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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New Afghan Civil War






The Afghan Pakistan Border at Spin Boldak - A Citadel of Insurgents , Drug Mafia and a Casablanca of Intelligence Agencies







A New Afghan Civil War

Agha H Amin

I visited parts of Afghanistan for a survey for a German company in July-August 2012. I could feel that war was not far away .

Something was out of harmony and although I cannot describe it , I am of the firm conviction that a new civil war is not far away.



I have hundreds of photographs of the last two assignments that we did .One was in the north and one in the extreme south.

However our agreement with our main client does not allow us to publish the photographs.

Below are conclusions of a war game that was carried out as part of a consultancy for a non state client in late 2010.

2010 ASSESSMENTS SUBSEQUENT TO THIS ARTICLE FOR ALEXANDRIAN DEFENSE GROUP -WASHINGTON DC

In order to have any strategy in war first it is necessary to examine what are the future possibilities :---

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE USA WITHDRAWS FROM AFGHANISTAN
A HYPOTHETICAL STUDY


By

Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

06 November 2010


POSSIBILITY ALPHA

1. The US/NATO/CIS/International Community retain a buffer peace keeping zone in Kabul Torkham Corridor.
2. This would act as a damper for Taliban and enable US/NATO/International forces to act as a strategic fire brigade in case of any major upset in Afghanistan.
3. A Russian/CIS force acts as peace keeping force in North Afghanistan in cooperation with Northern Alliance which enjoys support of majority of North Afghanistan population.
4. An Iranian peace keeping force in west Afghanistan.
5. A most balanced and rational solution
6.The only weak link is will the Taliban respect the arrangement ? No because they only fear Allah and have some respect for the B 52 !






POSIBILITY BRAVO

1. US Withdrawal while retaining the Kabul Torkham Corridor and a free for all international intervention.
2. The US/NATO lets the events take their own course with no formal agreement with regional parties.
3. India escalates against Pakistan to reduce pressure on Northern Alliance.





POSSIBILITY CHARLIE

1. THE US/NATO WITHDRAW TOTALLY NOT RETAINING ANY PRESENCE WHILE RUSSIA/CIS/IRAN/INDIA INTERVENE.
2. TALIBAN WILL OCCUPY GREATER PART OF AFGHANISTAN THAN POSSIBILITY ALPHA OR CHARLIE BUT CIVIL WAR CONTINUES.
3. INDIA ESCALATES AGAINST PAKISTAN TO SUPPORT NORTHERN ALLIANCE .





POSSIBILITY DELTA

1. THE US/NATO TOTALLY WITHDRAWS WHILE ONLY RUSSIA/CIS/INDIA INTERVENE.
2. TALIBAN OCCUPY GREATER AREA THAN POSSIBILITY ALPHA BRAVO AND CHARLIE BUT THE CIVIL WAR CONTINUES.
3. INDIA PAKISTAN CONFLICT WILL ESCALATE AS AN INDIAN RESPONSE TO REDRESS THE BALANCE IN AFGHANISTAN BY ESCALATING AGAINST PAKISTAN.
4. A CONVENTIONAL INDO PAK WAR STARTS INVOLVING NUCLEAR WEAPONS.


















A BROAD VIEW OF STRATEGIC OPERATIONAL AND TACTICAL POSSIBILITIES




Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

24/10/10



This brief paper is a hypothetical visualization of various strategic,operational and tactical possibilities in the Af Pak Region .





Broad Strategic Scenario







BROAD ORIENTATION OF TALIBAN GROUPS







A MORE DETAILED DIVISION OF TALIBAN AND US POSSIBLE STRATEGY









US Strategy appears to be neutralization and annihilation of the more radical Haqqani Company for strategic operational and face saving and a possible compromise with the less radical Mulla Omar and Hikmatyar Companies.



Another major objective is to drive a wedge in between Pakistani state and Haqqani and Company by focing Pakistan to take military action against Haqqani.



