What the Afghans Want

Afghanistan:  The Strategy’s Not Working

Nearly a year into the Obama administration’s new AfPak strategy the only thing that is clear is that it’s not working. Little has changed except the severity of the insurgency. General Petraeus has shifted back to a confused mix of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency (that failed the first time); backing “reconciliation” talks with Taliban leaders while pounding them with overwhelming firepower in the hopes of getting a better deal at the bargaining table.

The war in Afghanistan

Matthew Green of the Financial Times doesn’t believe the conditions exist for reconciliation given that, “The Taliban and allied Haqqani network, hunkered down in Pakistani havens, believe they can outlast the west.” According to David Ignatius at the  Washington Post, this “strategy” derives from the idea “that wars in tribal societies are inevitably a mix of talk and shoot,” and “With Petraeus in the political-military driver’s seat, he can steer a process to push the disparate Taliban groups toward a political settlement.”

Never mind that the same basic approach of bomb and talk proved useless in Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese knew the U.S. would have to give up and go home for domestic political reasons just like the French had before them. The only difference between the two was the delusional conviction that the U.S. had a workable technological solution when it was actually fighting a war in didn’t understand.  Neither has Washington caught up with the fact that General Petraeus’s strategy of making back-channel deals with insurgents as he did in Iraq simply disintegrates in favor of Al Qaeda and fractured tribal politics once the pressure of American firepower is withdrawn. Then there is the issue of Pakistan’s support for the very same extremists that the U.S. is trying to defeat. Can Petraeus really hope to work with Pakistan as an ally while still overcoming their assumption that they have a right to control Afghanistan’s internal politics and foreign policy?

In the minds of Washington’s most influential Beltway pundits, General Petraeus’s strategy of ushering in Taliban factions and despised rebel leaders like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for reconciliation into the Afghanistan government of Hamid Karzai is a stroke of genius because it gets the U.S. out of a bad jam. In reality, it is a plan that will ultimately make the administration’s current predicament and its frustrations with the corrupt Karzai government seem like a walk in the park.  From 1973 to the present, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has been nurtured and supported by a host of outsiders including Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and China whose ultimate goal is to reshape the ethnic-political and religious structure of Central Asia. But despite that support, his failure resulted in civil war and the creation of a Taliban movement from Pakistan that outdid Hekmatyar’s extremism with new levels of violence.

Reconciliation itself isn’t the problem. Giving reconciled criminals a legitimate place in the Afghan government – who are paid by foreign interests, are directed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and have never been held to account for their crimes against the Afghan people – is the problem.

As Khalil Nouri of the New World Strategies Coalition,  an Afghan-American organization seeking to implement a de-militarized tribal solution to the conflict puts it, “If this is the reality, then can reconciliation work? The Answer is ‘NO’ it will never work in the long term; first the country has not healed from its past 35 years of war, the ethnic divide has widened and has complicated the path to nationalism, and there is not a unifier figurehead to calm the country down.”

Nouri believes that the only solution that will work before NATO withdraws its troops is a traditional Afghan tribal council (Jirga) free of the kind of outside interference that brought Hamid Karzai and the warlords to power in 2002. The irony remains that today’s crisis occurred not because the Jirga failed, but because the will of the Jirga was overridden by the political desires of the Bush administration.

Nouri foresees that if this “All Afghan Jirga,” is assembled by Afghans for Afghans it can return Afghanistan to a stable state by creating a traditional government that is acceptable to all Afghans regardless of their tribal or ethnic affiliations.

According to Nouri, “The Taliban will succeed in ruling neither the country, – proven by their reign from 1996 to 2001 – nor the puppet government of Hamid Karzai. Nor will the Northern Alliance’s endeavor bear any fruit. Afghans who brainstorm together on how to coexist in an “All Afghan Jirga” can neutralize the warlord’s grip on power by restoring memories of a time when Afghanistan’s own political process enabled the people to live in harmony and peace.”

As the U.S. and NATO countries attempt to force-fit another ill-considered solution onto a tribal Afghanistan plagued with social unrest by ushering the “Taliban Elite” into Kabul for Peace Talks, it might do well to recall that western nations were once tribal too and are now in an advanced stage of suffering from what the 1960s pop guru and social prophet, Marshall McLuhan referred to as “re-tribalization.”

McLuhan spoke in a 1969 Playboy interview. “As man is tribally metamorphosed by the electric media, we all become Chicken Littles, scurrying around frantically in search of our former identities, and in the process unleash tremendous violence. As the preliterate confronts the literate in the postliterate arena, as new information patterns inundate and uproot the old, mental breakdowns of varying degrees–including the collective nervous breakdowns of whole societies unable to resolve their crises of identity–will become very common.”

As domestic protests grow over the failure of globalist economic policies within the same western countries that seek to impose their will on Afghanistan, the time may have come to accept that whatever the outcome of the latest effort to make “peace” with the Taliban, it will not succeed until the Afghan people are allowed to make their own choices through a system of their own choosing and not someone else’s.

