The President is not exactly telling all that’s going on in AfPak.
President Obama’s highly anticipated new strategy for what the Pentagon now calls AfPak – Afghanistan and Pakistan – is full of grey areas. Most extra troops will be deployed to poppy-growing areas, not to fight al-Qaeda, the President’s stated number one objective. The President talks about building trust – but as the US cannot trust the Pakistani ISI, the Pakistani people don’t trust the US or even their own government. Pepe Escobar argues there are many more strategic issues at play than meets the eye – and the President and his team’s spin.
Obama’s Afghan plan
Obama’s Afghan plan
Gutman: If you don’t put Afghan development at the centre of a strategy then things will get worse
Last week President Barack Obama announced that the US has a “clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”
The US has been involved with Afghanistan since 1979, but this is the first time that it is outlining a strategic plan. Originally the US had no regard for Afghanistan’s future, but was more concerned with engaging the Russians in a war.
“The fact is that every war, however small, if you want it to end, has to end in a political settlement,” said Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers’ foreign editor. “And if the United States is involved in stoking the war, it should stick around and make sure that it achieves a settlement.”
Afghanistan has been used as a military ground for initially attacking the Russians, and more recently, the al-Qaeda people, and not for any strategic planning for the Afghani people’s welfare.
“That’s the problem, that in general people treat Afghanistan as a platform for attacking other problems, and they forget that there’s 24 million people there, that it’s a real country, real people,” Gutman said. “It’s landlocked, it’s poor, but it’s in the heart of Asia and it’s surrounded by countries that are not an awful lot more stable than it is”
The rights of women in Afghanistan
Mavis Leno of Feminist Majority on the need for Obama to focus on the rights of Afghan women