February 28, 2007


This Spring America's Target Is Not Iran But Pakistan (Abid Mustafa, 01 March, 2007, Countercurrents.org)

The rising NATO causalities spurred the EU, especially Britain to expose Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. This forced the Bush administration to gradually withdraw its support for the peace deals. By now Pakistan was also struggling to gain control of the Pushtoon resistance. British influence in the religious seminaries, amongst the scholars and in the tribal areas, foiled Pakistan's attempt to create a monolithic Taleban army that Pakistan could use effectively. Beyond Quetta and some parts of tribal areas the new Taliban failed to make impact.

It is not the first time the EU has been at odds with the US over Afghanistan. European countries have consistently refused to deploy a significant numbers of troops assist NATO efforts in Afghanistan. In his speech at the AEI, President Bush lamented at European countries for their failings. He said, "For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and the equipment they need to do their jobs.As well, allies must lift restrictions on the forces they do provide so NATO commanders have the flexibility they need to defeat the enemy wherever the enemy may make a stand." The EU's reluctance to contribute to NATO's mission in war torn Afghanistan can only be explained by its desire to see America fail in Afghanistan. But at the same time the EU does not want to see Islam returning to Afghanistan-a political conundrum it has been unable to solve.

The additional US and UK soldiers sent to be bolster NATO troops in Afghanistan fall way short of the numbers required to confront the Pushtoon resistance. The troop numbers have been further exacerbated by America's distrust of the Afghan army- the army has been intentionally deprived of heavy weaponry-rendering almost useless in any upcoming battle. All of this means that the US will have to bear the brunt of the fighting. This comes as a huge blow- US forces are over stretched in Iraq and there are not enough troops to send to Afghanistan. The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan. The assassination attempt on Dick Cheney clearly highlights America's predicament.

To redress this situation America has again turned to Musharraf to prepare for a mini war in the tribal belt and Southern Afghanistan. Negroponte's remarks about Al Qaeda regrouping in Pakistan and the recent US intelligence assessments echoing similar findings are intended to prepare opinion both at home and abroad for this war. It is expected that Pakistan will provide the bulk of the troops for this offensive, while NATO will utilise the American build up in the Gulf to conduct air strikes and limited ground operations.

America knows full well that she will not be able to crush the Pushtun resistance and that Musharraf may not survive. But the US has no choice-it is make or break for the US in Afghanistan and the calculus of Musharraf survival is irrelevant.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2007 9:31 PM
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