. Obama certainly has to make sure that he can salvage his country in distress.

He has to woo the Afghan people with the help of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia for known reasons.

Meanwhile, India’s claims and ambitions vis-à-vis the war-torn country are yet to be tested. An average Afghan, historically, never rated the Indians high!

The writer is a former secretary interior.

Afghanistan: never again
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10 Jun 2010
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The subject of the article is part of a quote from the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov. Attending a seminar in Singapore on regional security, he confided that his government was rendering useful help to the ISAF and the US in Afghanistan, including intelligence input. During the question-answer session with the delegates in the Shangri-La Dialogue, it was insinuated if such help could include committing Russian forces to join other allies against the Taliban. The Russian Deputy PM promptly retorted: “Never again a Russian soldier would enter Afghanistan.”

I think you understand why. It’s like asking the US whether they would send troops in Vietnam. Emphasising his point he followed it up by stating: “It is something like that. It is totally impossible.” In between he also conceded that he could not disclose the scope and pace of cooperation between his country and the US on Afghanistan to the media. However, he had had serious discussions with his counterparts at this forum like the others.
Considering the quagmire effect which the US is experiencing in Afghanistan, such conferences or dialogues are regular exercises all over the world wherein politicians and intellectuals from the ISAF generally project their mental prowess with analysis relying on media coverage and a reference to history. More often than not, most of them have not even a nodding acquaintance with Afghanistan and FATA, and their culture. Thus, while such exercises are scholastically and for projection purposes in the media, they yield precious little information about the ground realities and the sufferings of the people either due to atrocious use of force, ‘collateral damage’ or ‘friendly fire’. Like all foreign forces, the US often takes a long time to concede that it has committed an atrocity.

Perhaps, accepting responsibility for a miscalculation or overreaction to an assumed threat induces such self-defence mechanism. No wonder arguments are always found to confound any crisis which may have been crime in some other situation wherein no US personnel is involved. In nine years, no US trooper has been held accountable. Hence, war communications are utilised to whittle down what would be a war crime for killing innocent civilians, per se. The only ones who paid for their sin were the Germans whose costly mistake in Kunduz made the then Defence Minister to resign.?

Despite all the media hype and help from the former enemy, Russia, which finds a way to avenge the loss of the Soviet Empire from the principal enemy – the Pashtuns, a US policy-shift appears to be on in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton had recently claimed that the US was fully braced for interacting with a multipolar world. The way Hamid Karzai went ahead with his peace jirga, despite the US silence, indicates that he had acquiesced to his mentors in Washington DC. It touted the old charm offensive propagated by the Afghan President for quite some time by way of befriending the “alienated brothers.”
In this context, Karzai has already ordered the release of all those innocent people, who were imprisoned at Bagram on the US diktat. This will set into motion a process whereby some of the sins of the Ancient Regime would get whitewashed, which may promote some understanding. While it is yellow phosphorus for the neocons, being freely used by the Israeli pilots in bombing civilians in Palestine – thanks to the US support, it remains a very efficient tactic as per the Afghan culture. As per the tradition, if death is caused by an aggressive act, the surviving male members of the departed soul must take revenge by killing the murderer or some of his close relative.
However, if the aggressor repents publicly and offers to sue for peace or settlement, then a jirga gets convened. The binding provision is a public apology for the sin or offence of murder, followed by a settlement in terms of blood money. As for the timeline for taking revenge even a century is not considered enough; it can get prolonged if so warranted by the circumstances. It is because of such a tradition and mindset that the Taliban believe that the US would have to withdraw or come to terms to end the “occupation” as time is on their side. Something that is almost impossible to understand for an American ‘good guy’ just as it was for the last US president, who was a Texan and who had not even seen London or Paris before he was hustled into the White House by special interests. Now it is very easy to see what his legacy is and how the US is paying for its electoral follies due to the ignorance or disregard for the world.

Accordingly, Richard Holbr-ooke admits that the US, with all its fire power and ‘misuse’ of air force, cannot score a conventional win in Afghanistan. Attending an international conference in Madrid on non-military ways to end the war in Afghanistan, he went on to say: “Let me be clear on one thing, everybody understands that this war will not end in a clear-cut military victory.” What a sea change from the arrogance in the bragging of Dick Cheney, who may suffer from another heart attack for what he did to the US by misguiding a charlatan President to promote vested interests. This endorses openly the policy being pursued by President Karzai with the backing from the Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. A follow-up also took place in Istanbul as the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan met to give a boost to Karzai’s project.