General Hameed Gul in various interviews recently has presented a twin power failure theory spread over 2 to five years :---



1. Failure and withdrawal of US from Afghanistan.

2. Islamists concentrate on Kashmir together with Chinese assistance and Indian withdrawal from Kashmir.

3. Maoists start a grand offensive with Chinese and Pakistani support and India is weakened and destabilized.

4. Islamists expand into Central Asia and Middle East.

5. General Gul also warned Islamists against any confrontation with China.

6. On the other hand US covert policy seems to be to provoke a major Islamist Insurrection in China which Gul says should be avoided at all costs.



US Options



1. Withdraw from Afghanistan without any major strategic denuclearizing of Pakistan and avoid a nuclear conflict which is likely if an attempt is made to denuclearize Pakistan with Indian assistance.Will straight lead to realization of Hameed Gul Theory.

2. There is a possibility that US unilateral withdrawal can lead to another war of interventions in Afghanistan with Russia and Iran in the lead:--





3. Retain partial presence in Afghanistan and partition it .A least risk and pragmatic approach strategically balanced and entirely feasible.





4. Launch an attack in Iran and expand the war . May be beyond US potential if not materially then at least in terms of resolution.A US state department official Doug Scherer termed US leadership as irresolute in case of Iran.

5. Denuclearise Pakistan , Balkanise the region , keep a permanent force in Af Pak .A dangerous possibility which can lead to a major conflict possibly nuclear with China stepping in.






























THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN

AGHA.H.AMIN

The dynamics of history are variable and cannot be quantified or reduced or subjected  to absolute judgements ! States are created to ensure basic political as well as human needs of the populace ! Thus the welfare and security of the populace is the first and most solid basis of a state !

Seen in this light while human needs are constant , borders can be changed , re-drawn and modified !

In our Indo Pak Afghan context states were created , destroyed and re created and modified when the forces of history made this transformation necessary .

Thus the Mughal Empire began to lose its political legitimacy from 1650s , was challenged by Hindu Marathas and Sikhs and attacked externally by Persia and Afghans.The Mughal state was replaced by successor short term intermediary states like the Maratha confederacy ,Sikh state , Nizam Hyderabad ,Oudh ,Rajput states and finally after 1849 by British India !

British India in turn was transformed into India and Pakistan in 1947 while Pakistan was subdivided into Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971 .

Afghanistan in its present form was created only after 1747 after undergoing a state of instability from 1719 to 1747 ! Before 1719 Afghanistan was partly a province of Saffavid Persia,Mughal India and Central Asian Uzbek state of Khiva and Bukhara .

Afghanistan preserved its neutrality from 1919 to 1978 but became a frontline state for proxy wars from 1978 till to date.

From 1978 till to date thanks to its neighbouring states Afghanistan has not known a day of total peace.

It suits Pakistan ,Iran and the Central Asian Republics that Afghanistan remains united in its present form ! This is so because this is how Afghanistans neigbour states can manipulate Afghan politics from the outside !

Afghanistan is a unique state ethnically in the sense that its neighbours have more Pashtuns than Afghanistan (Pakistan ) , more Uzbeks than Afghanistan (Uzbekistan) , more Tajiks than Afghanistan (Tajikistan) ,more Persian speaking than Afghanistan (Iran).

With such a unique ethnic equation all of Afghyanistans neighbours can seriously manipulate Afghanistans internal politics while ensuring that Afghanistan remains unstable !

Ironically the Pakistani state has gained maximum from an unstable Afghanistan ! This indeed has been the cornerstone of Pakistani strategy of getting aid from USA,Saudi Arabia etc first as a frontline state against USSR (1978 to 1989) and the second time against Al Qaeda/Islamists from 2001 till 2011.   

Iran sees Afghanistans Pashtuns as an existential threat and has a deep interest in supporting Afghanistans non Pashtuns who are under threat of political extinction in case a Taliban government returns to Afghanistan.

Russia ,Central Asian States and India also see the Taliban as a political threat .

The US and NATO have  been unable to prevail militarily and are clueless about Afghanistans political future.

The idea of partitioning Afghanistan has political merit and should not be dismissed as an imperialist tool to divide and rule.

There is no denying of the fact that the Taliban regard Afghanistan as an Islamic Emirate where they will enforce their particular brand of Sunni Deobandi law .They did it in 1994-2001 and will do it again !

