Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   2 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Welcome to Saigonistan

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 2   Supported 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 9/25/12

Become a Fan
  (102 fans)
Cross-posted from Al Jazeera

The US/NATO strategy to "win" Afghanistan is now dead and buried, according to author.  


NATO has scaled down their operations, saying joint patrols with Afghans will only go on at the battalion level [AFP]

For Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta, a recent wave of "green-on-blue" (or insider attacks) on US and NATO troops -- i.e., the Afghan version of friendly fire -- are just the "last gasp" of a bunch of frustrated Taliban.

That does remind one of Don Rumsfeld's "remnants" of Saddam's regime, who duly morphed into hardcore Sunni Iraqi guerrillas and gave hell to the US occupation.

Back to reality, even US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey had to admit, "something has to change." Only in 2012, Afghan security forces killed 51 NATO soldiers -- and counting.  

That may not be much compared to scores of civilian victims, aka "collateral damage," of the shadowy CIA drone war against the Pakistani tribal areas. Not to mention the recent US raid that killed eight Afghan women and girls who were engaged in an extremely subversive plot to collect firewood.

Oh yes -- but this is "them," not "us."

Anyway, something did change. NATO's new spin on "green-on-blue" is right up the scale down alley. From now on, joint patrols or any "interaction" with Afghans will only go on at least at battalion level (which group 500 or even 800 members).

It was -- surprise! -- a unilateral Pentagon decision. No NATO partners or even the Afghans themselves were consulted.

So here's the instant spinless translation -- if any was needed.

That's the abject failure of all elaborate Western plans to set up an Afghan fighting force by embedding them with Americans and Europeans -- and then have them handle security by themselves. Even as it stands, very few Afghan units can independently engage in tactical operations.

That's the solemn erection of a far from figurative Wall of Mistrust between "us" and "them."

That's the end of a massive PR campaign -- sold to Western public opinion -- that even boasted its own Dari slogan; shohna ba shohna ("shoulder by shoulder"), as in "good" Westerners side by side with Afghans fighting the "evil" Taliban.

Moreover, what this implies is there's no soft exit strategy for the US and NATO. Sooner rather than later -- in this case December 2014 -- a Saigon moment looms in the Hindu Kush. 

Take the rifle and run

Predictably, tough guy NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the deadline towards total Afghan responsibility for national security by the end of 2014 remains; the scaling down is "prudent and temporary."

In terms of losing face, Rasmussen and NATO could not possibly accept ignominious defeat and rush for the exits. Especially after Taliban supremo Mullah Omar had stated over a month ago that the Taliban "cleverly infiltrated the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year." 

Even without rampant Taliban infiltration, NATO would have never been able to vet all 352,000 members of Afghanistan's army and police forces anyway. Most are Tajiks, some are Hazaras and Uzbeks, but there are Pashtuns as well, who may or may not be Taliban sympathisers, and are simply enlisting because they can earn a steady paycheque.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

All aboard the New Silk Road(s)

It was Putin's missile?

Where is Prince Bandar?

Why Qatar wants to invade Syria

The IMF goes to war in Ukraine

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

not, of course, from the Afghan point of view, but... by mhenriday on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 11:54:10 AM
Thank you for this write-up.... by Mohammad Ala on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 10:10:43 PM