by M K Bhadrakumar
The international community has been led to believe that the India-Pakistan
faultline is the pivotal concern in the US's diplomatic strategy in
Afghanistan. However, it is a mere subplot. The US's principal protagonist
is China, while India and Pakistan - and increasingly Russia - are more like
jesters in forming the confusion and the humor in an Elizabethan drama.
The main plot is about the expansion of NATO into Central Asia. . . .
This is where the US's idea of reconciliation with the Taliban merits
scrutiny. The idea is indeed eminently sensible at a time when Muslim anger
is rising, there is growing disillusionment about Obama, and when the US is
dangerously close to confronting Iran and a need arises to "split" Muslim
At the same time, the Taliban's reconciliation also makes realpolitik. The
Afghan war costs a lot of money, it costs Western lives and it cannot be
won. The Taliban's reconciliation is arguably the only option available to
keep open-ended NATO's military presence in Central Asia without having to
fight a futile war.
The ascendancy of malleable Islamist forces also has its uses for the US's
containment strategy towards China (and Russia). Islamists lend themselves
as a foreign policy instrument. The rise of Islamism in Afghanistan cannot
but radicalize hot spots such as the North Caucasus, Kashmir and the
Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China.
China has the maximum to lose if a Taliban regime re-emerges. . . .
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi . . . outlined the kind of Afghanistan
that China wishes to see emerge out of the abyss. First and foremost, it has
to be a peaceful and stable Afghanistan that "eradicates the threat of
terrorism". Two, it should be an Afghanistan that accepts the "existence of
diverse ethnic groups, religions and political affiliations and rises above
their differences to achieve comprehensive and enduring national
The accent on pluralism is a virtual rejection of the fundamentalist
ideology of Wahhabism practiced by the Pashtun-dominated Taliban. Three,
Afghanistan should "enjoy inviolable sovereign independence, territorial
integrity and national dignity. Its future and destiny should be determined
and its state affairs run by its own people."
In essence, China expects a total and unconditional vacation of foreign
occupation. Four, Yang highlighted repeatedly the centrality of regional
powers in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. . . .
Martin Jacques, "When
China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a
New Global Order," Penguin Press HC, The (November 12, 2009)
Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole, and Brian Ross, "President Obama's Secret: Only 100 al
Qaeda Now in Afghanistan," ABC News, December 2, 2009
[With the United States striving hard to establish dialogue with the
Taliban, Asia Times Online sources privy to the Pakistan military
establishment reveal that the army has clearly spelled out that Washington
must make sure any Indian involvement does not go beyond development work in
Afghanistan and that Delhi plays no part in any overall strategy concerning
Afghanistan.--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistan's
military sets Afghan terms," Asia Times, February 9, 2010]
[Evidence now available from various sources, including recently
declassified U.S. State Department documents, shows that the Taliban regime
led by Mullah Mohammad Omar imposed strict isolation on Osama bin Laden
after 1998 to prevent him from carrying out any plots against the United
States. . . .
In Late January, Geoff Morrell, the spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert
Gates, suggested that the United States could not negotiate with Mullah
Omar, because he has "the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands,"
implying that he had knowingly allowed bin Laden's planning of the 9/11
attacks.--Gareth Porter, "Taliban Regime
Pressed bin Laden on anti-US Terror," Inter Press Service,
February 12, 2010]
"NATO launches major Afghanistan
offensive," Reuters, February 12, 2010
Jonathan M. Finegold Catalan, "Nation Wrecking in Afghanistan,"
Reuters, March 17, 2010
[A phony war, on a fake battlefield, against a nonexistent enemy with a
fictional victory.--Richard Greener, "Afghanistan: D-Day On St. Barts,"
huffingtonpost.com, March 10, 2010]
[When China began its economic reform more than 30 years ago, the U.S. was
the gold standard to aspire to. In the decade since 9/11, the U.S., by any
measure, has found itself on a downward spiral with no prospect of reversal
in sight.--George Koo, "Trajectories
of China, US diverged after 9/11," peopledaily.com, September 14,