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story published by City Lights. Their next book Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire will be published February, 2011. Visit their website at  www.invisiblehistory.com.

Copyright © 2010 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved



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Posted by on October 22, 2010, With Reads Filed under WarZone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

45 Responses to "What the Afghans Want"

  1. Archie Haase  November 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Hassina — Peace can come to Afghanistan 30 years of war is just that 30 years of war. Read European history. Today we have a European. Peace can come to Afghanistan God willing!

  2. Archie Haase  November 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    RJ You said some wise things. What needs to be done in Afghanistan is “Peace Needs To Be More Profitable Then War!

    The question is how to do this.

  3. Archie Haase  November 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Z.Rassa Years ago I was walking down a street in Reichenbach Switzerland I noticed a mixture of French and German being spoken. Reichenbach is in the picturesque Kanderstag Valley in German speaking Switzerland. Switzerland is a good example and template —-Switzerland works very well.

    The valley over is French speaking. The argument Afghanistan is too multi faceted with many faces and unsolvable problems is not the case..

  4. Archie Haase  November 5, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Well said Khalil! In our modern world we tend to forget history. We should not because history repeats! What I would like to see is someone with a deep academic understanding of Afghanistan and Islamic history in the region to provide us with an objective understanding.

    I am betting real diplomacy should take place with India, and Pakistan. Only then can real peace explode instead of bombs.

    To piss off Pakistanis’, Pakistan is as British as British can be I am betting. It was not created by local indigenous dynamics it was created at the whim of British sentiment. So what we are see is aftershocks of earthquakes of the creation of Pakistan. Sadly Afghans’ suffer.

    I am guessing solutions to central Asia’s problems are buried deep inside vested self interest self centered- ness of the status quo.

  5. Khalil Nouri  November 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Thank you Archie for your profound comment.

    Very well said.

  6. Balderdash  November 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

    K.N.

    Adel cannot be Afghan. His post is too simplistic, and with a broad brush makes his words insincere.

  7. Archie Haase  November 5, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I am guessing we are inflating Taliban influence on any long term peace. From a Judeo/Christian perspective they are like the prodigal son coming home.

    In the end it comes back to India and Pakistan. It seems to me Pakistan should resolve it’s issues with India. Then define itself, get itself stable as a Muslim nation, as soon as possible. Pakistan and India need to look at their wants, and needs then be realistic concerning it’s ethnic neighbors.

    This is where the US, China, Russia, and Europe come into play. Not on the battlefield , but as a group and with diplomatic power define borders.

  8. Khalil Nouri  November 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Alphabeta;

    Afghanistan unlike India as a passive British colony–Pakistan was not established then, but included in the colony–, had always enjoyed a form of government that was autonomous and free of foreign allegiance. Read the history and prove a single battle of Indian patriotism against Great Britain’s empire in comparison to the battle of Maiwand of 1880 or First Anglo-Afghan war of 1839-1842 when the only sole left to report the total loss of redcoats to the British in India was Dr. Brydon. In fact, history shows Afghans have fought for long to rid foreign powers. Britain, Soviets, Alexander The Great, Mongols and even Persian empires of the Safavids dynasty and on.

    History also proves that Afghans take tremendous pride in their history of defeating foreign powers, and Afghanistan will not be of serenity as a sovereign nation when foreign powers are in control of its destiny. I know this because it is in my blood.”

    That said, the Taliban hatchery clearly originated in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and they cannot be of representation in Afghanistan when majority of Afghans do not accept them. Same applies to current poppet Afghan government of Hamid Karzai and Northern Alliance of Mr. Rabani and Qasim Fahim. They too are not accepted by the majority. Therefore, for Afghanistan to succeed and stand united in terms of its nationalism and autonomy, an eradication of foreign dominance is a must.

    Bear in mind that, Afghan history is far richer and precious than newly incepted Pakistan, or brutal Wahabi doctrine of Saudi Arabia or Iranian ignorant Mullah-ism expansionists.

    I will assure you if Taliban will take over again or even share the government with Hamid Krzai the war will not end. They have been tested, done it and no results achieved.

    Indeed, Pakistan needs its political balance to make peace with its people and political parties.

  9. Alphabeta  November 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Very easy to keep blaming Pakistan for involvement in Afghanistan, but most of you fail to take into account that there are over 8 million afghans living in Pakistan and millions of (non Afghan) Pakistanis with long standing family and tribal ties across the border. Close to the border, people are the same on both sides and they come and go frequently…..the lines are blurred. How on earth does anybody expect there not to be any involvement from Pakistan in the face of these facts? Trying to avoid reality will only lead to failure. I agree with allowing all factions a seat at the table and allowing the Jirga to play its role. They must accommodate the Taliban, even the ones that are allegedly on the payroll of the much vilified Pakistan army. Good luck and don’t let the door hit you on the way out

  10. K.N.  October 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Afghanistan is for patriot Afghans… not for Adel and A.S. they are under deportation to Iran, India or Russia or whoever pays them.

