Well before the American Presidential Elections in November 2012 NATO and US are staging a well orchestrated Transition drama to surrender Afghanistan to Pakistan concealing the procedure with talks to irrelevant former Taliban leaders to make the world believe a smooth transition is possible.
NATO and US did their very best to clear the territory in their areas of responsibility in Afghanistan. But the gap between the logics of security (clear) and the Afghan’s part of development (hold, build and transfer) remains stark because Gambler Karzai miserably failed, thus he has lost the Game.
Is the surrender complete now? The price tag to present for public consumption will include the release of (political irrelevant) Taliban prisoners from Gitmo — an element of the deal Reuters has also reported. The Obama administration will also agree to the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Taliban, and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political party. In return, US recruited former Taliban without any influence on the Pakistan controlled fighting opposition elements will pretend to forswear violence, to sever ties with al-Qaeda, and to cooperate with the rival Karzai regime. Earlier December 2011, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview with Newsweek magazine that the Islamist militants did not represent a threat to U.S. interests unless they continued to shelter al-Qaida. The baleful consequences of re-installing the “Taliban” in Afghanistan will not appear until long after the next election campaign, which is all that Obama cares about.
Mr. Daccord from ICRC said Dec. 13, 2011: ''We have a gloomy perspective on what's happening in Afghanistan. We think it's worsening, despite some pockets of improvement - security is going down, access to basic facilities is down.'' And: ''The forces will leave and there will be less support and less aid. We think in the next two years this power vacuum will see more tensions between Afghan groups trying to assert themselves.''
The United States is shifting its focus to the Asia-Pacific region as it pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan, ending the chronic wars that have sapped the country's political strength and international influence. America's Back-to-Asia policy reflects a changing global geopolitical and economic reality. As Asia has become more and more important in the global economy, the United States, of course, does not want to miss this "grand banquet." But more than that, another obvious reason behind this back-to-Asia effort is America’s concern about the rapid growth of China.
The two costly, bloody wars reflect America's contradicting "must win" but "cannot stand the loss" mentality, exposing the vulnerability of the strongest military force in the world. The two "unwinnable" wars, plus economic difficulties, made troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan inevitable, analysts say.
Obama will present himself as a President who ended two wars in which the USA have lost more than it gained. The U.S. inability to execute its goals in Iraq and Afghanistan has put the two wars into question and damaged the country's prestige.
Meanwhile, the two wars also upset the regional strategic balance. Anti-American sentiment among Muslims has been inflamed, while Iran's influence has expanded in the Middle East. The number of terrorist attacks has not decreased in a measurable way globally, and the world's security situation has not improved significantly.
The endgame in Afghanistan may be worse. After 10 years of fighting, there are few lasting benefits apparent. Increasing signals suggest Afghanistan could return to its fractious nature.
Questions, questions and more question about US intentions it wants or plans or thinks it might possibly do in Afghanistan after 2014 - are again in the news. Will Washington want bases? Will US soldiers ‘just’ be training Afghan troops or participate in fighting? And how many soldiers might remain in Afghanistan?
On the Afghan side, both President Karzai and the Taliban appear to believe the United States is quite desperate to stay in Afghanistan and that having military bases on Afghan soil are a core strategic interest for the superpower. At the recent Loya Jirga, for example, the Afghan president looked like a man who believes himself in an unassailable bargaining position, so sure that the customer wants what is on offer, that he can insult him and still get a high price. But is it possible the US might just walk away?
The assumption on the Afghan side is that the US is bent on staying in Afghanistan, at all costs. This surely underlay the way in which President Hamid Karzai, during his recent Loya Jirga speech, set out his demands in ways which pleased his audience by verbally humiliating the superpower, including, magnificently, his Pythonesque metaphor of Afghanistan as a lion.
What actually appears to be on the table (this gleaned from conversations with the military, diplomats and US journalists) are five bases – in Bagram, Mazar, Kandahar, Shindand and Jalalabad. Then there are the troops remaining behind for mentoring and training – the figure being bandied around is 20-30,000. Along with all this would come the facility to fly drones and to station small contingents of combat troops - Special Forces - and the unmentionable CIA, both with their own specially trained Afghan counterparts, who would be specifically charged with ‘counter-terrorism’.
If the US did walk away from Afghanistan completely, that could also cause problems for the Taliban. They say they want all the foreign soldiers to leave, but if they did, the war would become a purely civil war again, with Afghan Muslims fighting Afghan Muslims. This would be reminiscent of the Emirate era when, surreally, both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance claimed to be fighting a jihad. As one Talib commander candidly admitted, if no ‘infidels’ are present to legitimise the conflict, it would become a war between munafiqin – or hypocrites. In Islamic tradition, they are one of the worst categories of humanity.
No easy job for Pakistan to manage the chaos after 2014 – but will you bet? In the very end Pakistan has a good chance to succeed to be the Master of Disaster in Afghanistan.