Afghan Taliban are Emerging as an Invincible Power
At the early stage after 9/11, Afghan Taliban needed Pakistan’s support, especially during the winter season they needed hideouts in the tribal areas of Pakistan. But now they enjoy good enough support inside Afghanistan.After fighting for almost 10 years, the Afghan Taliban are emerging as an invincible power; they could lead their war against the US-led forces without Pakistan’s help.
The fighting season in Afghanistan is starting to get under way as spring arrives, and Western officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have warned it could bring some of the bloodiest fighting yet in the near ten-year war. The most sophisticated war machine in history could not stabilize Afghanistan despite trying various approaches for a decade, how can the poorly armed Afghan Army succeed in pulling off this miracle now?
They would not force the Taliban to surrender, nor would they convert them. But he went on: “By challenging the insurgency … by building legitimate governance … the Afghan government, with our support, can prevail.” Today Mr Miliband, backbench MP, is less certain – on any of those three counts. Last week he said the Taliban’s numbers were growing,quoting an Isaf estimate of 35,000 full-time fighters. So while the west has set a date for the end of the war in 2014, Mr Miliband concluded that no political strategy yet exists to end the conflict.
All this comes late in the day. The western intervention is now longer than the Soviet one. But three years from the date set for withdrawal, no political component to that deadline exists. Nor is there a unified view in Washington about how to achieve it. With the Taliban pushed as a major presence out of Helmand and Kandahar, self-congratulation and self-doubt fill the air in roughly equal portions. The surge of US troop numbers is at its peak, but everyone is bracing themselves for another year of ferocious bloodshed, as the Taliban merely switch tactics from roadside bombs to suicide bombings and softer targets. Instead of fighting its way to the negotiating table, the US troop surge may simply be sawing the legs off it.
There is no dearth of creative ideas for an end to this conflict. But Washington may not be as powerful as it thinks in the endgame. A former UN negotiator involved in the Geneva agreements on the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Giandomenico Picco, said in a paper that we may have to abandon the idea of Afghanistan as a centrally governed nation state – a fallacy shared by the Soviets, the Taliban and the west. Some critics suggest that a strategic partnership and Western bases in Afghanistan might further provoke Pakistan and Iran to intensify their meddling in Afghan affairs.Its porous borders could only be guaranteed by a regional summit of the countries that effect them – Pakistan, India, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Everyone seems to have forgotten Riyadh’s influence on Islamabad. And including Iran as a regional power in a forum, unconnected to the nuclear issue, could also be a way of breaking that deadlock.