  11. K.N.  October 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Mr. Adel,

    You are under the influence of foreigners.
    I suggest you go and live in any of those countries outside Afghanistan.
    Afghanistan is inseparable and will not disintegrate because of you few (non-Afghan wannabes) who are in minority.

  12. Khalil Nouri  October 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Dear Fahim Wardag;

    The initiative is in its infancy.
    The idea was just launched a few weeks ago.
    We have a lot of work ahead of us.
    You will be informed of our progress as we move forward.
    Those are legitimate questions that you pointed out and will be worked at one by one to have a genuine reflection in the eyes of the Afghan people.

    Thank you,

    Khalil Nouri

  13. Fahim Wardag  October 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Dear Khalil Nouri,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I am not convinced by your response as you have not answered any of my specific questions. How could you stifle and sideline the patriotic political parties from the solutions and on which moral, political or other grounds?
    Please answer my questions responsibly one by one as your are going to face these questions from millions of Afghan Social Democratic Party (Afghan Mellat) members and maybe from other patriotic party members. They are not my personal questions. We already have this patriotic team you are dreaming. This party has gone through the grinding of all atrocities and tests of its survival.
    Without responding to my questions, you will stuck in you own mud.
    Either you challenge our proposals for the solutions or support them. This is the way forwards.
    Regards.

  14. Adel  October 28, 2010 at 5:10 am

    A two-state solution works best for Afghanistan and the world.

    The majority non-Pashtoons should not suffer because of the neanderthals.

    Strongly agree with A.S.

  15. Adel  October 28, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Solution is in the partitioning of Afghaistan.

    Let the Pashtoons live the way they want.

    The non-Pashtoons, who make up two-third of the population, are not tribal and are sick of the whole “tribal jirga” saga which has historically been used to rubber-stamp the views of the few.

  16. Khalil Nouri  October 27, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Dear Fahim Jan Wardag;

    The first priority is to open the gates to every Afghan in the name of nationalism to accept an “All Afghan Jiga” free of political parties, warlords, Karzai, Gilanis, Omar, Hekmatyar, foreign puppets and many more. But anyone from Afghanistan can join only as neutral citizen. We all know people are tired of those powerbrokers, and a new breed of people to emerge.

    Further steps are given priorities accordingly.
    For your information choosing the head of the state please read the following NWSC solution:

    http://newworldstrategiescoalition.org/Solution_No._19.php

    Once we all agree with our NATIONAL jiga and lay the foundation of a true Afghan State then we will move towards creating only limited political parties and one to include “Afghan Melat”.
    There is nothing wrong for a NATIONALISTIC Afghan Jirga in the initial stage.

    Fahim Jana, it is time we all should accept each other as Afghans in order to prevent further fragmentation and disintegration. An emergence of a strong Afghan Nationalist team to compromise a cohesion and bonding is in high demand in current Afghan debacle. Once that achieved “God Willing” we can then face the neighbors and foreign aggressive impositions in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

    Throughout the history there have been many opportunities lost for Afghanistan, but the most recent derailment was in the late 2001 Bonn conference which was pushed by foreign powers and the UN with the flawed agendas that indeed Afghanistan would be another Jeffersonian democracy. But Afghans have exceedingly paid with their blood, dignity and honor and so far nothing achieved.

    Again, it is not about you or me or our respected “Afghan Melat” party, it is about a nation that is in desperate need of survival and peace.
    Below is an email that I had to reply to a friend, hope this convinces you and the rest of your friends so we all join hands in this effort by showing the world that Afghans can sort out their own problems.

    Dear Khalil

    Many thanks for the email. I greatly respect your opinion and pay lots of attention to what you write. Although we have different ways of getting our ideas across, we are not so far apart, so please do not summarily dismiss the ideas of international mediator and involving the Taliban.

    What you call restoring the tribal balance I call Afghan pluralism. The point is that the current Kabul cronyism does not offer these things. The idea of an international mediator is as a practical way to get the ball rolling. Karzai would not just love a phony peace deal, he would love a phony jirga. As you know he has ample experience and plenty of bags of money from different places.

    The reason that I do not take a strongly critical public stance regarding Karzai is not that I think Afghans only deserve him, it is because it is inappropriate for me personally to criticize him – our history. Others like yourself can do that in an appropriate way.

    Anyway, I think that we agree on the point that it would be a positive development to allow the Taliban to become Afghan political actors and not proxies for any regional power.

    So keep up the good work of encouraging US and others to accept that Afghans can have a much better future than offered by the current Kabul crony capitalism.

    Regards

    Michael

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for your prompt reply and also taking the time reading my writings.

    In no shape or form I dismiss your view by bringing an international mediator to start the ball rolling. That is perfectly fine, but the Taliban that we know are no different than the ones while back intruded inside Kabul U.N. compound, forced out Najibullah (the then Russian backed Afghan president) and hung him on a lamppost. They went inside a foreign entity compound because they don’t recognize international law or any Western values, similarly human values or women’s rights.