This particular brand of Islam has no room for moderatae Pashtuns , Uzbeks,Tajiks ,Hazaras,Turkmens,Aimaqs ,Baloch,Nuristanis and Pashais.

This in essence sums up the rationale for division of Afghanistan.

While we have made the rationale clear ,the second and more important question is ; " What will happen if Afghanistan is not partitioned" ?

The answer to this question again proves the utmost necessity of partitioning Afghanistan !

The following would happen if Afghanistan is not partitioned :--

1-Civil war and unrest will continue and Afghanistans neighbours will aid their proxies which may be rougly divided into Pakistani favourites ,Iranian favourites ,Russian/Central Asian favourites and Indian favourites !

2-As long as US/NATO stays this civil war will remain low intensity  and when the NATO/US withdraws this civil war will assume a high intensity.No clear victor will emerge and Afghanistan will remain unofficially partitioned and fragmented and unstable.

3-Afghanistan will retain its position as citadel of all types of extremists and drug mafia.

It is no secret that Pakistani establishment regards the Afghan Taliban who constitute 90 % of Taliban as good Taliban . It is again no secret that some 1500 of Afghanistans 2400 km border with Pakistan has no regular Pakistani forces and Taliban freely move to and fro across this border .

It is no secret that a segment in US establishment regard Taliban as a good future proxy against Iran ,Russia and China and it is no secret that the US forces have not made any strategic effort to eradicate drug trade , the main source of Taliban military economy and have carried out no major military offensive against Taliban.

It appears that the Pakistani establishment has convinced the US that Pakistan can broker a peace in Afghanistan and cover US withdrawal.

The major hurdle in this scheme of things is that this unilateral solution will not be acceptable to Iran ,Russia,Central Asian Republics and India.

Boundaries cannot be re-drawn without a major effort on part of a state actor ! Bangladesh in 1971 could not have been created without Indian military support ! South Sudan was created with international effort . Kosovo was created with international state actors in the lead .

In case of Afghanistan a major state actor , or rather all major state actors must decide and go on with a new political arrangement thus creating a predominantly Pashtun state in the south and a non Pashtun confederal state in the north. A US NATO peace keeping force with a strategic damper at Kabul-Bagram and another at Shindand can econonomicall deter any adventurist Taliban move north of Hindu Kush .

Afghanistans Pashtuns and non Pashtuns both need peace and the international community should understand that Afghanistans neighbours view Afghanistan as a simulation practice live firing range where they can play their power games with live bullets !

The NATO needs to create a 100 percent ethnic Pashtun state in Afghanistan , a 100 percent Baloch state in Afghanistan and a 60 % Tajik Uzbek state in Afghanistan !

If not then third rate pakistani analysts would acclaim after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan .....Oh Islam has won .......which actually is pure and unadulterated BULL SHIT ! Which Islam ........an opportunist    Pakistani brand of Islam !!!!!!

This is how the NATO can encounter the Pakistani and Iranian game !

If not the scene is set for diasaster  for NATO and US in Afghanistan !

Posterity will not forgive NATO and the US for failing in Afghanistan !

Afghanistan in its present unstable state remains a threat to world peace !

It is in interest of the region that Afghanistan is partitioned !



CRISIS IN COMMAND-US ARMY

There are no bad armies but only bad generals

Major  Agha H Amin (Retired)


'It was observed by two outstanding US military historians and social psychologists Gabriel and Savage the authors of "Crisis in Command" both former Army officers assessed the U.S. Army as an army in deep moral crisis.




We did bring out the ambiguous US role in Afghan war in our book published by Edwin Mellen Press New York.





They found the US Army career officers plagued with civilian "managerial" values and devoid of traditional military virtues .




From what I saw of US Army in Afghanistan as a sub contractor of USAID in Helmand ,Ghazni and Kunduz provinces the assessment of Gabriel and Savage still seems valid.I refer to the mid level and higher commanders.


With Colonel David Osinski , in front of NATO/ISAF Headquarters Kabul , mid 2010.Osinksi is one of the few honest officers that I met in Afghanistan .But he is no hole puncher , but an honest God fearing man earning his living as a retired colonel working with USAID


As one Canadian military analyst Dr Geoff Shaw put it "But any great power so enamored with false-hood can not stand for long ".



