December 26, 2012

Ominous signals


Dec 25, 2012:


The Obama administration has more ominous signals coming from Afghanistan. The latest in the series of worrying signals is Monday's incident in Kabul in which one Afghan police woman shot and killed a US security advisor. There have been over 60 reported incidents of personnel from the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) killed in what is called "insider" firing by their Afghan security personnel.

It is by now widely known that the "insider" acts are the handiwork of pro-Taliban elements within the Afghan national security forces, including the national police force, trained by the ISAF. The Taliban infiltration of the Afghan national forces raises serious questions about the security of Afghanstan after 2014. The international community, including India, has invested heavily in the war-torn country with the objective of promoting peace, stability, and development. Peace and stability in the country are also vital for security of the South, Central, and West Asian regions. There is little doubt that the Taliban, which ruled the country for five years until the US military action removed it from Kabul in November 2001, has little use for the efforts of the international community in Afghanistan.

From time to time, there have been moves to engage the Taliban (the so-called moderates among them, at least) to promote a national political reconciliation. The US-backed Hamid Karzai government in Kabul seems to make continuing efforts to negotiate with the dreaded outfit. It appears that President Karzai's persistence is dictated more by a sense of insecurity on his regime's part rather than a serious initiative to bring it to build a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. That is not going to help anyone, except the Taliban. It is also doubtful if Taliban leaders would ever play a constructive role in view of the knowledge that the US has announced a broad schedule for withdrawal of its troops from the country. Indeed, if the Taliban is assured of the presence of its sympathisers in large numbers in the national security forces armed and trained by the US and its allies, it will just bide its time to strike. The Obama administration will have to seriously review its exit schedule seriously, if its primary objective is to ensure a stable Afghanistan before American troops make the final exit.

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