    We are aware that the war in Afghanistan is in a critical juncture and time is the essence between Obama reelection to military demand on the ground to bringing cajolery between the disgraced money bagger Karzai government and Islamic fundamentalist factions. Evidently, Afghan government and U.S. who are in pacification mode of the Taliban are all far-fetched parties and majority Afghans resent their shared or ruling.

    Imagine in a neighborhood with decent residents living; a corrupt marshal (Afghan government) with a sadistic murderer as a judge (Taliban) to take over, what would be the consequence? In a context of social imbalance the war will continue to the last man. So why do something when it does not work?

    In addition, the some residents in the same neighborhood make the assertion regarding the Taliban but in a softer tone: “They can be given a chance to become Political Actors and cannot ignore the fact that they do exist. But, we certainly cannot accept the idea of them imposing their ideas and pushing their agenda of PAKISTANIZATION of Afghanistan that is convenient to some but not acceptable to us all Afghans.” Is there a guarantee that ethnic strife will not happen? In fact, nationalistic Afghans cannot bear “Pakistani-Panjabi” doctrine in Afghanistan and have no tolerance, they are too autonomous.

    Furthermore, how will the Afghan Taliban be disconnected from Pakistan’s influence if the US continues view the Pak military as its “partner” in the region?

    The Wiki leaks revelations about Pakistan’s duplicity seems to have faded as the heavy handed geopolitics of PakAf is once again being forced on the Afghan people under the cover of resolving the war expeditiously. Claiming to help the Afghan people has been the scam from the very beginning. It was easy to fool everyone during the Soviet occupation. The scam hasn’t changed much. Except it is harder today, “move” complicated with more eyes watching the ball, but PR is still used successfully to mislead Americans that support Pakistan’s military somehow trickles down and helps the Afghan and Pakistani people. Just like trickledown economics, it has never worked in economics or foreign policy.

    Also, it makes a difference of who is being labeled as Taliban. Those who owe allegiance to Pakistan and those Pashtuns who are being paid to shoot at U.S. and NATO troops and owe their allegiance to Afghanistan …. There is a difference.

    In final, this Taliban entanglement started with the U.S. doctrine that pushed Afghanistan to declare Jihad in the name of Islam against the “Godless” Russians. If this convoluted U.S. foreign policy started by the U.S., then it should be stopped by the U.S. In an analogy, “U.S. should apply the brakes to a wheel that the U.S. initially started spinning.”

    In addition, in my native view, the bags of money from Iran cannot bring peace when Afghans as well as the Americans are shedding blood for Mr. Karzai to stay afloat. In our code of Pashtunwali, one can lead Afghanistan who can have the credibility another words hold the office of Afghanistan’s leadership in high moral standards so people to follow. And if the U.S. is not going to do anything about Karzai because they think he is the best they have, then there are more nails to be hammered in the coffin of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

    There are too many differences between Afghans to iron out. The international envoy will not do any good rather than having the Afghans for the very first time to sit down face to face and discuss their problems.

    Thank you,

    Khalil

  17. Fahim Wardag  October 25, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Dear Khalil Nouri.
    Few simple questions;
    I have gone through these none binding and none accountable structures for the past 12 years and found out only 3 years ago that we cannot use loose and irresponsible tools for such a big task alone;
    1- How is your proposed Jirga going create another unifier leader different from Karzai?
    2- How is this Leader going to be accountable and what policies is he going to implement?
    3- How are these members going to be different from New Warlords?
    4-What mechanism is going to be producing politicians without political parties?
    5-How many policies are going to be debated among the delegates?
    6-Who are going to be part of the cabinet of the leader?
    7-How are they going to go through decision making process and implementing them?
    8-What are the guarantees that the leader is not going to end up a dictator as the leader, his cabinet and Jerga Participants do not have Political Working experience? (Political Party is the environment for this experience)
    9-How are they going to perform and what policies would they propagate and implement?
    10-How could none politicians do politics and what guarantees their success?
    11-What mechanism is there for the accountability of the leader, cabinet and delegates?
    12-What should the political parties do and what role should they play?
    13-How long is your mechanism for?
    14-What should be next?
    15-What are you going to do with the he wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials?
    16-Give me a successful model when you have few patriot and clean parties you deny them politics? (Wouldn’t this be another action of suppression of politics and regression?)
    17-Can sustainable Patriotism evolve by dictator?
    18-Regarding Afghanmellat, you must accept that we have been victimized for the past thirty five years by Russians, Pakistanis, Iranians, Arabs even the US and NATO and their proxies and how could we grow and become the biggest in this situation of ever persecution and even intellectuals like you instead of commiserating with and supporting us you also criticize us?
    I still strongly believe what I have stated is the Voice of All Afghans as any Afghan have read our policy have supported us and the only questions they pose is that will the US and NATO listen to us?
    Once again;
    In principle I agree with peace and want peace; But justice comes first!
    Unfortunately, I find it difficult because those their hands and mind stained with the blood of our nation sitting there to solve the problems actually will only perpetuate it, and I disagree with their solution.
    Which coward will sell the blood and honor of his family and nation through the mediation of the culprits!?
    Why should we support this process which will only re-oppress the victims and make them hostage to the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials and this war machinery, and increase the number of Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials?
    These maneuver are only ploys by the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials and this war machinery and they want to make some more money through this process but in reality they are against it.
    The quagmire of Afghanistan is political and international. And it could only by sorted out by political parties with the help of International community based on mutual respect. We Afghans feel deeply frustrated as we have been made hostage to the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers and this war machinery.
    Tribal empowerment and individual puppets will create more problems as we see and experience for the past nine years. These efforts of tribal empowerment will create another Karzai!
    The biggest problem in Afghanistan at this moment is that the lack of powerful political parties and this is due to the US and NATO stifling the growth of Patriotic Political Parties and relying on the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers and corrupt officials. Therefore we claim to have been vindicated throughout our history that we are the only patriotic political party capable of succeeding this struggle. And it is because that we have the strongest political patriotic party in Afghanistan and struggle for our cause globally as well. Our clear stance is patriotism and social democracy and we have never been puppets or traitors. Unfortunately the traitors and puppets not only ruined our motherland, but also the patriotic parties and killed their politicians. Only few of the traitors did line their pockets. Therefore we call upon all of you to join us in this struggle with your political participation and global lobbying, to enable the Afghan Social Democratic Party (Afghan Mellat) to such a strong position to be able to sort all these problems and make our motherland prosperous and the lives of our people with high just standards.
    And we call upon the international community to perform its obligations;
    • Go to Pakistan and Iran and destroy the incubators of Al-Qaeda and terrorists! You will have saved the globe!
    • Bring the War/Druglords and Human Rights Violators to Justice and you have disarmed 90% of the Victims, paid and affected ones who are with the Taliban.
    • Help Afghanistan with Development.
    If you are not listening to us then your behavior is evolving to the one of OCCUPATION!
    What makes you different from OCCUPIERS AND OPPRESSORS?
    For full document go to our website;
    http://www.afghanmellat.eu/enasdp/jergapolicy.php
    And
    http://www.afghanmellat.eu/englisharticles/pdfs/afghanproblemanalysis.pdf

