New Strategy for Afghanistan War

By Anna Varfolomeeva

BEIJING— (October 18–M4relay) – The U.S. is changing its war strategy in Afghanistan. Officials decided to move away from classic counterinsurgency – protecting the population, providing basic services, promoting good government, and toward the traditional business of killing and capturing the guilty, according to a Slate report.

U.S. and NATO officers, intelligence analysts, and other officials and advisers now believe that their goals in the Afghanistan war can no longer be accomplished in sufficiently short time through counterinsurgency (COIN) alone or even through a COIN-dominant strategy that is commonly used during occupation and armed rebellions.

According to Slate, this can explain the huge increase, just in the last three months, of military attacks—by drones, aircraft-launched smart bombs, and special-operations forces on the ground—against Taliban soldiers and, in many cases, specific midlevel Taliban leaders.

In fact, the final goal of the operation was not changed. “The united forces want to apply pressure on the Taliban insurgents, disrupt their command-control networks, create fissures between the insurgents fighting in the field and their leaders across the border in Pakistan—to the point where many of them surrender or negotiate reconciliation with the Afghan government,” Fred Kaplan wrote in his article A New Plan for Afghanistan: Less counterinsurgency, more killing and capturing.

The question is whether the new strategy will really work in the existing situation or will it fail just as all the previous ones. After all, almost none of the official goals were achieved by NATO and its allies since entering Afghanistan in 2001. Bin Laden is not captured, al Qaeda was not destroyed, and the Taliban supporters are still fighting. Taking into account all those failures, Afghanistan could become a new Vietnam for the U.S. troops.

Chances are that the new strategy will only strengthen the opposing forces in their will to fight. The answer lies in the reasons that push people, especially young people, to join the Taliban movement. “One of the factors that youth joins Taliban was the irresponsible operations and bombardment of foreign forces,” The head of youth department in Afghanistan’s Helmand province Allaudin Sultani said. “When we discuss issues with youth, they say we want proper working opportunities.” People all over the world want simply to live normal lives, but the whole population of Afghanistan became a hostage of the political games.

“We created the conflict in the first place, by bringing together the criminal enterprises of international arms dealers, opium suppliers, suitcases full of cash, and the most dangerous militants we could gather together from Africa and the Middle East into a “pipeline” which flowed into Afghanistan and from there throughout the region, before abandoning it all to start the first Iraq war. We “abandoned” the war and the Afghan and Pakistani people, but we left the pipeline intact, running at full capacity for the past thirty years,” Peter Chamberlin wrote in his article, The river of Afghan corruption and its American source published by Online Journal.

“But he didn’t bother to mention that all of the contracts were initially American, or that the pipeline of weapons, drugs, and militants that supplied the material to the contractors, was our pipeline, or that it was still in operation. This is diplomatic deception of the highest order, meant to provide cover for a criminal war and the long-standing criminal American foreign policy which made it all possible,” Chamberlin added.

Richard Holbrooke, the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama administration, admitted that the core of the problem was the “huge amount of ‘international contracts,’ particularly American military contracts which brought such a lucrative opportunity for . . . this kind of thing.”

The U.S. President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that the July 2011 deadline he set for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will mark only the beginning of the process and that the scope and pace of the pullout will be determined by conditions on the ground.

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