The Nation Forum on Afghanistan

Posted by sepoy on October 23, 2009 · 1 min read

For curious bystanders: the Afghanistan: A Special Issue, Nov 9, 2009, includes a short piece by me. I especially draw your attention to the Priya Satiya and Selig Harrison. And Stephen Walt. Ok, just read the whole forum.

Related: Please see Basharat Peer, Outline of the Republic, The Review - National, Oct 22 2009.


pf | October 23, 2009

Empty rhetoric —Najmuddin A Shaikh The only conclusion that the world could draw was that no one studies things in Pakistan or, having studied them, deliberately keeps quiet until a false crisis can be created:\10\23\story_23-10-2009_pg3_2

Qalandar | October 23, 2009

Congrats, and thanks for the shout!

omar ali | October 23, 2009

Manan, Your view of Pakistan assumes that the civilians are already strong enough in Pakistan that the army would not slide back to full jihadi mode even if the US were to leave the region. I think that assumption is faulty. The army is starting to fight some of its old students and trainees, but it is determined to hold on to its dominant position in the power structure. If the US were to leave suddenly (as opposed to achieving some sort of functioning Afghan regime and forcing the taliban to accept a political deal rather than continued fighting) the army will go back to its old ways. That is their default setting. And there is no civilian force strong enough yet to stop them. You also underestimate the power of the taliban/jihadi network and the depth of their support in Pakistan, especially in the army. Without significant US help, they will not be defeated by the army even if the army wants to stay on the job. We can reconnect after a few months to see where things stand...btw, I am willing to consider that if the people of that region want a certain jihadi ideology and are willing to fight for it, why should the US be there killing people (no matter how surgically, and I think the US army is actually a much more surgical instrument than any of the local armies, who cause far more collateral damage)? Let the people in the region kill each other or not. Let the US leave. But let us not sell some illusion about how peaceful everything will be if only the US leaves....

omar ali | October 23, 2009

btw, Can someone outline a scenario in which the Nation would SUPPORT a US military mission in Afghanistan? If not, then I suggest that their "analysis" is an example of taking a position (anti-war, morally perfectly defensible) and then going out and finding any evidence they can to bolster their position. Personally, I dont think the US does a great job of policing the world. And I certainly dont think it always or even usually acts in the interests of poor people in the region they are policing. Like the police everywhere, their first job is to protect the property of the rich (mostly their own). Ideally, they should never have gone into Afghanistan and occupied it. As an American, I think we should pull out and stay out. As a Pakistani, I am not so sure. I suspect that we have already set in motion a jihadi machine that will not stop if the US leaves and that our own state is neither able nor willing to handle it (and would prefer to point outwards to India and Afghanistan). With 50 nuclear bombs (which supposedly work more reliably than India's rickety collection of semi-duds) and lots of grievances, I see far too much "collateral damage" down the road....

Salman | October 23, 2009

Hmmm Nukes! Hands of Terrorists! I might have heard that argument before. Not sure, though. {{site.baseurl}}archives/imperial_watch/that_terror_thing_iii.html

omar | October 24, 2009

Salman ji, NOT nukes in the hands of terrorists, but nukes in the hands of a military establishment that is in bed with terrorists and will use the terrorists against afghanistan and India and will ultimately find itself fighting a war with both......My conspiracy theory beats your "nukes in the hands of terrorists" theory hands down...

Conrad Barwa | October 28, 2009

An interesting read, more because of who he managed to interview, from Abdul Ghazi to Malauna Fazullah, is Nicholas Schmidle's book "To live or to Perish Forever: Two tumultous years in Pakistan". I didn't like a lot of the author's judgements but it was a rare look into various parts of Pakistan that are rarely reported on directly from Baluchistan to interactions with several of the Rem Mosque leaders before it was stormed.