  18. Archie Haase  October 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The United States left Vietnam with it’s talk between it’s legs, and 36 years later droves of veterans who fought in that war are damaged by Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Now in 2010 these disabilities are in from of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) ajudicaters everyday for payments to veterans.

    If for no other reason other then money peace has to come to Afghanistan. Sadly America’s elite “Think Tanks” do not allow human costs into their war analysis, but maybe money will.

  19. Hassina Youssof  October 24, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    This debate about peace talk is just another talk, nothing more. Yes the afghan Talib is an Afghan as well and has the right to be forgiven and participate in the afghan affair. But as we all know there is no such thing as to negociate with them, because their involvement in ruling the country will take the country backward to this fundamental, rigid system against human rights and liberty. I think the afghan people would not tolerate this as much as the innocent killing. It seems there are to many powerful hands playing in reshaping this land was reshaped not long ago. Between the fifties and seventies there was hope of afghan ethnic union. But after more then 30 years of war and fractions the possibility seems really grim. Indeed that the national assembly has worked in the past, and maybe, something like that could be the only way to reduce conflict. It is harsh and sad to say but from my observation Afghanistan is on its way to be fragmented, and even the western super power can not do anything about it, except that they will try to take advantage of the fragmented situation.

  20. RJ  October 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Very nice piece! The is rare to see non-Afghans feel that the work of the past two administration is not working and karzai cannot get it done. he is just buying himself time with some other crazy idea till his term runs out and then he will be re-elected.

    Not many Afghans think that the US wants peace in Afghanistan and nothing that the US has done that says that they are for peace. they support crooks and want this situation to stay as is. they found Saddam from under the ground but they can’t find Osama or Mullah Omar? come on now.

    No body in Afghanistan who has any power wants peace!!! I am not sure how anyone can make this any more clear. status quo is profitable for those in power as the benefit from it. at the end, they leave for abroad again.

    influential Afghans don’t want peace and foreigners don’t want peace. If they did they would take steps to empower the real people of Afghanistan and create alternatives to this circus.

  21. Khalil Nouri  October 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    So far since 1979 that every political party existed in Afghanistan had their chance to rule, but unfortunately nothing achieved and majority did not take side with the regimes akin to Russian backed Communists, Pakistani and Saudi backed Taliban Islamic extremists, and Indian, Iranian, Russian backed Northern Alliance. Therefore the credibility of the parties is tainted and people have totally lost interest in those failed structures. In fact, the political party of “Afghan Melat” (your party) since its inception many decades ago—before the Russian occupation of Afghanistan–by Ghulam Mohammad Farhad, also could not gain the support of the majority; else the organization would have thrived at these crucial and demanding times in Afghanistan.

    This “All Afghan Jirga” is designed to be only for Afghans or anyone who is from Afghanistan. Its transparency will reflect a nonsectarian view, and excludes powerbrokers, political parties, warlords and even Afghan government and Taliban regime that all lack backing of the majority in Afghanistan.

