The White House, the Pentagon and Congress fear the surge. Not the recent shipment of a few troops to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but the surge of angry American voters in November. Not only are those voters afraid that the Obama administration and the Democrat-led Congress will bankrupt the nation, they are also impatient with the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So how will President Obama and his congressional cronies survive the coming November tsunami? Simple. Declare victory and get out of the Near East. Retreat from Afghanistan will be well underway before November this year, and the Stars and Stripes will be on a fast freight out of Iraq before the U.S. presidential election in 2012.
It is often difficult to discern everything happening in Afghanistan, and even more difficult to understand why it is happening. Pieces of the puzzle are scattered from India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Russia, but there is a pattern to it all.
Let us first examine this year’s string of so-called victories over the insurgents. My last count shows six “Afghan Taliban” leaders arrested and two killed, along with two senior “Pakistani Taliban” arrested and four more killed. It is not clear the arrests are really arrests or even when they happened, since all the reports came from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence directorate (ISI). The ISI does not allow us to get our hands on the bad guys for fear they will tell us about nefarious ISI operations. Nevertheless, the Pentagon and White House spin doctors are hard at work, leading mainstream media by the nose. They have managed to side-step the uncomfortable fact that a deal has been struck with Pakistan, and that the ISI is now running the Afghan show. For its part, the ISI is rolling up troublesome insurgent factions inside Pakistan they protected since the regime of Gen. Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, and they are also giving us intelligence about connections those factions have along the Afghan border. Our drones do the killing.
The American/Pakistani deal that sparked the sudden success against the insurgency leadership is never explained by the White House or the Pentagon even though the agreement is quite straightforward: In exchange for a desperately longed-for sphere of influence in Afghanistan when U.S. forces leave, the ISI has agreed to disrupt the insurgent command structure, betray their former friends to drone targeteers, and give most of the credit to the American military and the CIA. That will help create an image of victory and will expedite withdrawal of U.S. forces. The essential part of the deal, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is that the keen interest of Hindu India to encourage a more secular regime in Kabul must be ignored. Muslim Pakistan will then be able to align with Muslim Afghans to insure that Pakistan’s vulnerable ‘back door’ border with Afghanistan is not opened by India, and will remain safely in the hands of their Kabul co-religionists.
Understandably, India is not amused. Not only have they invested much of $1.2 billion they pledged to improve Afghan roads, dams, and infrastructure, they have endured a series of murderous attacks instigated by the ISI. To date, bombings of diplomatic buildings and attacks on Afghan project sites by ISI client insurgents have killed upwards of a hundred Indian diplomats and workers. That does not include the 2008 attack on Mumbai, India’s financial center and most populous city, which claimed at least 173 more lives. The Mumbai attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group based in Pakistan and officially labeled a terrorist organization by India, the United States and the United Kingdom, among others.