A Pakistani Perspective on Obama’s Afghanistan strategy

“… Where does this leave us, or more importantly, lead us? As much as Obama has a visceral dislike for war and, unlike George W Bush, is not trigger-happy, he has made up his mind that he will not be gun shy when it comes to enforcing the key elements of his plan to end the war in Afghanistan, which means tossing away the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, in favour of a counter-terrorism effort along the Durand Line.

Buoyed by the results of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Obama will not reinvent the wheel and intends to apply the same model for both the Haqqani network and the ‘irreconcilable’ Afghan Taliban. The primary US focus will now be on the Pakistan-supported insurgents.

Contrarily, Pakistan is tempted to wait out the US and may overplay its hand while trying to hedge its bets in Afghanistan. The inaction against the militant safe havens in North Waziristan (NW) and the talk about military action in the Kurram Agency suggest no course correction on the part of Pakistan.

Reports from Upper Kurram state that the locals are being asked by Pakistani security agencies to disarm, effectively leaving them at the mercy of the Haqqani network and its affiliates. It is unlikely that the Turi and Bangash tribes will disarm and become sitting ducks for the jihadists.

The chaos that can ensue, including massive internal displacement of people, provides an opportunity for the Pakistani establishment to retract and hide its proxies in the affected areas, as they become more vulnerable in NW and along the Durand Line.”


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