Unfortunately, the Taliban treated the peace jirga as a ploy. So far this has been their consistent stand. Their belligerence also got reflected in the violence which killed five NATO troops and by the lobbing of missiles at the peace jirga during last week. The IEDs are proving to be a dangerous nuisance for the foreign troops, despite their incomparably superior technology.
The US will have to proclaim openly that it is suing for peace with the Taliban, and word it the way it is politically expedient for it. As time goes by, the hole dug by the neocons will get deeper. Pakistan’s help would be invaluable, despite the spectre of Indian conflict of interest with the new policy.

The writer is a former Secretary Interior.

Nine wasted years
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15 Apr 2010
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The neocons prompted President George W Bush to attack Afghanistan on the basis of a suspicion that it had helped Al-Qaeda in the 9/11 tragic venture. Although the Taliban regime had asked for a proof, yet as a coalition of Russia and Central Asian allies and northern warlords had been organised, the US went ahead with massive attacks using the most atrocious technologies. A certain source believes that the US lobbed bunker busters and daisy-cutters on an enemy which had no air force.

True to their history, the Pashtuns fought valiantly but hellish asymmetry of power between the parties, proved the decisive factor governing the final outcome. Finding it difficult to wage a long war, they went to the hills. The discomfiture of the Taliban was also helped by the fact that many Afghans felt oppressed by their extremist version of Islam. So to start with many people felt considerably relieved at the change. But some were even duped by the long-winded promises made by Bush about rebuilding the conquered country with development and democracy. In the same vein, the Bonn Conference made fantastic commitments to the Afghans that later ended up as “star gazing from a gutter,” as Oscar Wilde would have said.

The US and its abettors committed many atrocities on the prisoners of war. The Afghans believed that the northern warlords took revenge for their sufferings at the hands of the Pashtuns, during the Soviet occupation war, while the others avenged wrongs done to them by the Taliban post-1996.
In addition, the Afghans were indiscriminately seized and transferred to Gitmo as ‘enemy combatants’, which remains a conundrum for the US courts till this day. However, as fear haunted the Americans, they were prepared to believe whatever was fed to them. No wonder, Bush himself claimed to be a “war president” after launching a “war on terror”. Indeed, it was this mindset that made the citizens accept the bogey of weapons of mass destruction a la Iraq, which was worked out by Silvio Berlusconi, the corrupt Italian prime minister, and Tony Blair to please Bush. Even an honourable man like Colin Powell became a party to such fraud which he regrets now.

As 9/11 was never properly investigated, it remains a conundrum at home and the world over. The 9/11 commission only tried a cover up and it proved to be an exercise in futility. Many intellectuals, as well as affected groups, in the US started to enquire into the ‘why’ and ‘wherefore’ of the tragedy. While Noam Chomsky defined it as being a manifestation of USA’s empire complex, an adaptation of the neocons wild dreams of world domination by indiscriminate use of power, others like Cindy Sheehan sprang into action after personal suffering. In the latter category, are others whose relations perished in the collapse of Twin Towers. Groups representing pilots and engineers, who directly or indirectly became bereaved, as a consequence thereof, also have raked up issues which the administration had no clues about. Many websites have been developed to project that 9/11 was a smoke screen for a dangerous ulterior motive of the neocons, who were all closely associated with the oil lobby including Bush and Dick Cheney. One great US marine and now chief editor of Veter-ans.org, Gordon Duff, considers it to be the outcome of a conspiracy planned and executed with Israel’s complicity with Bush, Cheney and the oil lobby.

As the Americans wake up to the serious reverses in Afghanistan, while even Iraq is becoming a trouble spot, despite the mounting US forces deployed therein, the situation is becoming still more intriguing. In Eurasia, it is believed that 9/11 was staged by the last administration to conquer Afghanistan and to be able to control the vast energy resources of the Central Asian Republics and the Caspian Sea.

Besides attacking Afghanistan, the US also established multiple military bases in the area in the aftermath of 9/11. The Taliban also see the attack in October 2001 as having been funded by the oil lobby after the UNOCAL failed to get a contract from their regime in Kabul. It is now established that the administration, and even Bush himself, kept on trying to persuade the Taliban to oblige the oil giant. In August 2001, Bush is believed to have threatened the Taliban with total destruction, if his request was disregarded. Hence, the 9/11 and its aftermath in Afghanistan.

