What America can do in Afghanistan

Published: October 23, 2011

the Afghan army in the south of the country is going to be essentially seen as an occupation force comprised mainly of people from the country’s north. PHOTO: AFP / FILE

This week, again, the US has accused Pakistan of not only providing sanctuaries to the Taliban, it has also suggested that the attacks from across the border are so sophisticated that it seems that the attackers are using expertise that only a state actor can provide.

Of course, not too long ago, then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen publicly said that the Haqqani network was “acting as a veritable arm” of the ISI.

So, one may ask why is America doing all this?

The answer can be found in the humiliation that it must have faced in the Raymond Davis case, and more importantly, the failure it is facing in Afghanistan. So to deflect from all of this, it is accusing Pakistan of many things. Unfortunately, the US and Nato have learned nothing from past mistakes. They have destroyed the ethnic balance in Afghanistan by supporting the Tajiks and Uzbeks and taking actions that go against the Pashtun-majority provinces of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

For instance, a recent report in The New York Times said that Pashtuns from Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Zabul, Paktika, and Ghazni make up 17 per cent of the country’s population but only 1.5 per cent of the Afghan National Army. In short, the Afghan army in the south of the country is going to be essentially seen as an occupation force comprised mainly of people from the country’s north. It then went to explain that this was perhaps one reason why the Taliban will not switch their allegiance to Karzai’s government because they see it dominated by many openly anti-Pashtun northerners.

To add to this is the perception among many in Afghanistan that the Karzai government does nothing to check the corruption of its own senior functionaries. This is also bad because it reinforces public perception in that country that much of the aid that comes in from overseas does not make its way to the poor and underprivileged Afghans who need it the most.

The Americans can, instead of asking Pakistan to “do more”, help it by securing Kunar and Nuristan provinces in the country’s north, because presently they are nothing but safe havens for the Taliban who fled Mohmand, Bajaur and Swat from Pakistan.


Muhammad Bilal Iftikhar Kahn

An associate producer with Express News.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

More by this writer

  • Usman

    Excuse me but “the humiliation that it must have faced in the Raymond Davis case,” you had me in stiches with thisRecommend

  • Ali Tanoli,

    What America can do in Afghanistan the answer will be just leave the area forever.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The title should be changed to ‘ Off-the-cuff ramblings on the Afghan situation.’Recommend

  • rex minor

    Mr Iftikhar khan

    The reason why Pashtoons normaly do not join Afghan army since they are exempted from conscription,whereas non Pashtoon afghans are not!

    The US and NATO have been defeated by the the so called taliban Pashtoons and Pakistan military is not a match for them. Therefore Pakistan military resistance to further conflict with the powerful tribes whose reach in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains unchallenged.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • bangash

    Kunar and Nuristan are controlled by GHQ asset, the Haqqani Network.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    As long as Pakistan and U.S. keep bickering, no permanent solution will be reached for peace in the region.Recommend

  • http://mbik14.blogspot.com Muhammad Bilal Iftikhar Khan

    @ Bangash Sb

    Are you really a Pashtun? Its a breaking news for me that Kunar and Nouristan are Occupied by Haqqanies

    Have you ever heard of Punjpiries

    I thought and many others thought Faqir Muhammad, Fazalullah , Ziaur Rehman etc belonging to TTP occupy these Provinces .Recommend

  • bheja fry

    @ Parvez “The title should be changed to ‘ Off-the-cuff ramblings on the Afghan situation.”
    – Can also try “BHEJA FRY -Season 1”Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @bheja fry:
    You really are obsessed with bheja fry, aren’t you?Recommend

  • Silent Observer

    In the words of an old Japanese adage “When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will not suffice, for there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.” The American War in Afghanistan has turned out to be an amazing circus of military ineptitude. NATO’s problem in Afghanistan is how to get out without losing too much face. Recommend

  • Alshadiq

    What can the US government do in Afghanistan? It is all right in front of us. Is it not? It is right infront of us as to what US government has been doing since the last 10 years.
    Also right in front of us is what they did in Central, and South American countries, Vietnam, Kampuchia, Laos, China, Japan, the Phillipines etc. etc.the list is long.
    It appears that George Washington’s triumph was short lived and the shrewd British Imperialists scored their victory from the usual back door method. So what is the US government doing today is exact replica of what the British Imperialists have been doing in all of the past century.Recommend

  • http://alanspinnblog.wordpress.com/ Alan Spinnenweber, USA

    The same unbalance occurring in Afghanistan was also a result of Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He wantonly destroyed the stabilizing force of Saddam Hussein and Sunni influence, and opened the door for Al Qaeda to Iraq where it had not previously existed. Prior to that, we enable the Taliban to take hold by supporting them against our enemy du jour, the USSR. We were seeming oblivious to the opportunity to empower the the youth of Iran during the Green revolution, but there is still time to engage the youth and activists of the region with communications technology and empowerment of their vigor, rather than imposing our will with arms.Recommend