Here we have the same hole punching , the same tail heavy and teeth weak , whiz kid army that Gabriel and  Savage found Vietnam.

The US Army has no strategy to fight the war ! The question is that having no strategy actually a part of a strategy to remain in Afghanistan and to dominate the region on pretext of fighting so called terrorists ! A costly strategy and all at cost of US tax payer !

A strategy tailor made to satisfy the military industrial complex and defence contractors.



Hole punchers dominate the US military ! The US Army has no strategic plan although it sells its military effectiveness with flashy publicity campaigns.

Drug trafficking continues right in the area hemmed with three largest US military bases in Afghanistan i.e Camps Leatherneck ,Dwyer and Bastion (British-US) .

Now is is a part of a deliberate strategy or is it sheer complacency ! Or is it capacity building by the US for the major Afghan export to Europe ? Drugs !




The Talibans move with liberty back and forth through most of the 1900 Km of the total 2400 Km Afghan Pakistan Border.

All this hints at the fact that US position is ambiguous and it sees Taliban as a good future asset against Iran ,Russia and even China as far as Chinese Singkiang which US thinkers like to call Chinese Turkestan !



The entire US strategy is a classic collection of contradictions !

They are droning some groups in Pakistans FATA but doing little against Afghan Taliban ! The differences between pakistani military and US are not over war on terror but on protecting each others proxies !

It is no secret that the Afghan Taliban are Pakistani strategic assets while some groups in Pakistan fighting the Pakistan Army are US/NATO strategic assets .

The only difference between USA and Pakistan is as to who is the target ! The Pakistani military sees their Taliban assets as proxies against India while the US wants the Taliban to be future US assets against Iran ,Russia,Russian Central Asian sattellite states and above all China !

Nothing in the last ten years hints that the USA came to defeat the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

The Al Qaeda has significantly consolidated its bases in North East Afghanistan .But General Petraeus who claims he can run five miles with journalists in the safety of Kabul or Bagram thinks other wise !

Is allowing Al Qaeda to consolidate an innocent strategic lapse or part of Petraeus grand strategy ! And is the Petraeus strategy to defeat Al Qaeda or to become the CIA boss !







This is the classic Gabriel and Savage US Army general flying high in his command plane ! Miles away from danger while Gabriel and Savage sadly compared US Army with German Army where both noted that 33 % general officers died in battle leading from the front !

Here we have this great captain of war who is all set to lead the CIA ! Certainly one is inclined to agree with Weiners book on CIA " The Ashes" .

It is certain that US politics as most politics is about self serving characters who see international events and war as pegs to climb up the winding road to power !




Can Petraeus take a walk with a normal US Army patrol in Pech Valley or Kamdesh for five miles !


Generalship is not running Five Miles General Petraeus



What are his tangible strategic or even operational achievements as US military commander in Afghanistan rather than a zig zag hop step and jump to be the next DCI !

I have immense respect for the  US soldier and juniour leaders but not the hole punching generals !







Yet Petraeus claims that all is well ! What could be an inch away from what Gabriel and Savage pointed out in Crisis in Command.

The great danger in US strategic ambiguity is that it can trigger a major global conflict at best with China and Russia stepping in with a nuclear exchange or keeping the whole region unstable at best !

Confusion of principle , strategic ambiguity , mixing of friend and foes at the strategic level is a dangerous modus operandi !

A dangerous game which can go out of hand at any time and which even Petraeus whose main qualification seems to be running five miles at 6000 feet may not be able to control at all !



This is not just the military only . A spirited and highly motivated US State Department officer Doug Scherer described his superiors in State Department in May 2006 as "W___t     P__u____s___s hiding behinde  mails and taking no decisions".He then symbolically decided that we should watch Gettysburg (Doug regarded Lee as his hero ,as most Americans would) !

God Save mankind and USA and US Army !

The  USA needs men like Petraeus certainly !


THE FUTURE OF WAR ON TERROR IN THE POST BIN LADEN PHASE






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