Afghanistan caught in friendly fire

Afghanistan caught in friendly fire
written by: 
M K Bhadrakumar

The Barack Obama era is commencing on a combative note in Afghanistan. The Afghan bazaar is buzzing with rumors that the equations between Washington and Kabul have become uncertain. Senior Afghan figures have been quoted as concluding that “the new US administration and the current Afghan administration will not be speaking the same language”.

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Russia stops US on road to Afghanistan

Russia stops US on road to Afghanistan
written by: 
M K Bhadrakumar, 26-Jan-09

Precise, quick, deadly – the skills of a soldier are modest. But then, US Central Command chief General David Petraeus is more than a soldier.

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All roads lead out of Afghanistan

All roads lead out of Afghanistan
By M K Bhadrakumar 

The measure of success of president-elect Barack Obama’s new “Afghan strategy” will be directly proportional to his ability to delink the war from its geopolitical agenda inherited from the George W Bush administration. 

It is obvious that Russia and Iran’s cooperation is no less critical for the success of the war than what the US is painstakingly extracting from the Pakistani generals. Arguably, Obama will even be in a stronger negotiating position vis-a-vis the tough generals in Rawalpindi if only he has Moscow and Tehran on board his Afghan strategy. 

But then, Moscow and Iran will expect that Obama reciprocates

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Afghanistan abyss awaits Obama


Afghanistan abyss awaits Obama
written by: M K Bhadrakumar, 17-Nov-08

The struggle for influencing Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda has begun in right earnest. The maneuvering by influential establishment figures – including Congressional voices, Obama advisors and even military officials – who are projecting incumbent Robert Gates as secretary of defense in the incoming administration highlights the pressures working on the president-elect. 

The focus is on the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in promoting the basic George W Bush policies promoted since the 1990s by nationalist and neo-conservative Republicans. These are policies animated by long-term ambitions for US economic and military hegemony. 

A Gates appointment will signal that Obama may turn his back on his campaign pledge to withdraw US troops from Iraq in 16 months. Gates, of course, disfavors any set timeline or timetable for a withdrawal plan. 

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A mad scramble over Afghanistan

AP photo

A mad scramble over Afghanistan
written by: M K Bhadrakumar, 15-Oct-08

An impression is being created that there is a “rift” between the United States and Britain regarding the reconciliation track involving the Taliban. The plain truth is that the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are in this murky game together. 

The essence of the game is to make the “war on terror” in Afghanistan more efficient and cost-effective. Surely, it is official American thinking that there has to be some form of reconciliation with the Taliban. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted as much last week. He said, “There has to be ultimately, and I’ll underscore ultimately, reconciliation as part of the political outcome to this [war]. That’s ultimately the exit strategy for all of us.” (Emphasis added) 

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A fatal flaw in Afghanistan peace process


A fatal flaw in Afghanistan peace process
written by: M K Bhadrakumar, 08-Oct-08

With the reported intra-Afghan talks under the mediation of Saudi Arabia in Mecca on September 24-27, attention inevitably shifts to the hidden aspects of the “war on terror” in Afghanistan – the geopolitics of the war. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has committed to pulling out Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2011, let the cat out of the bag last week when he said that some Western leaders wrongly believed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops could stay there forever. 

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