By Yasmeen Ali
Why are the Americans so flabbergasted by the botch up of the Allied Forces performance in Afghanistan? Are they shocked because civilians, children, women were being killed? Or that CIA had expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan?. Or that these units launch ambushes, order airstrikes and conduct night raids?. Or that from 2001 to 2008, the C.I.A. paid the budget of Afghanistan’s spy agency and ran it as a virtual subsidiary? I mean, excuse me. The botch up and misrepresentation was generally known, though of course not the specific incidents.
Nine years is a long time for a war . Any war. Spending $300 billion of US taxpayer’s money and having nothing to show for it must have gone off like a bomb for the unsuspecting Americans.
Much has been written and shall continue to be written on the WIKI LEAK. WikiLeaks, an online whistle-blower, has released the ‘Afghan War Diary’, a set of over 91,000 leaked US military reports from 2004-2009. Some 75,000 reports have been released online. There has not been any ‘surprise’ in the official US circles. US National Security Advisor General James Jones said that the US “strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information…which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk” but the leaks “will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan”. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the leaked reports were not based on facts and “do not reflect the current on-ground realities”.
But I will turn to three basic questions here. One, the fact, that the US and NATO forces floundering in USA was well known. It was no secret. Killings of civilians in Afghanistan was pretty much known. Papers are full of stories of how . Just to quote a few examples here; NYT 12th April 2010 ,” American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing and wounding civilians, and igniting angry anti-American demonstrations in a city where winning over Afghan support is pivotal to the war effort.” Derrick Crowe, on April 4th 2010, posted on his site: FDL: The Seminal : “A thorough joint investigation into the events that occurred in the Gardez district of Paktiya Province Feb. 12, has determined that international forces were responsible for the deaths of three women who were in the same compound where two men were killed by the joint Afghan-international patrol searching for a Taliban insurgent.
The two men, who were later determined not to be insurgents, were shot and killed by the joint patrol after they showed what appeared to be hostile intent by being armed. While investigators could not conclusively determine how or when the women died, due to lack of forensic evidence, they concluded that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men”.
The list is long & it can go on. The point, I hope, established is that news of continuing ongoing criminal incidents was repeatedly reported. Why was it not heeded by those who should have heeded it?
Two, Obama did not start this war. But someone, along the line has to be made responsible, in all honesty, and not as a scapegoat , for the official misrepresentation of the war.
Three, Pakistan has been an ally to USA in this war and has suffered greatly .It has everything to lose by continued instability in Afghanistan and everything to gain by stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan gains nothing by prolonging the war or running a counter policy of her own. Saeed Quraishi, a political commentator, states,” As matter of fact, ISI had deep and close connections with Taliban and others since the time when both were waging a war against the Soviet Union army in Afghanistan .That connection was blessed, approved, and utilized by the American spy agencies then.
However, the connections if these still exist should be a blessing in disguise for NATO and America because this might give them a way-out to bring about some understanding with the Taliban. That is the only hope for the occupation forces to exit honorably.”
It is also intriguing that for six years the information was sitting there and after six years, it was released now.
Afghan war was a failure from the start. Historically speaking, no invader has won against Afghanistan on her home ground.
Let us acknowledge a failed war. That’s what Afghanistan has been. Always.
(The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore).