Saturday, July 03, 2010

Afghanistan - "Divine Taliban victory" ?

Iran is assisting al Qaeda by facilitating links between senior terrorist leaders and affiliate groups, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East told Congress on Tuesday. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, also said Iran's nuclear program is facing problems, and as a result, Tehran is not expected to emerge with a nuclear weapon this year.

There are some reports of a Pakistani-brokered meeting between insurgent leader Sirajuddin Haqqani and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president. There is no clear indication, however, of any desire on the part of the Haqqanis, or of the Taliban, for that matter, to make any concessions whatsoever. An attempt to broker such a "deal" would certainly be consistent for the Pakistanis, as their past negotiations with their own militants have taken the form of thinly-disguised capitulations. This was the case in North Waziristan in 2006, and even more egregiously so in Swat in 2009. A capitulation on the part of Kabul, however, would offer benefits to the Pakistanis without any of the corresponding down-sides which led to more fighting at home. The tendency towards delusional behaviour on the part of Karzai, however, is unlikely to be either mirrored or accepted by the non-Pashtun elements in his own government.

McChrystal's firing by Obama, by the way, was "divine victory," the Taliban mouthpiece, Qari Muhammad Ahmed Yusu, said. The Taliban's verdict ? The new boss is the same as the old boss. And Petraeus is a wimp, they claimed.

Gen Petraeus has pledged to look at the application of the current rules of engagement. These are designed to reduce civilian casualties but some US troops believe they put them at too great a risk.

IMO: In fairness, the troops on one's own side should be looked after as far as possible in a Western democracy. Petraeus can, and should, presumably bring in whatever materiel he needs, and to hell with the Pakis and any reluctant Afghans, in all fairness.

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