Disgust with the neocons destroyed Republican goodwill at home. The people were fed up with the spiral of fear being exploited on all important occasions; more so during Bush’s contest for a second-term. Though he won again, yet that degraded his country’s credibility all over the world. While he maintained an uneasy occupation of Iraq after, allegedly, pilfering oil from the country amounting to billions of dollars in cahoots with the Israeli government, the Taliban re-emerged in a very threatening style in 2006. This was due to the disillusionment of the Afghans with the status quo, which tended to be corrupt, insecure and incapable of providing some governance. The UN has protested that a lot of corruption is patronised by the foreign forces. The warlords, whom the US and Karzai are obliged to keep in good humour, defy all attempts at law enforcement across the board.

Moreover, the northern warlords started to massively cultivate opium to make a quick buck through heroine trade whose main markets remain the US, Europe and Russia. Once the ball was set rolling, the Pashtuns also chipped in under the protection of the Taliban for such operations. President Obama has been generally following the discredited policies of his bizarre predecessor. No wonder he is digging more holes, which would multiply threats to the US forces. While his top general in Kabul has been trying to manipulate matters diligently, he was let down by the mistakes or friendly-fire syndrome of his troops. This may be due to the fear inspired by the ground realities.
As a final word, in nine years the Americans have not understood the colossal enmities that get provoked by the killing of innocent civilians. Kandhar saw a crowd chant “death to America, death to Karzai, death to this government,” on Monday after the NATO troops killed many civilians. The Afghans believe in revenge and they can wait for their chance. After Kyrgyzstan, the US better wake up!

The writer is a former interior secretary.

Karzai’s snap
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08 Apr 2010
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The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in recent past, tried to change his tone which disturbed his mentors in the US. As expected, it was considered by the incumbent America administration as “troubling” and “preposterous” (AFP). Further, President Barack Obama, during his latest secret visit to Kabul, asked Karzai to control corruption so that good governance gets going to woo the local people to join in their peacemaking efforts with the ‘good’ Taliban. However, the media believes that Karzai’s attempt to turn into an ‘Afghan’ from a Vichy was prompted by the inherent conflict of interest. The Afghan president blamed the ‘foreign fraud’ for creating the trust deficit and stressed that corruption was being patronised by the foreign forces.
Prima facie, both the points appear to be relevant. As the media tend to be dominated by the US forces, truth gets smeared for the end-users. Naturally, the Taliban titter cannot generally reach the US citizens. However, at home they are scoring wins, despite the counter claims by the US and the no-holds-barred corruption practised by the private contractors, who cheat the US taxpayers.

In this context, many studies that have been conducted in the US hold the neocons responsible for the ascendancy of the Taliban over such a massive foreign force, which does not hesitate to use air power brutally on innocent people. History reveals that the Taliban remained down in the dumps till 2005. This was so because the US was unsuccessful in initiating the development programmes in Afghanistan, which it had promised during the Bonn Conference in 2002. Thus, the US failed to win the local population’s goodwill.

Feeling betrayed and under threat of famine, they turned towards the Taliban. It is no joke that a small force, as per their tradition, kept attacking the foreign troops despite vicious asymmetry of power. One may disagree with their extremist interpretation of Islam, but the people generally in Afghanistan are conscious of their grit and commitment. Gordon Duff, an eminent US veteran, in his recent article affirms: “When the Taliban were the nujahideen, they were our friends. Did they become enemies because bin Laden lived there or because they ended all opium production? I think our Marjeh operation answers that one pretty well.”

Besides this, despite having suffered grievous loss of life and property Pakistanis generally would not like the US to suffer another Vietnam. However, President Obama will have to relinquish the Bush mantra, believed here to be the outcome more of ignorance and links to the oil lobby than the US interest, and save his country’s image. History and experience of the region suggest that he should focus more on the following aspects in right earnest, despite the fatal control of the American politics by vicious lobbies and special interest groups; more so after the insulting attitude of the rightwing Jews.

