- Created: Saturday, 19 October 2013 16:04
- Written by Jim Craven
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 235 October/November 2013
Henry Kissinger recently described President Obama’s exit strategy in Afghanistan as ‘all exit and no strategy’. Although wrong (the US still hopes to retain a military presence after the 2014 ‘exit’), Kissinger’s quip reveals something of the shambles into which US and British plans have fallen.
In September, the Pakistani government announced that it was releasing Mullah Abdul Baradar, second-in-command of the Afghan Taliban, as a means of promoting peace talks. Earlier it had released seven other Taliban prisoners. The move indicates the extent to which Pakistan retains the initiative in reaching a settlement in the war on Afghanistan despite all the threats, bribes and promises thrown at it by the Obama administration. Baradar was captured in a joint US/Pakistan special forces operation a couple of years ago but Pakistan refused to hand him over to the US. If Baradar is (or has been) released he will not be transferred to Afghan custody but allowed to return to Taliban bases on the Afghan border where, no doubt, the Pakistani intelligence service will retain close contact. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also suggested to Afghanistan’s President Karzai that the Taliban should open a new office for talks in Turkey or Saudi Arabia. The Taliban closed its office in Qatar following the summer fiasco when the US abandoned planned talks there following objections from President Karzai. Although it is said that Obama can hardly bear talking to Karzai, the US obviously believes a corrupt stooge who occasionally rattles his cage is more important to them than a peace settlement. This is despite the fact that the Taliban still adamantly refuse to talk to Karzai and that, even if he survives beyond the withdrawal of US troops in 2014, Karzai and his loathed cronies are likely to be quickly overthrown, if not by the anti-occupation forces then by rival crooks and warlords.