What America can do in Afghanistan

The Americans can, instead of asking Pakistan to “do more”, help it by securing Kunar and Nuristan provinces.

Iftikhar Khan October 23, 2011
This week, again, the US has accused Pakistan of not only providing sanctuaries to the Taliban, it has also suggested that the attacks from across the border are so sophisticated that it seems that the attackers are using expertise that only a state actor can provide.

Of course, not too long ago, then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen publicly said that the Haqqani network was “acting as a veritable arm” of the ISI.

So, one may ask why is America doing all this?

The answer can be found in the humiliation that it must have faced in the Raymond Davis case, and more importantly, the failure it is facing in Afghanistan. So to deflect from all of this, it is accusing Pakistan of many things. Unfortunately, the US and Nato have learned nothing from past mistakes. They have destroyed the ethnic balance in Afghanistan by supporting the Tajiks and Uzbeks and taking actions that go against the Pashtun-majority provinces of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

For instance, a recent report in The New York Times said that Pashtuns from Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Zabul, Paktika, and Ghazni make up 17 per cent of the country’s population but only 1.5 per cent of the Afghan National Army. In short, the Afghan army in the south of the country is going to be essentially seen as an occupation force comprised mainly of people from the country’s north. It then went to explain that this was perhaps one reason why the Taliban will not switch their allegiance to Karzai’s government because they see it dominated by many openly anti-Pashtun northerners.

To add to this is the perception among many in Afghanistan that the Karzai government does nothing to check the corruption of its own senior functionaries. This is also bad because it reinforces public perception in that country that much of the aid that comes in from overseas does not make its way to the poor and underprivileged Afghans who need it the most.

The Americans can, instead of asking Pakistan to “do more”, help it by securing Kunar and Nuristan provinces in the country’s north, because presently they are nothing but safe havens for the Taliban who fled Mohmand, Bajaur and Swat from Pakistan.
Iftikhar Khan An associate producer with Express News.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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