Averting a Civil War in Afghanistan
Image Credit: Wikicommons

Averting a Civil War in Afghanistan


Members of the Afghan High Peace Council (AHPC) visited Islamabad recently and met with a broad set of civil and military officials to discuss collaboration in negotiating an end to the war with the Taliban. There were no dramatic breakthroughs—the meeting was part of the painfully slow process of building trust between Islamabad and Kabul—but the Afghan delegation did not return home empty-handed. With the release of up to thirteen prisoners associated with the Afghan Taliban into the Afghan government’s custody, and frank discussions with their Pakistani counterparts, the AHPC should have a stronger level of confidence in Islamabad’s claim that it seeks peace in Afghanistan.

But that confidence needs to be built at a faster pace. The clock is ticking in Afghanistan. Afghan Presidential elections and the end of U.S. combat operations are scheduled for 2014. Already, Afghan power brokers are preparing contingencies for a post-American Afghanistan. Ismail Khan, a warlord from the eastern city of Herat, is rebuilding his militia. He’s just one of many militia leaders who are stockpiling weapons and men, preparing for a potential, though not inevitable, fight between the country’s many ethnic and political factions.

The windfall from the Western presence will soon dry up and much of the change the Western coalition has brought to Afghanistan will prove to be ephemeral. Afghanistan will be tested as to whether it has the resilience to build an economy more independent of foreign rent than today. The outlook is gloomy. Recently, President Hamid Karzai’s brother Mahmoud told the Associated Press, “Afghanistan became a game. The game is to make money and get the hell out of here. That goes for politicians. That goes for contractors.” He is certainly one to know.

As corrupt as Afghanistan’s elites are, and as much blood as is on their hands, they’re essential to the prevention of an all-out civil war—a civil war that would cause a massive loss of life in Afghanistan, potentially embolden regional and transnational jihadists in the area, and spill over into a deeply precarious Pakistan.

Afghan elites have been kept together by the Bonn Agreement, the governmental framework created by the UN-backed post-9/11 agreements that provided Afghanistan with an interim, and later transitional, system of government. In 2004, Afghanistan held its first presidential elections, followed by parliamentary polls the next year that would produce an increasingly confident body that seeks to check executive power.

April 26, 2013 at 18:15

Return of the Pushtun areas east of the Durand line to Afghanistan would lead to a stable state in that area. That should be the goal.

November 21, 2012 at 14:18

2,000 US soldiers killed over 11 years.  That’s hardly catastrophic.  Neither Russia nor China would potentially have sent arms or monetary aid to the Taliban because neither could afford it.  So is the USA lucky Chinese and Russian leadership is inept?  Yeah, I guess you got that right. 
Has the Chinese Communist Party cooperated with local populations in Tibet and Xinjiang?  Or have they invaded and attempted to subjugate?  The USA and India should be hailed for their efforts against Chinese subjugation of these areas.
China may, but Russia will never grow its GDP to surpass the USA, so that’s not even worth considering.  China spends more money on subjugating its own people through “internal security” anyway; I guess you can be proud of that. 
Actually, most of the American people and many Europeans are very proud of Obama.  Of course there are some loud voices that are unhappy, but that’s normal because they aren’t afraid of being shot in the face like they would be in other countries. 
The fact that the USA can move a 2,000 soldiers to Australia and a few ships scattered around the Western Pacific, and China will freak out and accuse the USA of containment demonstrates China’s sense of insecurity and lack of confidence in itself more than it shows a mean-old plan to drive the world to confrontation.  Oh, China please stop your hostility and unfriendly moves toward the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan; and Russia, stop your hostility toward the small country of Georgia. 
Ban Ki-Moon:  You should really start being very publicly critical of the Chinese Communist Party.  Did you hear they put a newly married man in jail for 8 years because of texting a joke about starting a Chinese Republican Party to his friends?  China is clearly behind all of the recent trouble and suffering in the South China Sea.  Give some dignity to the Chair, the UN, as a global institution shouldn’t be afraid of a Chinese hissy-fit. 

Abdul Latif
November 21, 2012 at 11:29

this article is full of mistakes and misleading the readers opinion. one of the mistakes is that writer named Amrullah Salih as leader of Nation Front of Afghansitan while he is not even senior member. leaders of NFA are Haji Mohammad Muhaqiq, General Rashid Dostum and Ahamd Zia Massoud. However Massoud has a very Symbolic role but he has appointed as spokesperson.  for me as Afghan reader it was full of bias and misleading opinion and it will damage the accredition of this website. if it continuous we can not trust to thediplomat.com anylonger

Leonard R.
November 21, 2012 at 08:48

When the US leaves the Talban will turn their guns on the Pakistani government. 
The Taliban are basically Pashtun nationalists. They don't merely want a Pashtun Afghanistan. They want their own nation, a Pashtunistan.  it would swallow the Durand Line and contain parts of both Afghsnistan and Pakistan.
The US should leave. Bin Laden is dead. There is nothing there to win.

November 21, 2012 at 08:23

Well I guess, they just need to keep on supporting the Northern Alliance and Iran just needs to keep on supporting Herat and its locales.
If this happens then the Taliban will never take over Afghanistan. Those supporters of the Taliban are ignorant savages in all the meaning of the word. The Taliban are savages plain and simple and should be erradicated.

US Checkmated In Afghanistan
November 20, 2012 at 17:43

Either way, the US is checkmated in Afghanistan.  2,000 US soldiers killed and they haven't pacified Afghanistan but in fact getting financially more broke with each passing day.  Obama was lucky China and Russia did not sent arms to the Talibans and other resistance fighters.  That would had really bled the NATO troops bone dry with casualties easily tripling.
Russia and China should really be hailed for their united efforts against the US.  If it doesn't learn how to co-operate, it will be checkmated every where they invade and attempt to subjugate.  When Russia and China's GDP outgrow the US, rest assure, they can easily outspend against US adventurism anywhere in the world.
So, stop your bl**dy hostility and unfriendly moves against China and Russia you stupid Obama and US.  Stop driving the world into a global confrontation, and the countries into a deeply polarized state.  Can someone constitutionally sack this Obama?  Never, in the history of the US, has the country been dragged lower esteem-wise than it is now, in the eyes of the world. 
Mr Ban Ki-Moon :  You should really start being very publicly critical of the Obama Administration.  Mr Kofi Adnan did a great job trying to promote peace in the world.  He was clearly aware the US Administration was behind almost all the trouble and sufferings in the world.  Kindly give some dignity to the Chair.  The UN, as a global institution should be bigger than the rogue US and its vassals.

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