    In hindsight, a true democracy is the will of the people, and it is time to have the people sit down and discuss their differences as they did for centuries in its true form. We should respect this profound Afghan process and also should keep in mind that this is not about you or me or anybody else, but it is for the majority of Afghans who are desperately looking for a solution in Afghanistan. An opportunity as such was never offered during the Russians or any other time, else some positive results could have achieved.

    Evidently Mr. Karzai’s road map in the past few jirgas inside Afghanistan or those huge and colorful international gatherings never bore fruit and the same goes for his reconciliation with the Taliban. In fact, even if the reconciliation is successful, another civil war is imminent and nothing can stop the revengefulness of the Taliban due to years of atrocities and bloodshed against the North or vice versa. Therefore, this “All Afghan Jirga” could prevent the looming disaster if the Afghans are given the chance to sit down amongst themselves and look at each other eye to eye and say this, “for how long should we kill each other?” This will definitely bring attention to all. Meantime, other issues could be discussed akin to; women’s rights, an exit plan for the international forces, governance and above all, choosing a unifier figurehead as a leader.

  22. Archie Haase  October 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I am waiting for the last C 117 out of Afghanistan. I am waiting to hear the same dialogue about how sad it is liberals never gave the war a chance from those who feel betrayed in the military.

    I am waiting to hear the spin from America’s elite Think Tanks trying to avoid looking stupid.

  23. Fahim Wardag  October 24, 2010 at 5:26 am

    In principle I agree with peace and want peace; But justice comes first!
    Unfortunately, I find it difficult because those their hands and mind stained with the blood of our nation sitting there to solve the problems actually will only perpetuate it, and I disagree with their solution.
    Which coward will sell the blood and honor of his family and nation through the mediation of the culprits!?
    Why should we support this process which will only re-oppress the victims and make them hostage to the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials and this war machinery, and increase the number of Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials?
    These maneuver are only ploys by the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers, corrupt officials and this war machinery and they want to make some more money through this process but in reality they are against it.
    The quagmire of Afghanistan is political and international. And it could only by sorted out by political parties with the help of International community based on mutual respect. We Afghans feel deeply frustrated as we have been made hostage to the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers and this war machinery.
    Tribal empowerment and individual puppets will create more problems as we see and experience for the past nine years. The biggest problem in Afghanistan at this moment is that the lack of powerful political parties and this is due to the US and NATO stifling the growth of Patriotic Political Parties and relying on the wrong doers, Criminal War/Druglords, Human Rights Violators, Mass murderers and corrupt officials. Therefore we claim to have been vindicated throughout our history that we are the only patriotic political party capable of succeeding this struggle. And it is because that we have the strongest political patriotic party in Afghanistan and struggle for our cause globally as well. Our clear stance is patriotism and social democracy and we have never been puppets or traitors. Unfortunately the traitors and puppets not only ruined our motherland, but also the patriotic parties and killed their politicians. Only few of the traitors did line their pockets. Therefore we call upon all of you to join us in this struggle with your political participation and global lobbying, to enable the Afghan Social Democratic Party (Afghan Mellat) to such a strong position to be able to sort all these problems and make our motherland prosperous and the lives of our people with high just standards.
    And we call upon the international community to perform its obligations;
    • Go to Pakistan and Iran and destroy the incubators of Al-Qaeda and terrorists! You will have saved the globe!
    • Bring the War/Druglords and Human Rights Violators to Justice and you have disarmed 90% of the Victims, paid and affected ones who are with the Taliban.
    • Help Afghanistan with Development.
    If you are not listening to us then your behavior is evolving to the one of OCCUPATION!
    What makes you different from OCCUPIERS AND OPPRESSORS?
    For full document go to our website;
    http://www.afghanmellat.eu/enasdp/jergapolicy.php
    And
    http://www.afghanmellat.eu/englisharticles/pdfs/afghanproblemanalysis.pdf

  24. Ron Jordan  October 24, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Knowledge is power. Ignorance is bliss.

  25. Erica Stuart  October 24, 2010 at 2:14 am

    I am beginning to sound like a stuck record but how about letting them all evolve at their own pace, after all this nation did not come into being so peacefully either. Lets notify the population loud and clear they are on their own BUT if we see any sign of activity threatening to us, and we do have good spy planes, we will send in the appropriate missile or bombers to destroy them. So we urge the population not to allow such unfriendly activities.

    We are trying every thing except something sane and rational in any language, It worked with the Cold War.

  26. Khalil Nouri  October 24, 2010 at 1:02 am

    When the US (Zbigniew Brzezinski + Charlie Wilson) pushed the Pakistanis and Saudis to train, fund and promoted the (7) Mujahideen factions to fight the Russians. This was then an accepted U.S. policy, but later turned out to be a wrong approach and haunted the U.S. to make much deeper mistakes. This caused Afghan political entanglement; which followed by brutal ethnic/civil war and then the emergence of the Taliban’s reign.

