- Major General ® Shaukat Riza. The Pakistan Army 1947-1949 (Lahore: Services Book Club, 1989)
While it is true that the Pakistan and US sponsored so called Mujahideen did not follow the USSR into Russia,their successors the Taliban were allied with parties with a Pan Islamist outlook. Parties which wanted to carry Jihad into Europe,America and Africa.
The USSR withdrawal from Afghanistan was not a military defeat but a political act of withdrawal covered by the creation of the Northern Alliance which was half leftist and pro Russian. The fact of the matter remains that USSR withdrawal was fallaciously interpreted as a great victory of Islam, while actually it was not so. This interpretation led to creation of many dreams of glory and carrying on of the Islamic Jihad into India, Bosnia, Chechniya etc.
Any US withdrawal from Afghanistan would create another delusion. A false conclusion that Islam has won and USA lost. It would boost morale in the Islamists and would lead to far greater chaos and confusion than ever witnessed before in modern history.
In brief the implications of a US withdrawal would be :--
1-Collapse of the moderate Afghan regime created after billions of dollars of US and European/G 8 aid within a matter of months.
2-Creation of an unemployed and uncommitted reserve of Islamic extremists who are well trained in military art and would represent a greater threat to the Pakistani state as it presently exists and to all neighbours of Afghanistan.
3-A renewed civil war in Afghanistan with Taliban backed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and the Northern Alliance backed by Russia, Iran, Central Asian Republics and possibly USA and China.
The key to the Afghan disorder lies in Afghanistans neighbours and not in Afghanistan itself :--
1-Pakistan and Saudi Arabian states regard Afghanistan as a battle ground in between an Iran/Indian/Russian backed Northern Alliance and a Sunni puritan Talibans.
2-Russia ,India,Central Asian Republics and G 8 in general regard Taliban as a threat to their countries and to the region.
A possible solution may be in the following :--
1-Continued US presence retaining key military bases in North Afghanistan and in Baloch majority Nimroz as sword of Damocles for the Taliban. Withdrawal of US forces from South Afghanistan while retaining the Kabul Torkham Corridor which is safe in any case.
2-Integrating Russia,India and Pakistan in a regional solution while creating an Independent North Afghanistan which is Non Pashtun majority, South Afghanistan which is Pashtun majority, and a Baloch Autonomous Region in the south west Afghanistan.
3-Initiation of dialogue with the Taliban offering them South Afghanistan while withdrawing US/NATO forces north of the line Dilaram-Uruzgan-Ghazni-Paktiya-Paktika while retaining Baloch majority Nimroz.
Nothing in history is inevitable.Afghanistan was a province of Mughal,Saffavid and the Bokharan Uzbeks till 1747.It was controlled by a subsidy of 13 lakh per month by British from 1857 to 1919 and it was a neutral country with no threat to world peace from 1919 to 1978.
It is a misconception that Taliban control 90 % of Afghanistan or all population of Afghanistan is with Taliban unless you believe the Pakistani or Saudi establishment.The Saudi establishment fears the Shias and Iran far more than USA or Israel. Thus the deep Saudi interest in a Taliban dominated Afghanistan.
The fact is that Taliban control some 50 % of Afghanistan while some 60 % of Afghanistans population is against them.
If the USA withdraws what will happen to the 60 % who are against the Taliban ? These include Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Hazaras and many educated Pashtuns .This would be a great political and strategic failure of USA and NATO ? The main winners in this case would be Russia,India and Iran in Afghamistans north and Pakistans generals and Saudis in the south.
A solution of Afghan war must be based on a combination of B-52 bombers, US Dollars, Divide and Rule and regional guarantees.