Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid in Foreign Affairs)

De Volkskrants dappere Dee Dee Derksen, correspondente in Kaboel, vertelde onlangs op NOVA dat de veiligheidssituatie in Afghanistan verslechtert en dat men op het NAVO/ISAF hoofdkwartier zegt dat de Nederlandse militaire missie slechts ‘zijn tijd zit uit te zitten’. Uitspraken die – tezamen met de veel andere negatieve evaluaties van de ontwikkelingen in Afghanistan – te denken geven. Dat het niet goed gaat in dat verscheurd land is duidelijk, en dat meer Amerikaanse troepen geen soelaas zullen bieden, ook.
Wat zou er dan wel moeten gebeuren om stabiliteit en welvaart te brengen? Dit artikel – waarvan hieronder een uittreksel – geeft m.i. een goed beredeneerd antwoord op deze cruciale vraag.

Summary: The crisis in Afghanistan and Pakistan is beyond the point where more troops will help. U.S. strategy must be to seek compromise with insurgents while addressing regional rivalries and insecurities

..U.S. diplomacy has been paralyzed by the rhetoric of "the war on terror" — a struggle against "evil," in which other actors are "with us or with the terrorists." Such rhetoric thwarts sound strategic thinking by assimilating opponents into a homogenous "terrorist" enemy. Only a political and diplomatic initiative that distinguishes political opponents of the United States — including violent ones — from global terrorists such as al Qaeda can reduce the threat faced by the Afghan and Pakistani states and secure the rest of the international community from the international terrorist groups based there. Such an initiative would have two elements. It would seek a political solution with as much of the Afghan and Pakistani insurgencies as possible, offering political inclusion, the integration of Pakistan’s indirectly ruled Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into the mainstream political and administrative institutions of Pakistan, and an end to hostile action by international troops in return for cooperation against al Qaeda. And it would include a major diplomatic and development initiative addressing the vast array of regional and global issues that have become intertwined with the crisis — and that serve to stimulate, intensify, and prolong conflict in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan has been at war for three decades — a period longer than the one that started with World War I and ended with the Normandy landings on D-day in World War II — and now that war is spreading to Pakistan and beyond. This war and the attendant terrorism could well continue and spread, even to other continents — as on 9/11 — or lead to the collapse of a nuclear-armed state. The regional crisis is of that magnitude, and yet so far there is no international framework to address it other than the underresourced and poorly coordinated operations in Afghanistan and some attacks in the FATA. The next U.S. administration should launch an effort, initially based on a contact group authorized by the UN Security Council, to put an end to the increasingly destructive dynamics of the Great Game in the region. The game has become too deadly and has attracted too many players; it now resembles less a chess match than the Afghan game of buzkashi, with Afghanistan playing the role of the goat carcass fought over by innumerable teams. Washington must seize the opportunity now to replace this Great Game with a new grand bargain for the region.

From Great Game to Grand Bargain – Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid in Foreign Affairs)


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