    If the U.S. had not abandoned Afghanistan in post Soviet withdrawal and International Community installed a functional and legitimate government then, the tragedy of 9/11 could have been prevented.

    My version of “entanglement” started with the U.S. doctrine that pushed the Afghans to declare Jihad in the name of Islam against the “Godless” Russians. If this convoluted U.S. foreign policy started by the U.S., then it should be stopped by the U.S, now. In an analogy term, “U.S. should apply breaks to a wheel that the U.S. initially started spinning.” The beginning of the entanglement was then and unfortunately it is still entangled. Unfortunately, a lot of memories are short and the U.S. should commit itself in Afghanistan because it is an unfinished job. But again, the current policy is in the wrong path.

  27. 11Bravo  October 24, 2010 at 12:39 am

    It would take 100 years to make Afghanistan a modern nation, maybe more. I’m not sure that is our problem or responsability. You have to start from where the Afghans are, and they are at the stage of the Jirga. The 2002 Loya Jirga in Germany seemed to work a lot better than the elections we imposed on them.

    As for partition – I believe the country is already separated into ethnic, tribal and warlord controlled regions.

    Until Pakistan plays its part, the Poshtun regions will be uncontrolable.

  28. Louise  October 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Please read this article.

    New War Rumors: U.S. Plans To Seize Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21475

    The main reason that Israel will not use nuclear weapons against any of its neighbours is because Pakistan has nuclear weapons which could be used against Israel in retaliation, so is the US trying to destablise Pakistan so that it can take its nuclear weapons?

  29. Penumbra  October 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    “the rest should be the beginning of the entanglement that the U.S. created in 1979 and on.”

    Did you perhaps mean to say “…beginning of the DISentanglement of that which the U.S. created in 1979 and on.”?

  30. Archie Haase  October 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I always tell folks who have never been to the US our best quality as Americans is our willingness to debate about where we are as a nation, and where we want to go as a nation. A place our children can live knowing we did our best to make the world a better place!

    Sadly extremist in our nation are trying like hell to shut up those voices who want to bring discussion to what went wrong in Iraq, and what can we do to make Afghanistan work.

    Thanks Liz and Paul for your part in the debate!!!

  31. Lem G.  October 23, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Letting the Afghanis set up a council based on regional, local and tribal jirgas
    makes too much sense for some of the bureaucrats in NATO and the US. Eventually, the wisdom of this approach will happen out of necessity.

  32. Lawrence A Dickerson  October 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I interpreted AS’ premise of,”There is no Afghanistan”, based strictly on what he said about the individual tribal loyalties rather than a united front as a country such as the United States.I don’t think we can ever truly appreciate the differences and similarities of tribal identities.There is a distinct Nationalism for each tribe together with a less strong Afghanistan Identity.

    But I agree with you and the others as well that the solution is not to force a melding of tribal identities,sacrificing an autonomy that has survived for many centuries..The idea of forcing Pakistan to stop encouraging,financing and implementing outside influences is indeed a the solution.

    Strong African leadership will never be born of guns and bombs.In my opinion we have been forcing the wrong solutions to enrich the arms dealers and financiers who profit handsomely on the death and destruction of others.They don’t care how much blood is on each dollar,Euro or whatever currency they are storing in their coffers.

    I enjoyed this editorial and the exchange of opinions and solutions.I learned a great deal with much more to research.Thanks much.

  33. Z.Rassa  October 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Dear AS, How can you call yourself Afghan and then say there is no Afghanistan.

    There are many civilized countries that people speak different languages eg. Canada(English/French) many small Asian and African Countries. They celebrate the fact that they are multi language and multi cultural. Afghans are so mixed that where ever you go East,West,North or South, you will never understand who does this part belong to? As in the North you hear people speak pashto and in the South Dari. So do not claim that you know much about Afghanistan. Where is your sense of Citizenship if you are an Afghan? Thanks

  34. Zahir  October 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    As a true Afghan A.S, has no idea of strong ethinicity in Afghanistan, and comparing Afghanistan’s situation to the former Ugoslavian states, is a foolish idea. The former Ugoslavian states was established in 1929, and lasted till the fall of the communist rgime, and Pashtunes, Hazaras, Uzbecks, Tajiks, and Turkmens have lived next to eachother peacefully for thousend years, and suggesting a partion in Afghanistan is not the right solution, and it’ll never happen because the people of Afghanistan donot want this to happen. The Russians tried it during their occuption and failed. The tribal system in Afghanistan is very complex and no froeign power can change that and the history is a witness to that,and Loya Jirgha is the only solution, and has worked in the past for many centuries without any foreign involvements. the best example of that was during the Zahir Shah’s reign who united all the tribes, and got their respect for the central government, and ruled the country peacefully for 40 years.
    The solution is for the US, and allies to put pressure on Pakistan to stop harboring and supporting Talibans, and stay out of Afghanistan politic arena, and bring a leader who can unite the tribes to bring unity and peace in Afghanistan.

