Descent into Chaos

The title of the new scorcher by Pakistani journalist Ahmad Rashid. Barack Obama has to read this book. His entire Afghanistan policy depends on it. Just bought it today and it is mind blowing.

Here is video of Ahmad Rashid at the Carnegie Council speaking on the sanctuary of Taliban militants in Pakistan (de-stabilizing both Afghanistan and Pakistan):

The full video of the talk here via the Council.

The central and most damning thesis is the interplay between the fact that the Bush administration had no policy towards the Taliban. Al-Qaeda yes (and Musharraf was willing to deal on that front) but not on the Taliban. And the Pakistanis–for fear of rising Indian influence and their history of control of Afghanistan through the Taliban/Pashtun–never took on, in fact supported the Taliban since 9/11. This has lead to the insurgency in Afghanistan, the weakness of the Karzai government, as well as now becoming a Frankenstein’s monster for the Pakistanis as there has been the creation of a Pakistani Taliban which has defeated the Pakistani Army and can no longer be controlled by the ISI (Pakistan Intelligence Services). The newly elected Pakistani civilian government has neither the backing of the military nor the Bush administration both of which continue to prop up the mortally wounded (but not dead yet!!!) dictator of Pakistan.

The failure of Afghanistan and the rise of narco-terror (Taliban) and the new/old safe haven for al-Qaeda and the primary spot for the spreading of terror worldwide (particularly to Europe) is the Pak-Afghan border is due principally to the misguided war in Iraq.

The Bush administration has been a complete failure in this region–it has as Rashid methodically describes–no strategy, no vision, no policy for the region. No reconstruction, the failed half-hearted attempt to capture Bin Laden, the over-reliance on the warlords, and the backing of the Pakistani military dictatorship (and not pressuring them at all to deal with the Taliban).

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Absolutely no surprise, the U.S. is not the first super-power to struggle in this region, another no brainer, is that the Taliban have expanded to both sides of the border. The U.S. has to stop thinking in terms of the British artificial construct of nation states and borders between countries. These regions of the world operate on a tribal/ religious level. The same reality is at play in Iraq. This is essentially why we see, this very phenomenon of so-called Islamism spreading across the Muslim world, no matter if the Middle East, North Africa, or Asia and even some lesser elements in the west.

    The amazing aspect of it, is these are the same components that came to play to defeat the Soviet Union and yet it seems totally unforeseen by the architects of the US foreign policy or just totally ignored or over-looked.

  2. The amazing aspect of it, is these are the same components that came to play to defeat the Soviet Union and yet it seems totally unforeseen by the architects of the US foreign policy or just totally ignored or over-looked.

    Exactly. And a good point as well on the cross-border Pashtun identity.

    Peter Bergen has theorized that the Taliban may become the next FARC. In other words, over time, I wonder whether they will be narcotics/terror fueling a sharia vision and just drop the latter (if it becomes unfeasible like the Marxism ideology of the FARC) and just become narco-terror.

  3. Ahmad Rashid is the only Pakistani who has the courage to show the evils behind the covert war in the name of Islam. He has spoken on a number of issues including how the establishment in the country courts the ‘Ialamic Militancy’ within Pakistan as proxies. In June 2008 Ahmad Rahsid was interviewed by Hary of the Internatioinal Institute in his series Conversation with History. This interview is an eye opner for many of us who just want to back the Islamists in their agenda. The interview would educate on the Taliban issue.


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