One thing is clear: the US and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan in spite of their fearsome arsenal of high-tech weapons and war chests of billions of dollars.
Lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen are living up to their legendary reputation of making Afghanistan the graveyard of empires. . . .
Meanwhile, Pakistan, without whose cooperation the US cannot wage war in Afghanistan, is in turmoil. The US is infiltrating Xe (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp mercenaries into Pakistan to protect US military supply routes north from Karachi to Afghanistan, and to operate or defend US air bases in Pakistan.
US mercenaries are also reportedly being used to assassinate militants and enemies of Pakistan’s US-installed government, and to target Pakistan’s nuclear installations for future US action. This, and increasing attacks by US killer drones, have sparked outrage across Pakistan and brought warnings of creeping US occupation. . . .
The US and its allies need a face-saving way out of Afghanistan. Real peace talks are the answer. Not the ruse long proposed by US Gen. Stanley McChrystal to try to bribe away low-ranking Taliban and so split the Afghan resistance.
This stratagem worked to a degree with Sunni tribesmen in Iraq, but is unlikely to succeed with the proud Pashtun tribes who value honor more than money. Theirs is an antique concept most westerners cannot understand.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Eric Margolis on U.S. Wars