  35. Khalil Nouri  October 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I agree Penumbra, but in this model Afghans can do so much, U.S. perpetuated the Jihad against the Soviets in 1979 and the same Jihad is in perpetuation now but the same supporter is a rival now. Saudis and Pakistan is where the Afghan responsibility was outsourced in post Russian withdrawal. Therefore, I am sure Afghans can do what they can do; the rest should be the beginning of the entanglement that the U.S. created in 1979 and on.

  36. K.N.  October 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    As an Afghan, I think you are absolutely wrong and ill informed.

    Do your research; partition was on the table with the Russians, Iranians and Tajikistan. They all advocated but no results. Look at the history, Afghans may have or had their differences but they are inseparable. Your model is a recipe for smaller and unmanageable states that later Hazaras, Uzbeks and Turkmens will be reluctant to have Tajiks rule them and vice versa.

    The authors in this article are simply suggesting an “All Afghan Jirga” to have every Afghan without any foreign interference and groups akin to Taliban, Northern Alliance or Afghan government to sit down and resolve their issues. And conversely, if it does not bear fruit, other viable options will be on the table but not yours to dismantle thousands of years of shared history, culture, language and religion from its very ethnic seams.

    Also, in your view, everyone in this forum is a fool and does not know what languages are spoken in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, language or ethnicity never has been a problem, it is people like you who likes division and wants to take the country to pieces.

    No one is forcing you to join the “All Afghan Jirga” . This Jirga is only for “Patriotic” Afghans who are from Afghanistan and consider themselves Afghans.

  37. Penumbra  October 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

    “But in a context of regional, “There is no solution but an American solution.” Control Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

    As one American voice in the wilderness I must respectfully disagree, Khalil.

    Washington and the US military has no legitimate right to presume itself arbiter of ANY other country in the world. This lust for Empire must be brought to its knees if there is ever to be peace, justice and the rightful restoration of personal sovereignty of ALL people over their respective artificial constructs of “state”.

    America has never brought solutions, only conflict, heartache and tyranny for the profit of an elite few.

  38. A.S.  October 23, 2010 at 7:29 am

    As an Afghan who is quite familiar with the situation in Afghanistan, I do not support the claims made in the article. How is that “all Afghan Jirga” going to be?! There is no “Afghanistan” – it is a fabricated construct that consists of different tribes and mentalities, forced to live in that country. Many people cannot even communicate with each other because they do not understand the other person’s language. And there is an undeniable gab between the more traditional and more tribal Pashtuns in the south and east (and elsewhere in the country) and the rest, the Non-Pashtun majority. Instead of speculations and pseudo-solutions based on wishful thinking, the West needs to realize that a more dramatic solution is needed: either the US and allied forces bomb down the Pashtun areas, killing millions and hence forcing the Taliban to accept whatever demand, or the West finally reliazes that the radical, “de facto” partition of Afghanistan is a realistic way to peace without being forced to kill millions of innocent people! Afghanistan is already a “de facto” partition nation. So what not taking advantage of this?! Let the Pashtuns deal with the Taliban, because they are the only ones who will be able to remove them. But why should the Non-Pashtuns be forced to suffer?! In the past 9 years, Non-Pashtun regions were peaceful and progressive, but the West (and especially the US) has been ignoring them. And now, after 9 years and after being ignored constantly, they are slowly moving toward the Taliban. It is America’s incredible ignorance and arrogance that is losing this war. Partition Afghanistan, give the Pashtuns their own country and let the Non-Pashtuns live in peace and free of Pashtun hegemony – based on the positive models in Yugoslavia and elsewhere.

  39. Khalil Nouri  October 23, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Liz and Paul;

    Thank you for your wonderful peace, and welcome joining Veterans Today.

    Here is my slogan again, “There is no solution but an Afghan solution.” This is for the local Afghan problem. But in a context of regional, “There is no solution but an American solution.” Control Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    Thereafter, everybody can go home and war will be over.

  40. Penumbra  October 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I must be a different breed of American then. I’ve had my early life assumptions blown away in mortar burst doses and I’m still standing today.

    It just galls me to see people writing articles, in fora supposedly devoted to exposing falsehood, which keep pandering back to long discredited mantras and constructs so readily and constantly regurgitated in the mainstream. Turns me off instantly.

  41. james_2008  October 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    “I stopped reading at “Al Qaida”. ”

    A reading of G/F’s works shows they harbor no illusions that if there is an Al Q, it is the one we created. I understand their usage of the term. Remember that to give people, especially Americans, too much truth at once shorts out their circuits and sends them scurrying under the rocks of their usual defense mechanisms. We must be gentle, one truth at a time…see? That wasn’t so bad…

  42. Penumbra  October 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I stopped reading at “Al Qaida”. What is this unshakable compulsion of so-called “journalists” to keep regurgitating that term as if it refers to anything but the fairy tale it always was?

    Enough already. THERE IS NO, AND NEVER WAS ANY SUCH GROUP!

  43. Dr. Dean Goodman  October 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Another great piece from Gould/Fitzgerald. I love the McLuhan quote and the insight it gives to this imbroglio–one of the things that sets you guys apart from the maddening crowd.

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