First, Obama should concentrate on diplomacy and not depend entirely on make-believe operations being conducted by his soldiers. As the wounds inflicted by various commanders fester, more people are joining the Taliban for revenge which sells in Afghanistan readily. A famous Pashto proverb pleads: “When your son or brother has been murdered, who then has tied your hands?” In fact, the victims include any member of the family. Traditions lay down no timeline for revenge which can transcend a century unless a public apology is offered by the aggressor, followed by a settlement by the jirga. Consequently, the bribes offered by the US contractors can buy a reprieve, but it is not a solution since the Afghans always look at the foreign forces with suspicion and distrust. As the clock is ticking, only a distortion of historic proportions can make the Taliban ‘seem’ to be ‘losing’, which Robert Gates, the US Secretary Defence, claims to be looking for.

Second, propaganda for home front, apart the Taliban, appears upbeat. Perhaps, this is due to the emerging realities. As money is being distributed by the US army to ingratiate the local people, they understand the new US ‘strategy’. For over eight years their dead were being mistreated by the occupation forces. However at the moment under General Stanley McChrystal’s new order, both the dead and injured are shown some consideration, apparently, thanks to the turning tide of ‘blood money’ that is peanuts as compared with the payments made when a foreign soldier dies.
Indeed, this is also creating resentment which goes against the US forces. In Afghan tradition, the killer has to publicly apologise for his crime. No US officer appears to be prepared to do that. So the stalemate persists despite the apparent ‘cold peace’. Thus, hoping to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the civilian populace in this way and then claim victory in Afghanistan. In addition, the US also carries the baggage of those who died in the first eight years, and were treated as ‘collateral damage’ and eventually forgotten. Nevertheless, the Taliban treat the aggrieved people with sympathy. No wonder their ranks keep on swelling when such people join them frequently. This appears to be the major lifeline for the Taliban, besides those who are induced by the jihad against the occupation forces. A study by the Naval Postgraduate School in 2008 asserts: “Loss of civilian lives associated with military strikes has played into the hands of the Taliban, in turn boosting their legitimacy and image while lowering US credibility.”
What happened last week will add phosphorus, which Human Rights Watch holds the US to have frequently used in Afghanistan, in order to create the mess.

Third, scepticism is fast developing in this area about the 9/11 tradegy. Even an average Afghan would tell you that it was done by the oil lobby in collaboration with the yahudis to control Afghanistan so that the natural resources of the region could be exploited and sold through a cheap pipeline. As is widely acknowledged in the US, the 9/11 commission tried to provide only a cover-up which is now being actively disputed by intellectuals, as well as relatives, of the victims.

After nine years of the atrocious use of ‘shock and awe’ and resultant destruction, the Afghans still challenge the neocon accusations tenaciously. It will help the US if some new evidence is made public to disprove the growing feeling of the alleged fraud by the neocons a la 9/11 tragedy. The audacity of Cheney on the media is not going to help the foreign troops who face all the dangers.

Last but not the least, the attacks in Peshawar/Dir, last Monday, were dreadful. As the US expressed “great concern” at an assault on their consulate, the Taliban called it “a revenge for the drone attacks.” In Dir many ANP members were killed, who were holding a public meeting in a government rest house, which reflected poor governance of the incumbent provincial government. Therefore, such a disregard for the clash of interest promotes corruption making the government, as well as the country, a loser against present challenges!

The writer is former interior secretary.

Karzai’s snap
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08 Apr 2010
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The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in recent past, tried to change his tone which disturbed his mentors in the US. As expected, it was considered by the incumbent America administration as “troubling” and “preposterous” (AFP). Further, President Barack Obama, during his latest secret visit to Kabul, asked Karzai to control corruption so that good governance gets going to woo the local people to join in their peacemaking efforts with the ‘good’ Taliban. However, the media believes that Karzai’s attempt to turn into an ‘Afghan’ from a Vichy was prompted by the inherent conflict of interest. The Afghan president blamed the ‘foreign fraud’ for creating the trust deficit and stressed that corruption was being patronised by the foreign forces.
Prima facie, both the points appear to be relevant. As the media tend to be dominated by the US forces, truth gets smeared for the end-users. Naturally, the Taliban titter cannot generally reach the US citizens. However, at home they are scoring wins, despite the counter claims by the US and the no-holds-barred corruption practised by the private contractors, who cheat the US taxpayers.

In this context, many studies that have been conducted in the US hold the neocons responsible for the ascendancy of the Taliban over such a massive foreign force, which does not hesitate to use air power brutally on innocent people. History reveals that the Taliban remained down in the dumps till 2005. This was so because the US was unsuccessful in initiating the development programmes in Afghanistan, which it had promised during the Bonn Conference in 2002. Thus, the US failed to win the local population’s goodwill.

Feeling betrayed and under threat of famine, they turned towards the Taliban. It is no joke that a small force, as per their tradition, kept attacking the foreign troops despite vicious asymmetry of power. One may disagree with their extremist interpretation of Islam, but the people generally in Afghanistan are conscious of their grit and commitment. Gordon Duff, an eminent US veteran, in his recent article affirms: “When the Taliban were the nujahideen, they were our friends. Did they become enemies because bin Laden lived there or because they ended all opium production? I think our Marjeh operation answers that one pretty well.”

Besides this, despite having suffered grievous loss of life and property Pakistanis generally would not like the US to suffer another Vietnam. However, President Obama will have to relinquish the Bush mantra, believed here to be the outcome more of ignorance and links to the oil lobby than the US interest, and save his country’s image. History and experience of the region suggest that he should focus more on the following aspects in right earnest, despite the fatal control of the American politics by vicious lobbies and special interest groups; more so after the insulting attitude of the rightwing Jews.

First, Obama should concentrate on diplomacy and not depend entirely on make-believe operations being conducted by his soldiers. As the wounds inflicted by various commanders fester, more people are joining the Taliban for revenge which sells in Afghanistan readily. A famous Pashto proverb pleads: “When your son or brother has been murdered, who then has tied your hands?” In fact, the victims include any member of the family. Traditions lay down no timeline for revenge which can transcend a century unless a public apology is offered by the aggressor, followed by a settlement by the jirga. Consequently, the bribes offered by the US contractors can buy a reprieve, but it is not a solution since the Afghans always look at the foreign forces with suspicion and distrust. As the clock is ticking, only a distortion of historic proportions can make the Taliban ‘seem’ to be ‘losing’, which Robert Gates, the US Secretary Defence, claims to be looking for.

Second, propaganda for home front, apart the Taliban, appears upbeat. Perhaps, this is due to the emerging realities. As money is being distributed by the US army to ingratiate the local people, they understand the new US ‘strategy’. For over eight years their dead were being mistreated by the occupation forces. However at the moment under General Stanley McChrystal’s new order, both the dead and injured are shown some consideration, apparently, thanks to the turning tide of ‘blood money’ that is peanuts as compared with the payments made when a foreign soldier dies.
Indeed, this is also creating resentment which goes against the US forces. In Afghan tradition, the killer has to publicly apologise for his crime. No US officer appears to be prepared to do that. So the stalemate persists despite the apparent ‘cold peace’. Thus, hoping to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the civilian populace in this way and then claim victory in Afghanistan. In addition, the US also carries the baggage of those who died in the first eight years, and were treated as ‘collateral damage’ and eventually forgotten. Nevertheless, the Taliban treat the aggrieved people with sympathy. No wonder their ranks keep on swelling when such people join them frequently. This appears to be the major lifeline for the Taliban, besides those who are induced by the jihad against the occupation forces. A study by the Naval Postgraduate School in 2008 asserts: “Loss of civilian lives associated with military strikes has played into the hands of the Taliban, in turn boosting their legitimacy and image while lowering US credibility.”
What happened last week will add phosphorus, which Human Rights Watch holds the US to have frequently used in Afghanistan, in order to create the mess.

Third, scepticism is fast developing in this area about the 9/11 tradegy. Even an average Afghan would tell you that it was done by the oil lobby in collaboration with the yahudis to control Afghanistan so that the natural resources of the region could be exploited and sold through a cheap pipeline. As is widely acknowledged in the US, the 9/11 commission tried to provide only a cover-up which is now being actively disputed by intellectuals, as well as relatives, of the victims.

After nine years of the atrocious use of ‘shock and awe’ and resultant destruction, the Afghans still challenge the neocon accusations tenaciously. It will help the US if some new evidence is made public to disprove the growing feeling of the alleged fraud by the neocons a la 9/11 tragedy. The audacity of Cheney on the media is not going to help the foreign troops who face all the dangers.

Last but not the least, the attacks in Peshawar/Dir, last Monday, were dreadful. As the US expressed “great concern” at an assault on their consulate, the Taliban called it “a revenge for the drone attacks.” In Dir many ANP members were killed, who were holding a public meeting in a government rest house, which reflected poor governance of the incumbent provincial government. Therefore, such a disregard for the clash of interest promotes corruption making the government, as well as the country, a loser against present challenges!

The writer is former interior secretary.

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